A Case Study With DIA

A recent survey by GE found that nearly 75% of global executives believe a lack of skills is an issue within their industry, with 64% saying this problem is impacting their company’s ability to innovate. 

This is an urgent problem, as a lack of innovation can slowly remove any competitive advantage a company has accumulated over the years. 

This is usually when emerging startups begin to fill the gap, disrupting the legacy industry and pushing existing participants out due to their lack of innovation. 

This is currently occurring at a rapid pace within the Web3, or decentralized internet, industry. Built on the same principle as blockchain, decentralized technologies offer greater security, greater transparency, and greater control over our personal data and privacy.  

Why does this matter? Because currently, data in any industry is typically controlled by only a handful of players and is expensive, inaccessible, and often unreliable.

Some groups are leveraging the power of an open-source community to find, validate, and democratize reliable data that can be used by large companies, governments, and even small businesses. 

One organization engaged in this work is the Swiss nonprofit, DIA. They’re using open-source technologies to disrupt the financial data industry and help power a new decentralized fintech revolution. 

I recently spoke with President Michael Weber about decentralized tech, and why entrepreneurs across industries should be paying attention. 

Q: What was the inspiration behind DIA? 

Weber: We saw a clear gap in a market that has seen very little innovation in the past few decades. 

We feel that having a grasp on Web3 and open-source technologies is a great competitive advantage against companies that have been reluctant to integrate or acknowledge blockchain in the past. Slowly, this is changing, and this new interest helps validate the concept and business model we have built. 

Q: Do you find it challenging to communicate how Web3 works to the public? 

Weber: It can be challenging. We’ve worked hard to explain what we do as simply as possible. We often say we are looking at becoming the decentralized Wikipedia for financial data. With this context, people seem to understand how data fits into the ecosystem we are building. For entrepreneurs, especially in emerging tech, communicating your value proposition as clearly and simply as possible is critical. 

Q: How should emerging tech companies approach building their following?

Weber: If you want to see the intentions of a company clearly, see how they treat and interact with their customers, employees, and community. In our case, our community will receive control of the company by 2025, as we distribute governance to our community by distributing our governance tokens. 

This is an important success factor for many startups—they are more grounded to the needs of the market and the general community. It is extremely important to take care of your community, as they’re the ones who will fight alongside the founders to help a concept grow. 

Q: What advice do you have for entrepreneurs who are going up against billion-dollar industries?

Weber: One of the biggest takeaways of building DIA, for me, was seeing how open other Web3 companies are to partnering and helping each other out. 

When you’re in an emerging industry, it is in everyone’s best interest that the market as a whole grows, gains awareness, and the companies within the market flourish as much as possible. DIA is built around the fact that data will be the cornerstone of Web3, so we are looking to help where we can. 

Q: What kind of resources are available for entrepreneurs with bold business models that need guidance?

Weber: In our case, our first traction as a company was going through the Basecamp Accelerator, where we were one of a handful of companies selected from over 100 applicants. This led to an investment from Outlier Ventures, who continue to support us very closely. I would recommend accelerators as a way to network, validate a concept, and even source new employees or investors.

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