HAT Data Exchange opens a seed round for a £1.5m raise

After 2 months of preparation, some great deck iteration with HATDeX board members and existing early investors (Amadeus Capital among them), HAT Data Exchange is finally ready for a new raise.

The HAT is growing up. Back in 2013 when we first won the grant, its positioning was that of an IoT hub. As it progressed through the project, it became a personal data hub, owned and controlled by the person. Even when the HAT project ended and the foundation was formed concurrently with the HAT Data Exchange, it was still positioned as a ‘data wallet’. Today, whenever I meet someone new and I ask ‘what do you think the HAT is?’ I still hear ‘data locker’ or ‘data store’.

It isn’t.

The HAT is a micro-server. The best analogy I have is the PC. The PC has storage. The HAT has storage. The PC is owned by a person with rights over all the information inside. The HAT is also owned by the person with rights over all the data inside. The PC has applications where no one else sees your information. The HAT has owner applications where no one else sees your HAT data. The PC can send your data out into the Internet, the HAT can send your data out into the Internet through a data debit (which you can also cancel). The PC cannot easily pull your data from the Internet for reuse over and over again on other apps. The HAT micro-server can. The PC cannot be a ‘user account’ fully integrated with other apps out there. The HAT can. The PC cannot give real time, on-demand, dynamic data on the go. The HAT can. The PC can’t easily give insights on-demand. The HAT can.

The PC gave people information processing capabilities through applications like word processing, spreadsheets and a browser. The HAT gives people data processing and control capabilities on the Internet. It enables digital persons on the Internet to be more valuable, with control over their data, but it also enables digital persons to be more powerful. Because a microserver is pretty powerful, especially with more applications. Currently, there are two applications, with the next application coming in the next week. The HAT community is mining more data into HATs, especially with PSD2 now here and GDPR coming up, and more new apps are coming soon. It’s exciting times. It has a 1977 feel to it 😉

So we know about HATs. But what does HATDeX do?

While HAT owners may be willing to exchange data for benefits, there needs to be services to make it happen. HATDeX DEX service acts on the instruction of HAT owners and performs the exchange of data that both HAT owners and app or firms have agreed on. DEX is therefore the equivalent of ‘swift’ in banking. Swift moves money, DEX moves data. The payment for DEX services is by firms that want HAT data. HATDeX DEX Service is a data concierge that works on behalf of individuals, taking instruction from HAT owners on whom to give their data to.

HATDeX Smart HAT Engine (SHE) Service, on the other hand, enables analytics and algorithmic functions to be ‘near-HAT’ to transform HAT data and create new data and insights privately, that the HAT owner can then share (data scientists get royalties if their algorithmically derived new data is used by firms or subscribed to by HAT owners). Not a million miles away from having your own software on your PC that gives you analytics. Only that this is done in real time and on-demand.

Aside from moving and transforming data, HATDeX MILLINER Service enables a firm to provision a HAT to their customers in just 3–5 seconds on the AWS cloud. This provisioning enable firms to give their own customers HATs with a HAT dashboard complete with their own brand look and feel. HATs can therefore be hosted by the firm on the cloud, owned by their customers, powered by the HAT (similar to ‘Intel Inside’) – all fully set up within two weeks for the organisation. Of course it doesn’t matter who you get your HAT from, any HAT can use all HAT platform services and sign on to all HAT enabled apps. The HAT is open sourced and so is the HAT dashboard. HATDeX cloud services (DEX, MILLINER, SHE) enable HATs to conduct process, control and conduct data exchanges across all industries and all apps and it is for profit, through with a guardian share by the HAT Community Foundation.

After two years, the legal, economic and technical architecture of the HAT Platform is coming into full implementation. Early traction shows HATDeX business is being validated and the positioning is much clearer. As HAT numbers grow and traction for HATDeX grows, it’s time to move to the next stage, hardening systems, stabilising operations, getting compliance for taking on more sensitive data that HATDeX partners have requested (identity and health), and push for growth.

The thirst for personal data by organisations in the Digital Economy is certainly growing (see my recent keynote on why personal data is so valuable an asset).

HATDeX will always be a rather unique startup, tasked to build and operate the HAT Data Exchange in partnership with the HAT Community Foundation, itself managing the ecosystem of multiple universities with more than £5m in grant projects, and a community of researchersstartupsactivists, lawyers, advocates and other good people who care about the Internet as a free society. I have no doubt HATs will eventually be a public good, ubiquitous across all services as the default user account of websites and apps. HATDeX services, however, will generate good profit for investors, because at scale, data relationships is what the Internet is all about.

As Chairman, founder and investor in HATDeX, I am really proud of this incredibly talented team and happy to announce this raise that will take them to the next stage of growth.

If you know anyone who might be interest to invest, ping me or email the team at invest@hatdex.org for an investor deck.

To know more about HATs, HATDeX and HAT Community Foundation, check out the slide deck here. Welcome to 1977 😛

Oh, and get a HAT 😄

(This post originally published on Medium on the 24 Jan 2018)

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