Here is an Interview with Jukka Hilmola Co-Founder of Soma – The Social Market,
Q: Hi Jukka, Tell us about yourself.
Hi. I’m Jukka Hilmola, Co-Founder of Soma – The Social Market. I’m a serial entrepreneur with a background of business management and passion for startups in their early stages. I have been especially involved in the negotiation of funding from different sources (VC’s, angel investors, crowdfunding). I hold an LL.M from Queen Mary University of London.
Q: Tell us more about your team! Do they all have background of crypto?
Most people from our team have a background in cryptos and some are deeply involved in blockchain as a technology. What is best is that our team consists of people from different backgrounds, with competence in business management, legal field, technology and UI/UX designing.
Q: What inspired you to do an ICO?
As a blockchain startup, it was necessary to consider the utilization of blockchain in different functions of the Soma platform. During the early stage of our software development, we came up with an idea of Interactive Item Card (IIC). IIC was endorsed by several veterans of the C2C/classifieds industry and we decided to proceed with the patent application. While we were in the process of applying for the patent, we concluded that blockchain would be the most suitable technology to facilitate a transfer of sensitive information. We also realized that blockchain is the most beneficial technology to facilitate payments on our platform, and we designed to create Soma’s internal token, Soma Community Token. That is how we came up with the idea of Soma Rewarding System, which was subsequently endorsed as a brilliant idea by the industry veterans, such as Arto Joensuu who is now on our advisory board.
Q: How did the idea of Soma – The Social Market come about? Is this something you were doing before?
Soma was our original name for the project and it is an abbreviation for the Social Market.
Q: What is the cap for your ICO and how did you come to chose that number? What do you think of unlimited ICO’s? How much money is too much money to be raised in an ICO?
Our hard-cap for the ICO is 120,000 ETH. We came to that number based on our calculations and budget for expanding Soma to most potential markets. We are enthusiastic to introduce Soma to both, developed and developing markets as one of our goals is to unite these markets together in a decentralized marketplace. As we didn’t plan to have unlimited ICO in any stage for Soma, I don’t have any direct opinion about them. They may be a solution for a company that has a clear purpose for the capital raised in the ICO. I think every ICO is an individual case and company is raising too much money if there is no clear use for the capital raised.
Q: If you successfully crowd sell with your ICO, where will your company be based?
Soma is a Finnish based company and currently, our purpose is to stay in Finland, as our operative team is situated mostly in here. However, obviously our team will grow during the Soma’s expansion and this is an issue which may change.
Q: To what level of scrutiny do you feel ICO’s should be held to?
My personal opinion is that ICO’s are an innovative solution for promising startups to raise capital. I think ICO’s are here to stay, and they should be seen as a positive phenomenon. However, I also consider regulation as a good thing, if it is designed in a suitable manner. Regulation should be designed to remove bad actors and facilitate confidence in the ICO markets.
Q: Do you have a background in conducting due diligence on crowdfunded projects?
I have a background of conducting due diligence not only because of my education but also, I have been involved projects where we have designed crowdfunding rounds for companies in their early stage. I focused on M&A’s during my law studies, so my educational background consisted a lot of theoretical analysis of the due diligence process. In addition, we have a lot of competence for due diligence in our advisory board.
Q: In addition to cyber security, what do you feel must be understood when performing due diligence on cryptoprojects?
Basically, the same underlying concepts which are familiar from traditional M&A’s / VC are invaluable in crypto projects. You should investigate the competence of the team, markets they are trying to disrupt and the idea itself, in addition to the security issues.
Q: What is your “bird’s eye view” of the blockchain industry as a whole. From what you’ve seen, what aspects of token crowdsales could be improved?
Personally, I think that blockchain will revolutionize the world in the future. There is so much potential in the blockchain technology that I could compare it with the emergence of the internet. We already see the potentiality in various projects from different industries that have found an innovative use case for the blockchain.
Q: You’re clearly very passionate about the crypto space! Which projects are the most exciting to you?
I would say that I’m passionate about every project that is solving a real problem with the blockchain technology. This is what Soma is doing. It is obvious that there is a demand for a platform that unites social interaction with trading. There are many potential projects out there, and I consider that everyone should make their own judgment about projects they are interested.
Q: What kind of blockchain projects would you like to see in the future?
I would like to see that blockchain would be utilized in facilitating overall welfare of the people globally. I really think that blockchain has the potentiality to succeed in that. For example, the improvements it offers in the fin-tech industry are substantial.
Q: What current proof of concepts has Soma completed? What projects are in the pipeline?
Soma is backed with the funding from the angel investors, which has been raised before our ICO. With this background, we have been able to deliver working iOS-application for our ICO contributors to test. It has been glad to see that Soma has received a very positive feedback throughout the different continents in the world. Thus, our ICO has also provided us a proof of our concept by the global community engagement we have seen.
Q: What’s in the future for Soma?
Our goal is to expand Soma rapidly to different markets. We are reaching developed and developing markets, and our vision is to be a global social marketplace, which utilizes blockchain to leverage social capital. After the ICO, we will release the Andoird version of our application and MVP which comes out in the Q2 of 2018 will already consist blockchain-related features
Q: Have you talked with any exchanges about their interested in enabling trading of your Soma tokens?
We have started the discussion with various exchanges to list Soma Community Token after our ICO. Regarding our discussions, the exchanges have seen Soma as a very potential project to list and we are looking forward to getting Soma listed on various different exchanges.