Tammy Leigh Kahn is an Advisor for ClearCoin, a technology company that powers the real-time buying and selling of advertising, and VP of Market Development at G2Crowd, bringing transparency to buying with the world’s largest B2B Review Platform.
I’m a recovering startup CEO. It’s how I often introduce myself and sometimes it gets a laugh, but it’s quite true. From 2009 to 2014, I was CEO and Founder of a Social Media Marketing and Engagement platform called MarketMeSuite. In my five years I built a product over 80,000 people would use. I also learned the value of having funds.
I always felt like the timing was off for my company. Seed, Series A…. Series A+? It was always confusing to know where we were, but one thing I always felt, we were under capitalized. We did it the hard way and managed a successful exit in 2014, but as I stand here on the brink of 2018, I realize we are entering something new and exciting both for the building blocks of the technology we are creating as well as how we fund it.
Blockchain is the most boring and the most exciting discovery in the tech world. I say it’s boring because at its heart, we are simply talking about a ledger. Pencil-necked geek stuff at its finest… But from an infrastructure standpoint the possibilities are simply astounding! From tracking diamonds to ensure no blood diamonds enter the market, to mitigating against ad fraud, the ledger is the infrastructure to make it happen.
And… it’s at the heart of the token economy.
Smart companies are realizing that if you build your technology on the blockchain infrastructure you can also create an economy around your platform, and allowing customers to buy your token. That is what ClearCoin is doing.
ClearCoin is building an omnichannel ad delivery product (covers all ad formats such as video, display, search, social, native, television, etc.) that allows advertisers to deliver their ads on good inventory while tracking it on a ledger system. The ledger system allows companies to know where their ad dollars are going. ClearCoin (CLR) is token that transacts on the platform.
Enter, Token Sales
So, now we stand at an interesting crossroads. Good companies like ClearCoin can jump start their business without any investors. They can simply go straight to customers. By creating a token that can transact on the platform and selling that in the sale, or the ICO, ClearCoin is controlling its destiny. The key though, will be how to maintain the token value. That’s where some good old fashioned business know-how comes in. For any token to hold its value, it must be part of a thriving economy. How does one make a thriving economy? Revenue.
I joined the ClearCoin advisory board because I believe in CEO, Jay Singh. (I also had the pleasure of growing my company alongside his company at the CIC back in 2012 — you learn a lot about a person when you are both fighting an uphill battle for funding and market adoption!) I believe that he understands how to create a token of value by bringing in real business from day one.
The recovering startup CEO in me loves this. I love how poetic it is to build new technology on the infrastructure of the very thing that allows an entire economy (and funding platform) to be created around; to really “eat ones own dog food.” Does it mean VC’s are obsolete and that no one will ever sell a piece of their company again? No, not at all. I believe the companies worth participating in token sales with will also attract VC funding, and should take it. Diversity is never a bad thing, and they are different. One is selling something to be used on a technology platform to actual customers, the other is aligning yourself with actual investors.
We are definitely in a brave new world where the there is simply more choice for smart founders who can bring in customers on day one. Funding an actual business from day one — quite a concept! Welcome to the democratization of funding.