The Center for Data Innovation spoke with Krzysztof Malicki, the CEO of Trusted Twin, a company based in Gdansk, Poland. Trusted Twin provides the digital infrastructure necessary to help businesses collaborate with other businesses on real-time operational data. Malicki spoke about the benefits of digital infrastructure services and what it means when a business is “anything-as-a-service.”
Kir Nuthi: What motivated you to create Trusted Twin, and what differentiates it from other digital infrastructure services?
Krzysztof Malicki: We created Trusted Twin because we recognized that businesses need a better way to collaborate and share operational, real-time data. Our focus on data collaboration differentiates us from other digital infrastructure services, which allows companies to build new products and services based on real-time, cross-company data while maintaining data ownership and governance controls. Many quality data plug-ins exist for analytical or historical data, but real-time data is relatively underdeveloped. Building these types of integrations while maintaining security and control and adhering to regulations is a time-intensive and expensive process. We make this easy for businesses and quickly move them toward monetizing data collaboration.
Nuthi: What does it mean to be anything-as-a-service?
Malicki: “Anything-as-a-service” or XaaS refers to a business model in which companies offer their customers various products, services, or solutions via a cloud-based or subscription-based platform. This can include software-as-a-service (SaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS), infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), and others. This model allows customers to access a wide range of offerings without investing in costly infrastructure or hardware. By leveraging cloud-based technology, companies can deliver services and solutions more efficiently and at a lower cost while customers benefit from greater flexibility and scalability.
We are part of this movement, albeit in a very new area. We can provide a data collaboration service on a developer-friendly platform that removes headaches for decision-makers. This leads directly to the idea of XaaS: if your “anything” that you are trying to productize is data-related, then we can accelerate your time to market and break down barriers. The key for us is allowing companies to convert their physical product or physical asset into a digital service. For example, we help a meter manufacturer turn their water meters into a data “product” (measurement as a service) that other stakeholders can plug into.
Data-sharing infrastructure is costly, and we believe that many businesses will be better off leaving the heavy lifting to Trusted Twin.
Nuthi: How does your company successfully integrate blockchain into your services, and what motivated this?
Malicki: Blockchain is a great technology that can be a source of trust and verifiability in situations where there is a collaborative ecosystem with insufficient trust. Think of a large construction site with dozens of contractors and vendors delivering materials and performing work simultaneously: How do you exchange data? How do you document in an immutable way who did what and when? However, in real life, most collaboration ecosystems have an initiator who sets the rules and brings trust into the group. In such cases, blockchain is not necessary or can be used in a secondary function to provide additional verifiability. As we see the latter situation occurring in most cases, we have designed a blockchain module providing this additional verifiability on top of our platform. It can be used when needed, and many business cases exist. But it’s not the core of what we offer.
Nuthi: How will new technological advances in machine learning and foundation models affect how you serve your clients?
Malicki: Although our expertise is in operational data and processing large volumes of events in real-time, we are avid observers of the developments in ML. We are both excited about the opportunities and aware of the threats. Regarding our business, we recognize that advancements in ML enable new digital products and services based on data. However, for that to be possible, those models still need a lot of high-quality data, often available in real time. This is where we come in, providing the means for cross-company data collaboration in real time. Easier data collaboration means more data and better data, which leads directly to improved ML models. It’s a virtuous cycle.
Nuthi: You received $1 million in your 2022 pre-seed funding round. What is the next series of goals for Trusted Twin?
Malicki: With $1 million in pre-seed funding, we are focusing on developing and enhancing our platform to ensure compatibility for enterprise customers, and this means multi-cloud (available on AWS and Azure), compliant (ISO, SOC-2 certification, etc.), and secure (penetration testing, etc.). In addition, we are improving sales and marketing initiatives, building out various business cases, and focusing on founder-led sales. The fact is that we are working in a very early market. We know we’ve got great technology and a team with a proven track record. But we are very much in the thick of what a16z refers to as “market annealing,” which is the sometimes strenuous process of refining our company, our product, and the market itself simultaneously. So, the goal is to establish a couple of lighthouse, industry-specific applications for Trusted Twin with logo companies and then move on to scaling.