Putting a Lid on SPAM: This A.I. Blockchain Start-up Accelerates Business Relationships with Trusted Intros
Inbot Ambassador rewards users for being trustworthy
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
Any start-up founder worth his salt will tell you that the importance of marketing cannot be understated. You can have the most innovative, industry-transforming products and services to satisfy your customers’ needs, and yet never have the chance to reach your audience because you’re barely a blip on the radar.
In today’s mass-reach world, the lure of leveraging a marketing software to reach a massive audience can be tempting. But the problem with technologies that automate social media posts and e-mails (among other things) is that they’re inadvertently increasing the amount of robotic spam in the world. And for the average individual, that’s just plain annoying.
Recognizing that in a world of seemingly infinite reach, building solid, trust-based connections is more valuable than ever, creative entrepreneur Mikko Alasaarela wanted to see if there was a way to scale trust for businesses. “My co-founder and I realized that the best way to scale trust is to build a technology that helps us discover trusted contacts,” shares Alasaarela.
How did they do it? By fusing two of the buzziest buzzwords in technology — artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain — Inbot Ambassador came into fruition.
Finding, rewarding trust
More than anything, relates Alasaarela, Inbot Ambassador is staging a lot of innovation in the artificial intelligence side of things. Its People Graph AI technology matches companies with its global Inbot ambassadors who can facilitate introductions to decision makers. It does this by deriving insights out of data signals like job histories, communication patterns, and other similar data sets in which they can apply machine learning.
“Our AI enables companies to discover the best person to make trusted introductions to decision makers. By building this graph of people, we would essentially have, in the end, an artificial intelligence Linkedin where the AI figures out that this person here is the best person to introduce you to a potential customer,” explains Alasaarela, adding that it took three years and $3 million in funding to develop the AI, which now has 45,000 ambassadors and seven million contacts across 161 countries within its graph.
Blockchain technology came into the picture in 2017, when Inbot Ambassador started taking in clients after breaching the five-million contacts mark in its system. “At that time, we felt the AI had already learned enough for it to serve its purpose,” shares Alasaarela.
Inbot Ambassador, which was already earning revenue at that time, had also started experiencing challenges especially in terms of compensating its ambassadors. “We didn’t want to do direct cash payments for people facilitating the introductions, because it makes the relationship quite transactional. And since we’re trying to solve the problem of building trust, being too transactional with your business doesn’t necessarily breed trust,” he says.
Instant gratification on the block
The winner of the Global Blockchain Competition in Singapore, Inbot Ambassador wanted to find ways to make its ambassadors feel like shareholders in the success of the platform, which consequently led to incorporating tokenization into its business model.
“In today’s world where everything is about instant gratification, tokenization enables us to build exactly that into the process,” relates Alasaarela, whose extensive background in game development informed this decision.
The idea, he says, is very much “the gamification of incentives.” In game currency, game developers drop virtual currencies/tokens as a reward for when people do something. “You know it’s virtual money, but people actually do a lot of things for these. If you gamify incentives in a proper way, you can grow really fast in any type of environment — it’s how some of these social media apps and games grow at a viral pace,” says Alasaarela.
True enough, when Inbot Ambassador implemented the gamification of incentives within its community last January when it launched its tokens, growth was fast, going from 3,000 to over 50,000 members in over a month. To facilitate building long-term trust, Inbot Ambassador created “InShares” or retainer contracts using its tokens, which ambassadors can only earn by being trustworthy members of the community and making trusted introductions.
Quite like how banks measure the credit-worthiness of its customers using credit scores, Inbot Ambassador implemented “in-scores” which act as personal trust multipliers. The more ambassadors facilitate good introductions for companies, the more they effectively earn. “At maximum, an ambassador can have a 200% in-score, which basically gives you twice the average payout on trust. So basically that means you can make nice money by being trustworthy,” puts in Alasaarela.