2020 was a difficult year for everyone. We have been lucky. We did not go out of business, we aren’t among the millions dead, jobless, homeless, or permanently injured. But like all businesses, we had to adapt, and suffered setbacks that related largely to the chilling effects on the economy of a global pandemic. Nevertheless we have paved the way for growth in the new year. Here are some highlights of 2020 with prospects for the new year:
Although ConsenSys Health did not pan out into a partnership as we had hoped, it led us to forge our partnership with BTblock in a roundabaout way. While I was General Counsel at ConsenSys Health, I became good friends with Dr. Alex Cahana, who is now a partner with me at BTblock Health Group and has long been an advisor for them. As a result, BTblock is a stakeholder in EncrypGen, and Brian Jalazo has joined as President of EncrypGen, helping us refine our capital raise plans, business plan, etc. As my daughter would say, “so THAT happened!”
I have been advising Afya Rekod and their partner Ada Labs since September, again thanks to Alex. We planned a very nice UN General Assembly event about digital ID and this has been an excellent prelude to forging new plans in Africa. Along the way, we reconnected with some folks we have been talking about working with for three years (who started a successful genomics company regarding veterans health in the US – though monetization was not in the cards for them), and they are starting a genomic testing and research project in Kenya. As it turns out, they met with the founder of Afya and we all realized we have a winning business plan going forward. We are negotiating a memo of understanding about how we can work together, with the one company (I’ll mention once the MoU gets signed) doing subsidized genetic testing for their research partners, Afya Rekod delivering medical record connectivity, and us providing monetization. The partner already has a study involving 18,000 Africans lined up, and we are eager to make sure we can get those and all new study participants on the Gene-Chain to make them some money for their data.
We successfully got clearance from the SEC for a Reg CF fundraise, and as you know, the limits for Reg CF have recently been increased significantly. Besides that, we will try a Security Token Offering (STO) using a company that has recently launched a platform for STOs in Estonia. That company also has an exchange for not just their security tokens, but any token. It’s an exchange one of our supporters connected us with, and the discussions led us to the exciting phase planned for January, launching both the STO and listing the DNA token on a new exchange. We will announce when this happens as we expect both to happen in mid-January. Preparing for it has taken months of hard work.
We still seek capital through typical VC and seed funding means, primarily for customer acquisition. We know it costs us 20 USD to attain a customer through direct internet advertising, and we calculate that at 50,000 users we will be generating sustainable revenue. So we are seeking 1.5 Million USD to achieve that and meanwhile improve our customer acquisition strategy. With Brian Jalazo spearheading those efforts, we are comfortable with the prospect of achieving this soon. The RoI for each user should make the investment in our proven and existing platform a rather straightforward proposition.
We remain optimistic about the new year. As normality begins to return and we will become better able to meet with and negotiate new deals with potential partners, and prospects in Africa in particular opening up, we expect to begin to achieve the goals that remained elusive in 2020, notably significantly increased customer usage of the Gene-Chain. Meanwhile, we are grateful as always for your support, for following our endeavors and cheering them on, and we hope you stay safe and well. EncrypGen remains our life’s work, and we believe strongly in the enduring principles of user-ownership and control of genomic data, and enabling science through its sharing. We welcome you and your friends and family to the platform and send you the warmest wishes for the holiday season and the new year.