When Lydia and I came up with the idea of PlannerScape in 2014, I had no idea what would be technologically possible four years later, nor that the response would be so positive. We just wanted to create a system that tells you what to do, when to do it and most importantly in which order to do it. In short, it is a system that prioritizes your tasks and allows cross-collaboration between people, organizations and even methodologies. It is a GPS for your time that takes as much stress away as navigation in a car does.
When we added distributed ledger technology (i.e., blockchain) to the platform earlier this year, it made sense to do an ICO because the token provides additional utility for the platform and is also a fundraising vehicle. So, we identified as an ICO in our whitepaper and we started our roadshows in Hong Kong, Seoul, and San Francisco.
The market and industry have evolved
Since then, we have received a lot of great feedback and a lot of questions from the community with regards to the ICO. After the 2017 “Christmas fall” in the crypto market, markets were down, sentiment was down, investors were increasingly skeptical, alternatives were appearing, and people were curious about if and how we are going to address these issues. Of course we are.
While we have had the legal framework in place, the entities setup in Malta for a while now, and the crypto bills have been passed into law, guidelines and regulation for VSA agents (which are necessary for ICOs) have not yet been issued or clarified. This forced us to wait with the ICO.
During this waiting period, the situation has since evolved and very few people want to invest in a bearish crypto market, especially now that traditional ICOs have a negative connotation. Regardless of whether the minimum viable product (MVP) is ready, investors are seeking longer term interests and more influence in the project. They conduct more due diligence and have higher and more realistic expectations. Gone are the days that a mere white-paper shall suffice.
When obstacles become opportunities
Where many see this as an obstacle, we see it as an opportunity. Despite the negative overall price of crypto in the last few months, we have seen the ICO markets mature. Both government regulation, as well as self-regulation, are helping to protect investors and filter through the more substantial projects. These projects tend to focus on the development of the MVP and have more sophisticated investment offerings.
There are very clear trends of projects moving away from traditional ICOs to private placement offerings, equity investment opportunities, STOs (Security Token Offerings), ILOs (Initial License Offerings), IEOs (Initial Exchange Offerings) or a combination or hybrid offering.
These changes may cause some fundraising and potential development delay, but also present significant opportunities that cannot be ignored. The MVP is more robust, investors and their networks are more involved, and the ideas are more mature. Lastly, the tokenomics will improve, due to less volatility.
What this means for PlannerScape
As a result of and in response to these changes, PlannerScape is no longer doing an ICO for the time being and is only taking private placement deals at the moment (both token and equity) and is assessing the potential for an IEO in Korea.
We will continue holding meet-ups and roadshows in cities around the world, but our strategy has shifted to focus on the technology, the product, the ecosystem, future trends and potential partnerships.
At the same time, we will focus on the proof points, the MVP and the actual product.
The potential for our technology
The commercial landscape has changed since 2014, but so has freelancing and the sharing economy. The pace of development and the adoption of new trends are amazingly fast. Although the sharing economy is not working for every business model, it is hard to argue with the benefits.
I am frequently attending conferences globally to research the latest technological developments and implement this in our product. Google Cloud Next 2018 in San Francisco and AWS Re:invent 2018 in Las Vegas gave us the latest innovations and technological developments in machine learning, serverless computing, Distributed Ledger Technology (“DLT”) and Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (“CI/CD”) best practices.
Since then, we were able to implement supervised machine learning models to decrease data input leading to the 4th generation of our AI demo, as well as functioning CI/CD pipeline for significantly faster software deployments of our MVP and future releases. Lastly, we are well on our way to becoming fully serverless which is the answer to almost all scalability issues and real-time synchronization across devices. We will leverage on all of these to improve the user experience to simplify planning and prioritization for PlannerScape users.
By adopting these new technologies and best practices, PlannerScape can focus on the functionality of the platform rather than the required hardware or scalability issues that we would normally encounter. Not only does this keep the MVP on track, it will accelerate future release cycles as well.