Our investment in CERE Network
Today we’d like to announce Monday Capital’s investment in CERE Network’s Seed round financing alongside a cast of other great investors, including Binance, NGC and Arrington XRP Capital.
As a founder-focused fund we tend to see the best and brightest people pitching us the craziest ideas. Many of them are incredibly innovative but lack the business model. Others use complicated technology (i.e blockchain) to solve a problem that can be solved otherwise more easily.
CERE is a company with a clear business model that uses blockchain to solve a problem that is not easily solvable in another way.
CRM is a fragmented market that forces companies to hold sensitive data with 3rd parties. Completely siloed, companies need to use multiple providers to keep copies of sensitive data all over the place, often leading to compliance issues and expensive migrations.
CERE is a privacy-focused solution that utilizes a common database (blockchain) to store all this data ONCE and allows multiple applications to have access without compromising compliance. And most importantly, the data belong to the company and can be securely accessed — Trustless CRM.
We conducted an interview with the founder and CEO, Fred Jin, who explained the why behind CERE.
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Why did you create CERE?
When I was running my gaming company, most of our revenue came from our collaborative data platform that served both 1st party and 3rd party apps. Two things that I’ve always wished that existed were:
an easy way to securely share customer data between multiple apps/partners;
the ability to track each unique customer journey and share that with on-demand business intelligence experts to help us to better understand our users.
Cere Network platform addresses these problems and beyond.
Why is the CRM business currently broken?
Most of the top CRM and CDP platforms today are monolithic solutions architected many years ago, they are struggling to meet the rapidly evolving needs of today’s businesses which requires a high degree of flexibility, interoperability, and customization. That’s before we get into privacy issues.
Who are you targeting as a client?
We are working with a number of enterprise clients who understand that their future success is hinged to their ability to better understand their customers and providing hyper customization to each customer. They are looking for solutions like ours that is highly customizable and much more cost-effective than hiring someone like Accenture to implement an SAP or Salesforce solution.
We are also looking at portfolio businesses and brands which have many partners, particularly in the CPG, retail, travel, QSR, and auto sectors, to bring them the next-generation secure data sharing/collaboration solutions that Cere offers.
What are the benefits of CERE Network compared to what we have now?
While most blockchains are simply distributed ledgers, the Cere blockchain solution captures the entire customer journey on the blockchain and allows for secure data collaboration and integration via its open microservices platform. Additional benefits being:
Storing each customer’s activity data without PII (personally identifiable information), in a secure (encrypted). temper-proof, and privacy-preserving way.
Our open services platform can dynamically launch new microservices which can directly access concrete customer data sets without the typical one-off/custom api integrations. These microservices are flexible and modular building blocks from venders, partners, or internal teams which can be consumed by any existing apps/sites/systems.
Our Business Intelligence Marketplace will allow data experts to directly access these concrete datasets and provide on-demand customer insights to businesses.
What are the two most technologically advanced components of CERE?
It’s hard to pick just two parts… I think our vast collective experience of working with a ton of consumer data and unique businesses pushed us to build:
The core data foundation that captures and secures customer data in a way that empowers both hyper customization and individual privacy use cases; while at the same time providing businesses the ways to securely share that data dynamically and giving them 1000’s of ways of customizing their data insights.
The microservices framework that will be pioneering a new standard for delivering customer experiences dynamically across all portfolio companies, partner brands, etc.
How does CERE monetize?
We have an approach that focuses on real-world business pain points and use them to drive our platform innovation and the Cere Network adoption.
CERE Tokens will be used instead of SaaS agreements in the Cere open services platform, it is used to stake for services to ensure that SLA standards are met before tokens are released to service providers.
At the Cere decentralized data layer, CERE Tokens will also be staked for data storage and staked for priority access for network access. These also serve as economic incentives for people to run data and validation nodes on the Cere network.
What value do you provide to clients and to the applications they build?
The value is always in the data, BI market is growing at an astonishing 30% annual rate (why Salesforce paid a huge premium for Tableau). Every business today knows that customer insights and hyper customization is Critical to their future success and survival. CERE’s mission is to provide easier and faster ways for businesses to collect, analyze, and respond to customer activity data.
We think it’s far easier to provide microservices which can be easily integrated into existing apps to enhance the customer experience. We’ve always believed that decentralization adoption will most likely go through seamless and lightweight services such as micropayments and verifications brought into existing popular apps, rather than pushing DApps to replace what people are already using.
How did you pick your blockchain?
We are using a proven BFT blockchain implementation with the key factors being:
Byzantine Finality — 100% unambiguous finality within seconds is needed for most enterprise use cases.
Fast, reliable, and high throughput — 1000’s of tx/sec as a starting point
Generate derivative assets — So that any brands/businesses can generate assets such as rewards and loyalty points
Good support and tools such as threshold multi-signature, wallets, block viewers, etc.
Supporting other blockchains will likely be on the future roadmap.
What are the challenges in building a startup?
Everything. I think it’s multiple times more difficult to build a successful blockchain-based venture because of a number of different challenges:
Not only do you need specific technical expertise, but you also need your team to understand all of the social/economics factors of blockchain networks, as well as embracing the decentralized ethos in the community.
You will absolutely need to build a strong community and have great advisors and investors to help you navigate through the land of crypto. Generally, one needs to be much more cautious of whom to work with.
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We are looking forward to working with Fred and his team throughout their journey. And we are especially excited about all the possibilities CERE’s technology and solutions can offer to the CRM industry. Stay tuned to learn more!