Jools Moore sits down with the May 2019 winners of the AI Start-Up Pitch. From taking the crown to long-term plans, the future looks rosy for Pynk
Congratulations on winning the AI pitch battle at the Malta AIBC in May. You had some tough competition, so what do you think clinched it for you with the judges?
Thank you very much! Yes the competition was quite tough – we are lucky to be in an ecosystem where there is such strong competition, but I think overall we’ll all benefit in the end! We think it was the innovative Pynk model that won it for us. We are the world’s first People Powered Investment platform using Wisdom of Crowd data and AI to build a more equitable model for everyday investors. Combined with the fact we are using blockchain technology to democratise access via Security Tokens - we’re using tech for good. I think the judges bought into and saw the value in our mission.
How important is it for startups like Pynk to get peer review from judges as well as some prize money from events like the AI start-up pitch?
For us it’s super important. We’re still an ‘early stage’ start-up, so building awareness for our company is key and competitions such as this are a great way for us to get publicity. It does require quite a bit of work in terms of preparation – but it’s totally worth it, especially if you win – which feels great for the whole team, advisors, investors and of course our Pynkster community around the world. But the other thing that is important for us is it drives our credibility, having validation from a panel of judges at such an event is key in building our credentials.
How are things progressing with Pynk? You had 1400 users back in may - what’s your user base currently?
I’ve never been involved in a company that is progressing as quickly as Pynk, and that’s down to the team. Everyone is pushing hard every day – so it’s an exciting environment. We reached 1,400 Crowd Predictors in May and today we are already at more than 6,000 across 55 countries. We’re actually growing a little too fast if anything, so we’re taking our foot of the pedal a little when it comes to crowd recruitment. The crowd who earn Pynk Security Tokens in return for sharing their Wisdom are limited to 10k - and we are confident we will get there in the coming months.
Diversity in the Crowd is key for Wisdom of Crowd methodology, so we love that we have people across the globe, from Indonesia, Europe, Cuba, USA, and Brazil. Our target is to have Pynksters from every country in the world!
With crowd wisdom and AI will the increasing size of the user base improve the prediction model, or is it consistent as it grows in size?
Our early testing with machine learning shows we were accurate in predicting the direction of BTC, from what we see, the more data we get in, the better our AI, Rose performs, since the more data she has the quicker she learns. It’s not just about volume of data though, but quality also. Rose watches and learns from individuals we call ‘super predictors’, observing how they perform across time periods and in different market conditions – and she rewards accuracy with additional ‘Wisdom Points’. We’re also building other factors for Rose to draw correlations from to make better predictions.
If you have users who aren’t great with predictions (like the 95% who aren’t very good at turning a profit), how does this affect the overall prediction model?
Well actually the bad predictors are incredibly useful to the model since there is a strong inverse correlation with future asset prices. So Rose looks at these people as well as Super Predictors to make her forecasts. But it isn’t usually the case that a person is always bad at predicting, it depends on the market conditions, whether they are naturally bullish or bearish and other such factors. That’s why AI is so powerful for Crowd Wisdom – traditional methods could never replicate the speed of learning looking at all of this data. We have also recently added new types of questions we call long term ‘forecasts’ across new asset classes (not just BTC,) and some of our Crowd are better at those that short-term predictions. So the reality is we value the contribution of everyone.
You’re looking at a further round of seed funding in September - how will this help develop the brand and the offering?
Hugely! This award puts us in a great place and as mentioned before, it drives our credibility – everyone at Pynk is so grateful and proud that we won. If you follow Pynk you’ll also know we place great value on this and other programs that we go through. We’re part of the Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest accelerators in the UK, Creative Destruction Labs in Canada and also 360 Labs – a venture fund that is helping us get ready to scale. All of this is with a view to helping our next funding round which opens September 2019.
Where does Pynk hope to be in five years time?
We’re an ambitious lot here at Pynk and we have our sights on building a Unicorn with several $billion in assets under management from investors around the world. Most importantly– I believe we have the talent in the team to get there. And what’s great is that as Pynk grows we have even more talented people asking to join us and wanting to get involved. It all goes back to our vision of building a more equitable investment model for everyday investors – younger investors buy into that. And it’s more than just investment, we want to give power back to our community, so that through Wisdom of Crowds methodology we can give them a say in where and how their capital is deployed. We can’t solve the world’s problems - but together we can build a better model that can at least do things the right way.
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