KICKBOX Success Story: Simplified Data Sharing for High-Impact Business Results

It's no secret that we live in a data-driven world, where sharing information is a crucial part of running any successful business. But let's face it, navigating the labyrinth of data sharing agreements and collaborating with external partners can often feel like a high-stakes game of Jenga – a risky and rather complex process. The result? Organizations avoiding data sharing altogether. Two former Swisscom employees, Jorge Alvarado and Lukas Hohl, aim to change this through their newly founded start-up TrustRelay.


The TrustRelay Duo, Lukas Hohl and Jorge Alvarado

The data-sharing gap

While working on a project to combine blockchain technology with Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices, Jorge and Lukas quickly realised during customer interviews, that the problem was not the IoT technology, but rather the data-sharing process itself. Not only is this process often quite risky, due to security, legal, ethical as well as quality risks – the increased focus on data security and company-wide regulatory frameworks also make the process of cross-company data sharing more complex.

Data sharing constitutes an extremely valuable part of business operations for many companies. A study by MIT Sloan found that companies that share data with external partners are 63% more likely to achieve significant revenue growth than companies that do not share data. Beyond revenue generation, additional economic benefits for organizations also include improved operational efficiency, cost savings through better resource deployment, as well as insights to otherwise unobtainable data sources. 




The Idea

Following their collective “aha”-moment that this was a frequent problem experience by many companies, Jorge and Lukas started pursuing their idea to find a way to fill the data-sharing gap in the market. The employee-driven innovation program within Swisscom; KICKBOX by rready, provided the perfect opportunity as well as the necessary resources for the duo to validate the market-fit of their idea.

The KICKBOX program at Swisscom, enables employees to validate and test their ideas by allowing them to go from a raw idea to the successful implementation, in a structured process. Through an online platform, a service store, a physical innovation toolkit as well as access to an expert ecosystem, employees can submit their ideas and drive company-wide innovation forward.

Following the successful completion of the KICKBOX Program, a few months down the line, TrustRelay was officially launched as its own legal entity. The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform enables simple and compliant data-sharing among organizations beyond their sectorial ecosystems. It does this by allowing the setup of dataspaces (virtual networks) as well as clear, actionable data-sharing agreements that allow organizations to share their data with one another.

Compared to other existing data-sharing solutions, TrustRelay, aims to provide its customers with a holistic, business solution: a tool that can provide access to an enormous amount of decentralized data, whilst effectively providing a solution for many of the risks associated with data sharing within dataspaces, in a trustworthy and legally compliant manner.


A look into the future and some advice to fellow innovators

With the excitement and breath of fresh air which the start-up world brings, both Jorge and Lukas look forward to what the future holds for the team and the company. “Our vision is to be the brand that corporates, start-ups, and governments associate with modern, simple data sharing”, says Jorge, thereby “contributing towards a more democratized way of collaborating on data.” 

As KICKBOX-alumni, the Co-Founders do have some tips for aspiring innovators: “Don’t wait for the perfect idea, just try it, fail fast and fail forward. Ideas come in all shapes and sizes, some may be considered part of the core business, and others may be tangent to the business, either way, both, intrapreneurs and employers can seize the opportunities.”


If you think your organization can benefit from the use of dataspaces, have a look at their website for more information and feel free to get in touch!