First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Francisco J. Guillén: Fortunately, our large and geographically dispersed family is doing well. Some have been mildly affected by the infection and have recovered well. Videoconference conversations have replaced trips for family gatherings.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded BlockTac.
Francisco J. Guillén: My entire professional life has been characterized by a passion for innovating and launching new initiatives, both in my time as a health professional and the last 25 years spent in the management of university institutions.
The publication of the report by the European Commission on Blockchain in Education captured my interest in developing a solution to avoid fraud and ensure the authentication of academic and professional accreditations.
How does BlockTac innovate?
Francisco J. Guillén: We innovate through a unique use of blockchain technology to provide proof of authenticity to all types of products, services, and assets. We define ourselves as a factory of trust since we produce unique digital identifiers incorporated into each product unit, easily and immediately verifiable by consumers, and that cannot be copied since any attempt to copy will be declared as fake. We produce them by the millions, we register them in a public chain, and we deliver them at very affordable costs that do not impact the final price of the goods or services.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Francisco J. Guillén: Our national lockdown came two days after the close of our seed capital round. With the available resources, we took care of hiring and training the personnel we had planned. We began an intense commercial activity that did not produce many effects since practically no one responded to our contact requests. International actions yielded somewhat better results.
And at the same time, our R&D team continued working. We were able to develop what we call Blockchain of Thing devices, which are responsible for protecting and authenticating the information that originates from IoT devices and sensors.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Francisco J. Guillén: In our case, and for the time being, we have not had to face problems that are different from those that every start-up must solve when it has the goal to unroll an innovation and open previously non-existing markets. The struggling has indeed been greater, but the solutions to implement are the same, hard work and persistence: Never give in to despair.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Francisco J. Guillén: So far, no one on the team seems to have experienced a level of stress or anxiety beyond what can reasonably be expected in a start-up that has to find a place in the market that is not yet sufficiently prepared for its solutions. Although we have been forced to be physically separated, we have taken care of each other all these months, and it seems that we have navigated the crisis successfully. Surely the seniority and experience of the founders and the professionalism of all team members explain this accomplishment.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Francisco J. Guillén: In such an initial state of the market and with the huge opportunities for growth, we do not consider our main competitors to be specific companies but rather the lack of awareness and confusion regarding Blockchain technology.
The proposed actions and market positioning for Blockchain business applications have yet to be established. We fight to defend our strategy focused on solving our clients’ needs in a fast, simple, and economical way, without forcing them to expensive investments or large consulting fees.
Your final thoughts?
Francisco J. Guillén: The important thing is the well-being of each human being and that we hope that everyone, friends and strangers, competitors, and clients, may soon overcome the pandemic with health and strength. They will then find the BlockTac team ready to work shoulder to shoulder to make the world safer and more secure against counterfeit and fraud.