TIKI is a consumer data privacy app that lets you decide what data companies collect about you and how they use it. When they do use your data, you get paid your fair share. TIKI’s unique data market protects your data and makes it only accessible by the companies you choose – including the millions of small businesses we actually care about, not just big-budget corporations. CEO Mike Audi talks to TechBullion about the opportunities from TIKI.
Please tell us a little more about yourself, your background in data science and specifically your journey in the consumer data privacy space?
I’m Mike Audi, CEO and Founder of TIKI – a consumer data privacy app. I’ve been building innovative data products for a decade. I’ve worked with SMBs to Fortune 500s to create systems responsible for generating billions of data points and impacting hundreds of thousands of people. You may see my name featured as a data expert in the New York Times, Financial Times, CNN, CyberNews, CPO Magazine, and many others.
What is TIKI, and how does it work?
TIKI is our solution to the world’s escalating data nightmare, where companies and governments exploit our data and we, the people, pay the price.
On the surface, TIKI is a straightforward app where you simply swipe left and right to decide what happens to YOUR data. For example, you can swipe left to turn off facial recognition or swipe right to get paid for your YouTube watch history.
Under the covers, TIKI is a first-of-its-kind user data ownership platform. You link your existing accounts, and suddenly you can see who has your data, control what they do with it, and even choose to make money licensing it.
The best part, when you decide to monetize your data, you stay 100% anonymous, protecting both buyers and sellers. TIKI uses end-to-end edge encryption and data tokenization to create an anonymous, decentralized platform, resulting in an open, fair, and transparent data market. Businesses safely purchase insights they need. Users get compensated fairly.
What issues in the consumer data industry does TIKI solve?
Privacy, consent, inequality, misunderstanding, distrust, mistrust, and just the general unfairness of it all. Look, it’s your data. Anything else you own, you have control over who uses it, how they use it, and if you sell it, you get paid for it. So if it’s really your data, why don’t those same rights apply?
The data industry grew out of a knowledge gap between tech companies and internet users – almost like a sleazy businessman buying your land on the cheap because he had inside information there was oil, or the market was going to appreciate. We all experience it every day, and we know deep down, those who control the data will control the next hundred years. Often we’ve all felt hopeless, like the train has left the station. It has not; we (the collective we) can fix it.
What is the current global market size of the data industry, and what do you think is going to be the next big trend in the industry?
Trillions. Some experts would say tens of trillions. It’s impossible to put an exact number on it when you have entities like Google or Facebook whose entire business models are rooted in data collection. Revenue aside, how do you put a number on its influence on society, new product development, its use in anti-competitive tactics, the spin-off companies, and more? How about quantifying the value of data collection to the NSA? One stat that always blows my mind is in 2021, $450 billion will be spent on digital ads. DIGITAL ADS! Those things we tune out and ad-block will generate $450 billion in revenue! It’s giant and sneakily one of the biggest markets the world has ever seen.
Your mission at TIKI is to help users have a say in what happens to their data. How is this model going to be beneficial to users?
Only you know what’s best for you. We’re not saying stop using Facebook, we’re just creating an easy way to see what data companies collect on you, control how they use it, and get your fair share of the profits. It’s an impossible task to expect a company or government to always know and act in everyone’s best interests. It’s your data; it’s your property. Only you can know what’s right for you, and you should be able to control it. We’re here to return fairness and control to the people – close the gap, if you will.
What is the most that someone can earn from selling their data through the TIKI platform?
Most? Well, obviously, it depends on the data, how much they wish to sell, and to whom. In the US, an average person’s data is worth thousands annually. Facebook alone made $159.35 per US user in 2020. Beyond Facebook, there are thousands of companies reliant on your data. The question becomes, how much of this data can we give back to users? Our first milestone is for the average TIKI user to earn $10/month, with a target of getting to $100/month! That’s real money. One of the features many TIKI users are excited about is the ability to donate their data dollars. At $10/month x 100,000 users, you can see how quickly it can add up to become a powerful force for good.
TIKI’s entire product is focused on giving more control to the user. Is the StartEngine crowdfunding part of this process?
Absolutely! It’s critical for both the short- and long-term success of TIKI. With money comes responsibilities, and our primary responsibility is to our users. With crowdfunding, our investors are our users, demonstrating market demand and creating powerful advocates for consumer data privacy. As investors, it’s in their best interest to get all their friends to try the app!
Longer-term, they’re a grounding force, always keeping us user-centric. As companies grow and take on more and more investors, it’s easy to get lost chasing short-term gains. Investor motivations are typically different from user motivations. However, this is not the case when your users are your investors. Talk about alignment!
What benefits should investors expect from investing in TIKI? What’s the estimated return?
Per SEC rules, we can’t say much about this, but they’re all listed out wonderfully on our StartEngine page. You can read about the benefits of investing herE: startengine.com/tiki
What vision do you have following this funding round? How will the funds be used and what’s on the horizon for the company?
With a growing waitlist of over 125,000 people, our focus is on building the best product possible for them – and we can’t keep them waiting too long! We’re growing the engineering team, creating the platform, defining the data marketplace, and ultimately racing towards a public app launch in early 2022.
Could you tell us more about your co-founders and the team you’re building? What makes TIKI team special?
Maybe the easiest way to put it is our team knows data, and our team cares. In a radically shifting market like data, these are two qualities that you can’t undervalue. My co-founders, our team, and advisors have dedicated their lives to bringing transformative data products to market. There are far easier ways to make money in data. TIKI is closer to an idea, a revolution, than a tech company. Ultimately you win with passion, because you see an opportunity, you believe in it, and you truly care.
We’re here because we can and need to give control over user data to the user. It will take a radical approach; more of the same will not fix it.
This brings us to, what makes TIKI so special? We stand by three principles: user-centricity, transparency, and trust. It sounds simple, and a million other companies use these words. The difference is we really mean it.
When we say user-centric, everything starts with the user. It’s an entirely different way of looking at the problem. Before we even wrote one line of code, we started by putting the idea on the internet and getting users to tell us their thoughts, to vote on features, our roadmap, integrations, you name it. Even the current crowdfunding raise, which was very difficult to get approved and set up, was intended to keep users at the center of TIKI’s world.
When we say transparency, we really mean it. ALL of TIKI is open source. Our code, our designs, our plans, strategies…it’s all published. If TIKI really is for the users, shouldn’t they have full visibility into everything we’re doing? It’s one thing to claim encryption, data safety, and protection. Other companies will deny things like shadowbans and backdoors, but unless you can see it yourself, how can you really know? We’ve all been duped so many times…
If you want to build trust in a trustless world: Step 1. Don’t hide things. Step 2. Always put the users first. People come to TIKI for privacy or money (or both); they stay because we earn their trust, and that creates loyalty.
What other information do you have for our readers today?
Invest in TIKI before our campaign ends on Oct. 31 at startengine.com/tiki. It’s hard to say if and when there may be another opportunity. The rules, unfortunately, make these things quite difficult.
Sign up, tell your friends, we can fix this mess together: mytiki.com