Few days after the very successful Dovu ICO finished, we sat down with Arwen Smit, the CMO of DOVU, to talk about how the ICO went as well as gathering her thoughts on it.
Hi Arwen. Congratulations on running your token launch!
Can you let us know how you felt after the launch? Did it meet your expectations?
We’re proud of the team and want to take this opportunity for a heartfelt word of thanks to the community for all their support, contributions, and creative gifs.
On the surface, a token sale seems like a simple funding mechanism, but the underlying activities are not that different from traditional fundraising. It’s involves going out there, meeting your community, gathering feedback on your proposition, refining your vision, and creating relationships with contributors. What’s different from traditional fundraising is that post token sale, you’re nurturing a global community (in our case 40 countries) who believe in your project. If the company succeeds, the early adopters succeed. A true paradigm shift which aligns the interests of stakeholders.
This is closely related to DOVU’s vision; democratizing data with blockchain technology. DOV is the global token for the mobility and transportation ecosystem. With the DOV token and protocol, data sharing is frictionless, fairly rewarded, and easy. Today, data is as valuable as oil. However, among individuals and corporations alike there is a lack of incentive to share data. What if those who create value would be rewarded for that value? Or, what if those who share mobility data are rewarded for that data? In response to this, DOVU was created.
What were some of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned while running the ICO? Can you share those with us?
The most important takeaway for me was that you cannot plan for everything during a token sale. However, you can decide how to deal with adversity when it comes, and it will come. The only right thing to do, is to make sure the matter is dealt with in a fair manner for those affected. The story of how we launched our token sale is a good example.
Being part of this newly developing community of crypto enthusiasts, investors and developers had been an incredibly positive experience. So when we released our public sale to the public we were incredibly disheartened to instantly come under attack by a significant and coordinated DDoS on our servers, ultimately making the site unusable for a lot of our supporters who have been patiently waiting for this day — just as we had.
Of course, we had provisioned appropriately for a busy launch, but seeing as there was no tangible benefit to an attack (other than disrupting our sale for those who wanted to contribute) we naively presumed an attack was unlikely. How wrong we were. Luckily we were able to move quickly to put protection in place and the site was stable again in a very short period of time. So to correct that, and do the right thing we extended our 10% bonus for 12 hours so those that missed out could get on board.
The period after the ICO is usually when startups are scrutinized the most by investors and other users. How do you plan to deal with the pressure and expectations of Dovu and the Token value after the ICO?
As we’ve said time and time again, the token sale is not the end of our journey but the beginning. We’re building a long-term business, working for much needed, disruptive change in the transportation and mobility sector. Our community is active, constantly coming up with ideas and suggestions. In response, we’ll aim to be transparent, sharing the strategic vision of the company, how we will get there, and how to help us on this journey.
Dovu is an ambitious project; what strategies do you have in place to ensure adoption of Dovu? Are there any specific plans you have in mind that you’re planning to execute in the future?
First of all, transforming the mobility space is not a one-person mission. DOVU has close relationships in the transportation ecosystem, adding to its sector expertise. Partnerships are key to gaining market share. InMotion Ventures, the wholly owned subsidiary of Jaguar Land Rover, is an investor and partner to DOVU, amplifying its connections in the mobility space. Announcements on partnerships with other OEMs will follow soon. Also, DOVU is working with KPMG to make sure it’s structured correctly, ready to scale globally.
Secondly, there is a worrying trend in the industry. There are over 1000 ERC-20 tokens, leading to siloed communities – one of the very things blockchain intends to solve. DOVU wants to shift the focus from isolated ecosystems to the underlying blockchain technology, by being interoperable with other blockchain protocols (e.g. IOTA and Ethereum). Combined with intuitive UX, demystifying the benefits of blockchain technology, this positions the DOV token to be the global unit of value for the mobility and transportation ecosystem.
Lastly, the core team consists of entrepreneurs, blockchain developers, product marketers, product designers and legal experts – all with significant experience shipping and supporting products used by millions of people. The team knows how to build a global business, having worked with the likes of Google, Mercedes, Microsoft, Jaguar, Ethereum, Facebook, CERN, BP, and Rolls Royce.
What is next for Dovu with the funds raised? What is next in line for Dovu’s development plan?
2018 will see multiple pilot projects, demonstrating the value blockchain can add to the mobility sector. The first proof of concepts projects will go live in Q1 2018. Next to interoperability with other blockchains, sector complexity requires specialized smart contracts to fairly reward data sharing. Layering the DOVU protocol with clever smart contracts unlocks new and exciting business models, with the DOV token at the heart of this new value exchange.
Furthermore, easy user experience is key. Accessing blockchain benefits doesn’t need to be complicated. Receiving DOV rewards will be as easy as launching an app on your phone. A detailed product roadmap can be found on our blog: https://blog.dovu.io/
What is a piece of advice that you would give to other startups who are planning to launch their ICOs?
First, make sure you’re doing a token sale for the right reasons: the token is core to your product and the ecosystem benefits from wide distribution of your token. Rule of thumb: If it can be done with a database, use a database. Only when blockchain technology is core to your offering you should consider tokenization of your business model, and even then it is not a given. Before launching a token sale make sure you can answer the following questions:
- Role of the token — how does it work in your system?
- Purpose of the token — what objective does it accomplish? Why is this token the best way to accomplish it?
- Features — what features does it have that make it the right tool for the job?
Second, the market is maturing, and that’s a good thing. This is happening rapidly. With every passing month, token sales are held to higher standards. Before long, token sales will be held to the same criteria as venture capital investments: a working prototype, market traction, an experienced team, and deep knowledge of your target market.
I, for one, am incredibly excited about the potential of blockchain technology to disrupt traditional industries and am looking forward to seeing what the next wave of entrepreneurs will build.
That wraps up our post-ICO interview with DOVU’s CMO, Arwen Smit.
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