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Meet Matt Baer of KeyoCoin in Santa Monica

Today we’d like to introduce you to Matt Baer.

Matt, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was born into a family of entrepreneurs, and have been building and growing businesses for as long as I can remember, so you could say that it’s in the blood. Starting from an early age I’ve always kept a particularly close eye on new technologies, especially the big innovations that have the potential to transform the world we live in. It’s this love of tech that has fueled my entrepreneurial drive over the past 15 years, but I love the whole process of creating a business, turning a profit from it, and seeing a positive change in the world from something I’ve built.

Over the years, I’ve learned how to build products, teams, and everything in between, and after thousands of late nights huddled around a whiteboard brainstorming product design, marketing strategy and growth avenues, I’ve come to love the all-in lifestyle; fueled by local coffee from the many countries I’ve traveled and worked in.

Now, I find myself in the emerging market of blockchain, surrounded by best team I’ve ever assembled, and the best product I’ve ever built. KeyoCoin is the culmination of years of learning and hard work, which have led me on a path where my biggest success is now right at my doorstep.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road of an entrepreneur is never a straight line, and I’d be wary of any signpost claiming it is. In reality when you set out on the journey there is no road. You start with a vision, set your goals or destination, and build your own path as you go.

Of course we can learn from those that have gone before, and surrounding yourself with talented and experienced individuals can help no-end with navigation, but you have to be confident yourself in the direction you’re traveling, because there are times when you will have to dig deep.

There are always the doubters that will suggest you’re heading for a dead end, but as people begin to share your vision, first your team and your investors, and then the advisors and community of loyal customers, everything starts to click into place and you can take comfort from the fact that everyone is pulling in the same direction.

With KeyoCoin the timing was in our favor. We had been bouncing around plans to develop a new kind of travel app for some time, one that could bring consumers closer to the millions of hard-working independent travel businesses that are all struggling to find customers efficiently online. We knew that the challenges of building such a platform were huge, and some of the scalability hurdles were daunting, but blockchain technology was finally reaching a point where we could use it to underpin large elements of the platform. There was a eureka moment where we thought “this is it, this is how the market should work.” From that moment on we’ve only been moving in one direction, and it’s already proving to be quite a white knuckle ride!

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about KeyoCoin – what should we know?
KeyoCoin is a technology company run by a team of adventurous individuals with a life-long love of travel. We’re building a universal travel rewards platform, which uses blockchain technology and cryptocurrency rewards, to gamify the entire travel experience, and bring travelers and their travel providers closer together.

By introducing challenge-based cryptocurrency rewards to the hospitality, travel, and local experience marketplace, we’re helping travelers to discover unique new experiences while on their adventures, and, by redistributing the 10-30% commission otherwise paid to middlemen, are also helping them spend less when they book them.

For independent travel businesses, we’re providing a free platform to help market themselves to potential customers, without needing to pay huge commissions to the Online Travel Agents (OTA’s) that currently dominate the online bookings marketplace. Meanwhile, the reward infrastructure allows them to attract business, and also incentivize desirable consumer actions, such as leaving a review, telling a friend, or leaving their room clean and tidy.

What’s more, because travelers are by their very nature ‘on the move’, it’s hard for many of these businesses to offer loyalty or reward programs in the first place, because they’re so much less likely to get the repeat customer. But the blockchain allows us to create universal rewards that can be earned anywhere in the world, and spent anywhere in the world. This is because the database on which it is based (the distributed ledger) is universally available, immutable, and effectively policed by the community, not one single business. Plus, unlike the reward points most people will be familiar with, these are universally accepted, shareable, and will never expire.

About 10-30% of any online booking is currently gobbled up by commission-hungry middlemen. We want to put that value back in the pockets of consumers, and their providers, and, with our platform’s travel challenges, infuse a little fun as well, so people are encouraged to go out and experience life!

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?

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