Zurich-based Covee, a blockchain-based platform for decentralized teamwork, has secured 1.35 million euros in seed funding. LocalGlobe led the round with participation from other investors that included Atlantic Labs.
London, 1st May 2018: Covee, the company that is using blockchain technology to empower the decentralised future of work and organisations, has announced a €1.35M seed round, led by LocalGlobe, with participation from Atlantic Labs and a selection of angels.
The future of work will increasingly be about flexible, mobile workers less tied to a specific employer or organisation. However, technology is needed to replace the roles traditionally played by organisations, such as ensuring all workers are trustworthy and providing contracts setting out remuneration and rights.
Domain experts, data and machine learning engineers, computer scientists and statisticians are working to solve some of the world’s most complex problems, such as radiomics (machine learning meets cancer diagnosis), algorithmic trading, business analytics and advanced engineering problems. They need a way to collaborate without being tied to an employer or concerned about trust. Covee solves this problem with a blockchain platform that uses tokens and smart contracts to encourage and reward participation.
“Current employment models are not suited to the digital economy,” said Dr Carl Frey, co-director of the Programme on Technology and Employment at Oxford University and Covee’s senior advisor. “Covee’s approach has the potential of revolutionising existing employment models in ways that can offer benefits to both workers and organisations.”
Covee was founded in Berlin in 2017 by CEO Dr Marcel Dietsch, who had recently left his job at a London-based hedge fund, his long-time friend, Dr Raphael Schoettler, COO, who had previously worked for Deutsche Bank and the German Ministry of Finance, and Dr Jochen Krause, CTO, an early blockchain investor, and former quant developer and data scientist respectively at Scalable Capital and Valora.
The trio aimed to take talent and project coordination, a role previously best handled by firms, and solve the problem of delivering it on a decentralised network. They soon realised that a successful solution would apply not just to their initial area of interest, hedge fund algorithms, but to any complex problem. Covee will allow teams of knowledge workers to collaborate on data science problems for corporate clients, financial institutions, science labs, universities and more.
“Complex problems require groups of experts to bring their skills together,” said Mr Dietsch. “Covee provides a way for them to do that and trust that their collaborators will do their part, without the traditional company structure of contracts and performance reviews.”
“Other crowdsourcing platforms are either skewed to reward only a tiny proportion of users or they are hampered by incentive and moral hazard problems, such as ‘free-riding’.”
Covee is now based in Zurich, where its growing team of already eight full-time staff is working towards the alpha version of the network, which includes testing smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain and will launch in mid 2018. They are also working on regulatory approval for their utility token, prior to a pre-sale later this year.
Mr Dietsch added: “Moving to Switzerland was important for us because it has one of the oldest and strongest blockchain ecosystems in the world and an excellent pipeline of talent from institutions such as ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich. The crypto-friendly stance of the country means it has all the necessary infrastructure as well as clear regulations for token economies.”
“Our investment in Covee encapsulates our “practical science fiction” theory,” said Remus Brett, partner at LocalGlobe. “Science fiction because it imagines a world where decentralised experts who may never have met, work together to solve some of the world’s most complex problems and get paid in tokens. Practical because we believe it will work and will do so in the near future.”
Founded in Berlin in 2017 by CEO Dr Marcel Dietsch, COO Dr Raphael Schoettler, and CTO Dr Jochen Krause, Covee is building a blockchain-based platform for decentralised teamwork. Covee Network matches talent and skills with organisations that need to solve complex data-driven problems. The network also solves the issue of project coordination, a role previously best handled by firms, using blockchain tokens and a smart contract system to incentivise contributions and guarantee accountability for decentralised teamwork. Through Covee, workers can collaborate on data-driven problems without the need for a traditional employee-employer relationship and corporates, financial institutions, science labs, universities and more, can find experts to solve their problems without needing to hire a consultancy. For more information please visit https://covee.network/
LocalGlobe is a UK-based venture capital firm that focuses on seed investments. Seeding ambitious UK founders since 1999 including Transferwise, Zoopla, Improbable, Citymapper, Algolia and Robinhood.