Andrian Galkin doesn’t think he can dislodge Amazon, Alibaba or the other online retail giants. But the 25-year-old, Ukraine-born serial entrepreneur believes Storiqa, the ethereum (ETH)-based company he founded with partners Ruslan Tugushev and Evgeny Gavrilin, can ensure the integrity of transactions, speed payments and address other e-commerce flaws.
In little more than a year, Storiqa has drawn notice from investors and observers of the retail industry. It completed a $25 million ICO, issuing its STQ (STQ) tokens earlier this year, and will launch a platform in June. It has offices in Northern California, Russia and Singapore. The company name is shorthand for “store with quality assurance,” Galkin, the COO, told ThirtyK. “We are trying to take e-commerce to a higher level.”
ThirtyK: How did the three co-founders come together and create Storiqa?
Galkin: I’m a serial entrepreneur. Ruslan is a serial entrepreneur. They had their issues and I had my issues.
ThirtyK: What were those issues?
Galkin: Ruslan and Evgeny started the company Boomstarter, (which) became popular in Eastern Europe. They ran that business successfully. Then their customers said, “We appreciate the things you’ve done but we have other problems.” They did not know how to continue their growth internationally.
“We raised $25 million from the token sale,” says Galkin. “Amazon has a capitalization of $160 billion. Twenty-five million is peanuts compared to them. We know our place.”
ThirtyK: These were small retailers?
Galkin: Small businesses. I used to produce cool desks. The company was called Stakdesk. A couple of times a customer said, “I’m sorry, the table you sent is missing a part. I thought, “That’s interesting because it was me who inspected the package. I knew that it was the customer who took some part. On the other side I couldn’t prove it. I had a friend who used to order things via eBay, and every time he was not satisfied he only got eBay rewards. I figured there are issues for the seller and buyer.
ThirtyK: Is what you quickly focused on the issue of trust?
Galkin: We wanted to build trust between seller and buyer.
ThirtyK: Storiqa as a store with quality assurance sounds like an apt description.
Galkin: We have taken to building a Storiqa standard [under] which the sale and purchase of products will meet quality standards. Blockchain helps you figure out what is fake and what is not. If you are fake, you are not listed on our platform. Blockchain gives each transaction real transparency. We are based on ethereum ERC 20. If you want to forge that, then you need to hack the whole ethereum system. We’re working with our partners on developing our own blockchain, but that will take time.
ThirtyK: This extends to product reviews.
Galkin: I’m speaking (at a conference) about blockchain and how it could impact e-commerce before 2,000 people. This guy says, “When I was a student, I used to get paid for writing reviews for products I never touched.” The problem is that people are reading and trusting those reviews.
ThirtyK: And with international reach.
Galkin: We want to help the seller sell goods internationally.
ThirtyK: Given the volume and range of goods your platform may process, what is Storiqa’s potential impact?
Galkin: We are trying to take e-commerce to a higher level, to bring more transparency to relations between the seller and buyer. For example, if there are any refunds, you can see that.
True Threats to Commerce
ThirtyK: Do you present a threat to e-commerce companies?
Galkin: If you’re trying to sell a table on Amazon, you pay a monthly or per item fee. If you want to sell your product online from your website, you need to have good marketing and customer support, good localization (and a) payment system. If you want to do all that, you need money for operational expenses. These are the main threats (to e-commerce).
ThirtyK: Can you challenge Amazon?
Galkin: We raised $25 million from the token sale. Amazon has a capitalization of $160 billion. Twenty-five million is peanuts compared to them. We know our place.
ThirtyK: Your platform also addresses delays in payment.
Galkin: I have a friend who used to work with a site, and they were trying to sell their goods. The first payment was 60 days. If you invest a lot of money in online marketing, in promoting your goods and then you’re going to wait 60 days to get your money, this is the main threat to setting up your business. With cryptocurrency, you can get the payments the same day.
ThirtyK: Do you accept multiple currencies?
Galkin: The payment system is multi-currency. We have fiat payments so you can pay with your credit card or debit card. You can pay with bitcoin (BTC), ethereum, other cryptocurrencies. We have our own token.
ThirtyK: What type of token?
Galkin: We are a utility token STQ, which is built in the system and not a security. If you want to sell something on our platform, you need to make the transaction in STQ. If you’re listing your item on our platform, you have to pay fees to the platform. Those fees are one STQ. If you pay with our token, there are bonuses.
The Main Challenge
ThirtyK: What if a seller or buyer encounters difficulty?
Galkin: We have 24-7 support.
ThirtyK: How does your company handle marketing globally?
Galkin: One thing is a localization of the product. You need to show it to people in the way they are used to seeing it in their country. You need to use tools they’re used to using because marketing is different in every country. The token makes it easier for the seller to list their product on our platform.
ThirtyK: What is Storiqa’s main challenge?
Galkin: The main challenge is the release in the second quarter of the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) because we have to include a lot of things in the MVP.
Galkin: Yes, you will be able to buy, to sell the product to pay with cryptocurrency. We will continue to work on the MVP. I hope that at the end of the third quarter we will have the final Storiqa platform.