“Applying blockchain technology to intellectual property makes the process 100 times cheaper and 100 times faster”

SharpShark

SharpShark is a blockchain-powered SaaS that helps content creators protect their intellectual property. An author inserts his or her content into the SharpShark editor and, if it passes the originality check, the system generates a certificate of authorship. It contains all the data necessary to prove authorship in accordance with the Berne Convention and the EUCD.

The system then constantly monitors the internet, looking for reverse content, and sends an alert if the author’s content has possibly been improperly republished. Should this happen, SharpShark helps the author to generate and submit a complaint; first to the website owner, then to providers and search engines.

Sasha Ivanova and Valeriia Panina, the founders of this Chilean business, believe that the most important thing when it comes to team building is to compensate for the weaknesses of one team member with the strengths of another team member. “Sasha is good at strategy, finding new opportunities for the business, and negotiations, Tatiana is brilliant in day-to-day operations and Valeriia excels in shaping all our ideas. The spirit of our team is collaboration, not competition,” they tell El Referente.

We also talked to them about their plans to establish themselves in Spain. They have had support from ICEX-Invest in Spain’s Rising UP in Spain programme, which specifically focuses on attracting foreign entrepreneurs who want to set up and grow in Spain. The selected start-ups receive resources to develop their business in Spain.

How was your experience with Rising UP in Spain?

The truth is that we couldn’t be happier. When we found out that we were one of the 15 businesses selected out of 350 participants, we literally cried tears of joy.

Firstly, the programme team helped us a lot with the visa application process: preparing documents and submitting them to the consulates.

They are very communicative, always answer quickly, and provide comprehensive information. We felt very well supported throughout the whole process.

They also gave us guidance us on the Spanish market, the tax system, how to set up the company and how to manage it, how to open a bank account and other important issues at the point of expansion.

Why do you think it is necessary to have this type of internationalisation aid project?

It was very important for us to validate our assumptions and business in the European market. We were already well-known in Latin America, we had a media presence and certain achievements, whereas the European market was totally unknown to us. This is why participating in these types of programmes is an excellent opportunity for start-ups to expand into foreign markets.

How is your entry into Spain going?

Our plan is to scope out three locations: Madrid, Barcelona and Alicante. The European Intellectual Property Office is in Alicante, so it is important for us to be in contact with them.

In which other countries or regions are you present and in which ones would you like to be present? What strategies are you following?

We have a strong presence in Chile and Argentina. We had have several pilots in the US and in Russia. Strategy is always built around customer needs. In other words, if we have appealing customers who we can help, that’s where we go.

Why did you decide to focus your solution on content creators?

The content creation industry is definitely only going to grow. But competition is increasing at the same time. It is now more important than ever for content creators to know how to protect their intellectual property. As we have a media background, we understand the problems of the industry and decided to create a tool to solve these problems.

And what kind of creators are your clients? What is their profile, type of content, etc.?

To describe our target audience we need to know their interests, the triggers for becoming aware of problems, who else they are looking at when shopping around, what their decision-making process is, what they have already spent, how they solve problems, how they seek out solutions, their barriers, doubts, obstacles, where we can find them, who they admire and what their needs, desires and goals are.

At SharpShark, we need people who are involved in creating high-quality content, promote ethical journalism, and have high traffic to their media as well as have influence and clout in the editorial community.

Our clients are:

Large B2B media outlets: newspapers and magazines with traffic of over 1 million per month that are looking for growth and renown.

B2B photo banks: stock image companies with a paid business model that suffer losses as a result of photo theft.

B2G: copyright societies and trade unions.

We can now work with text and image content. Our clients can upload other types of content, such as video, 3D, audio, etc. This is a great opportunity for our business to grow.

What business model do you offer them? How do they reach you?

We have an SaaS subscription business model with three plans: individual, company and corporate. We are currently focusing on the subscription model. To drive traction, we are running three partnership programmes.

How exactly does your algorithm work? What has your technological development been like?

Blockchain stores the timestamp and IPFS stores the content, ensuring the data remains the same. When saving the content, the system delivers a digital certificate, which becomes a digital proof of authorship.

If someone tries to save another author’s content, our AI will not allow it, as it performs a reverse search for the content on the Internet. If protected content is published without copyright, there will be an alert. We also resolve blockchain-backed copyright issues.

What are the most common legal and technical issues in copyright disputes? What impact does the creation of your company have on making these disappear?

The most difficult thing in intellectual property is to create a database of proof of authorship. Historically, this has been paper-based and validated by government bodies. It is costly, time-consuming and complex. Thanks to advanced technologies and modern laws, we can now reinvent evidence gathering in digital form. Applying blockchain technology to intellectual property makes the process 100 times cheaper and 100 times faster.

What is your new solution for marketplaces?

In marketplaces, the big problem is hijackers, i.e. sellers who steal images of genuine products. We mark original images from honest sellers so that they can trace non-legitimate use of their items.

What other innovations would you like to introduce? What other aspects are you working on that you can tell us about?

We are in test mode investigating the technical possibility of integrating video and audio plagiarism detection into our system.

Where are you in terms of turnover, investment and growth? What support have you had so far?

We won the Start-Up Chile programmes twice and raised a seed round from NEM Ventures. We now have turnover of around $10,000 a month.