At the beginning of 2021, we were in the middle of a storm that drastically changed the global economy and the world. Everyone around us rushed into digital services in order to weather this storm. It quickly became clear to us that in a few months the world would not be the same as it was before the pandemic.
The more companies joined the digital ecosystem, the more the structure of the internet changed from central services - hosting all crucial data in a single place - to decentralized services - distributing data to the users. To put it in tech terms: the master-slave architectures slowly became peer-to-peer networks. Blockchain applications and Self-Sovereign Identity standards became more relevant for asset-related interactions in the industry.
We realized that a gigantic opportunity for decentralized identity and data management was rising in the digital market. Therefore, our idea of creating a platform that offers SSI as a Service was born. In March we finished our proof of concept for the service, which was built based on real-world experiences from previous projects. We then connected to the SSI ecosystem by registering our DID method at the W3C and found great partners in Spruce Systems and many more. The team grew quickly and over the summer we found exceptional support in our investors Uneti Ventures as well as in Maikel and Jenny from the Atomico Network. In June we founded the sideos GmbH and started the operational setup. In September we received our first funding.
What happened then was amazing. The majority of the team was completely new to the topic and was asked to square the circle: how can we transform the complexity of SSI and blockchain, including all of the possible difficulties that come with using these technologies in business environments, into a service that fits current business needs while also being easy to understand and use?
It’s safe to say, our team came through. In November not only the APIs were completed but also the backend was running on our own SSI Stack. The connection to the blockchain was running our own smart contracts and the mobile SDKs were ready to be implemented into customers' apps. Only one month later, in December, we had already finished onboarding our first customers. We achieved our first big milestones, which were planned for March 2022, one quarter ahead of time. How did that happen?
Lesson learned no. 1: The team’s positive spirit is more important than all the experience and guidance a tech expert can provide. At sideos, the average age is 32, the vast majority of the team is female, we count 8 nationalities in our team of 13 people, and we love to spend time and have lunch together.
Lesson learned no. 2: Sharing learnings immediately and challenging conclusions is crucial for solid results. At the same time it's also important to keep discussions and meetings short, sweet and to the point. Gathering information quickly and implementing it right away keeps the workflow going and avoids spending too much time on one topic.
Lesson learned no. 3: Fast decision-making, even if there is a lot of uncertainty, is key to keep moving forward. Discussing a problem within 10 min and making a decision quickly is oftentimes better than keeping things open and unfinished for too long. This keeps the momentum going and fosters real learnings. The next decision is then evidence-based and not another hypothetical working assumption.
That said, we finished the year 2021 with lots of achievements and new learnings. Let’s leverage these insights and rock 2022!