The catalyst for launching Trusted Twin was recognizing the need for a better way to collaborate and share data. We saw that many businesses were struggling to build digital products and services based on data collaboration, due to the lack of a comprehensive and user-friendly platform. We believed that there was an opportunity to create a solution that would enable companies to unlock the full potential of their data while maintaining data ownership and governance controls. This led us to launch Trusted Twin in 2020 with a focus on empowering businesses to build new digital products and services through real-time cross-company data collaboration.
Tell me about the business – what it is, what it aims to achieve, who you work with, how you reach customers and so on?
Our goal is to help businesses of all sizes to collaborate with data more effectively, enabling them to build new digital products and services that drive growth. We work with a wide range of companies across various industries, including financial services, telecommunications, retail, and manufacturing, to name a few.
Data collaboration is difficult and expensive. It’s also cutting against the grain of conventional business thinking – never share proprietary data!! Advances in cloud computing are bringing the price point down, at least bringing real-time data sharing into the realm of possibility. But it’s still a difficult type of software to build yourself. So we take care of the heavy lifting, show businesses what’s possible, and then support them in updating their strategies.
To reach our customers, we use a variety of channels, including digital marketing campaigns, social media, and direct sales outreach. We also work with strategic partners, including venture capital firms, global system integrators, and other companies in our ecosystem, to expand our reach and offer more value to our customers.
How has the business evolved since its launch? When was this?
When we first launched, we were very focused on the concept of digital twins, hence the name of the company – digital twins storing data that you can trust. As we developed, we realized that our customers weren’t interested in digital twins solutions per se; they were interested in unlocking new value through the use of their business data. The concepts and structures of digital twins are still very important parts of what we provide, but it’s not a primary part of our communications anymore. We are focusing our sales and marketing more on solving real problems in ways that are approachable for business decision makers.
We are very much in the thick of what a16z refers to as ‘market annealing,’ which is the process of developing a very new market while evolving your company and your product simultaneously. Data operations in recent history have focused on historical or analytical data, but real-time, operational data collaboration is a very new development. We are right on the cusp here. As a start up, we are focusing on industries where there is a sense of urgency here, where real-time data collaboration can give a business a real competitive advantage. So this would mean industries like advertising and media publishing, eCommerce, payment services providers, and insurance companies.
Tell us about the working culture at Trusted Twin
At Trusted Twin, we foster creativity, innovation, and teamwork. We value face-to-face interaction and being in the physical office together. But we also recognize the importance of remote work, especially in the current global climate. Our team is made up of individuals from diverse backgrounds and experiences, and we embrace a global mindset that allows us to work with international investors and partners.
Our working culture is built on several core values that guide our decisions and interactions. Quality is paramount in everything we do, and we strive to deliver high-quality solutions while still being agile and responsive to changing needs. Respect and inclusion are crucial to building a healthy and supportive team environment, where everyone feels valued and heard. Transparency and honesty are essential for building trust and maintaining open communication, both within our team and with our customers and partners. Finally, our global mindset guides us in our vision for the future and how we execute on our goals.
How are you funded?
Our team of founders are all successfully exited former startup founders, so Trusted Twin is our newest effort to build a long-term, global technology business. We’ve developed quite a network of entrepreneurs, business partners, customers, and friends in the last couple decades. This means that, while Trusted Twin is very much an early-stage startup, we are also something of a community effort.
What has been your biggest challenge so far and how have you overcome this?
We’re all about innovation and pushing boundaries, and that isn’t always easy. One of our biggest challenges has been figuring out how to position ourselves in the market and communicate our value proposition effectively.
To tackle this challenge, we’ve had to get creative and think outside the box. We’ve explored adjacent categories and emerging trends that align with our vision and capabilities, and we’ve been investing in targeted marketing campaigns, thought leadership content, and strategic partnerships to raise awareness and build our reputation. But most importantly, we’ve been listening to our customers and partners, getting their feedback, and refining our messaging to better connect with their needs and pain points.
How does Trusted Twin answer an unmet need?
Of course every startup founder loves to say “we have no competition!” I won’t go that far. There are data sharing solutions on the market right now. Snowflake is offering a number of different data sharing solutions. Amazon Clean Rooms is an interesting piece of technology. There are a few other examples.
But it’s my honest assessment that sharing real-time, operational data remains underserved. I’m not aware of any company offering specifically what Trusted Twin can do: a developer-friendly platform for collaborating on real-time data. We take care of regulatory and compliance hurdles. We take care of computational headaches and infrastructure. We give businesses full control of access and data governance. And we are doing this at a price point that matches the needs of the business. It’s a vastly underdeveloped market that is quickly emerging.
What’s in store for the future?
We are live right now with a number of customers and in the pilot phase with several other customers, distributed pretty broadly across the previously mentioned markets. This market annealing stuff is no joke though! I truly believe the sky’s the limit, and we have a long-term mindset. But the day-to-day operations of Trusted Twin are very much focused on customer-oriented problem solving. I think if we can win a couple compelling business cases and get that first anchor secured, we will start generating tremendous momentum.
What one piece of advice would you give other founders or future founders?
It’s important to have a mindset of service or ‘giving.’ I think it’s easy to get wrapped up in ‘taking’ when you’re a business leader. This is a competitive marketplace after all! And of course we have to stake our claims and grab what territory we can. This is true of any business. But it’s very important to take a wider perspective and see yourself in a lineage. Think of the people and organizations that helped you achieve your goals, and try to be the type of person that can help the next generation.
And finally, a more personal question! What’s your daily routine and the rules you’re living by at the moment?
I do 1000 pull-ups and eat only air. Of course I’m kidding! We just work. I don’t know about all of these hyped up productivity movements and podcasts going around. I think that’s great if it motivates you. But we just go in every day and work our tails off. I wouldn’t say it’s a joy exactly, but I also wouldn’t want to be doing anything else right now. We’ve got a great team and a very exciting technology that we built from scratch. And this isn’t our first go-round. We are all here because we believe in our product and we want to make it grow. I guess if there’s a rule or routine, it’s ‘be nice and work.’ And work together! Every other day, all of the founders and whichever key team members we need are huddled together in the conference room, grinding ideas. It’s a team.
Krzysztof Malicki is CEO and cofounder of Gdansk-based Trusted Twin.