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Amy Seidman Interview Transcript


 

Adam Chapnick:

Hey everybody, me again, Adam Chapnick with Security Token Academy. I'm here with a very special guest, Amy Seidman, the CEO and founder of BFlow. Thanks for being here.

Amy Seidman:

Thanks Adam, it's great to be here.

Adam Chapnick:

Cool, so tell us, what is BFlow?

Amy Seidman:

BFlow is about creating accountability and metrics reporting and validation of sustainability claims. So investment corporations, all have a basis for how they manage their investments or purchases. And many of them claim to do wonderful things for the planet or to be investing in companies that are sustainable.

How do we know that that's true? So BFlow is about creating that transparency and that map around it.

Adam Chapnick:

Interesting. Does that have anything to do with BFlow Corps? Is it similarly inspired?

Amy Seidman:

Absolutely. So we-

Adam Chapnick:

What is the B? I never actually ... I don't know.

Amy Seidman:

Benefit.

Adam Chapnick:

Benefit, cool. Benefit.

Amy Seidman:

So we're a public benefit corporation.

Adam Chapnick:

Love it.

Amy Seidman:

Parent company is Noble Profit, which is a public benefit corporation, and BFlow is pretty much the guts of what we're building behind Noble Profit. And it's funny because the least glamorous aspects of what we were doing became the most powerful driver for change.

Adam Chapnick:

And that's the verification component, you mean?

Amy Seidman:

Yeah, it's the technology behind it.

Adam Chapnick:

Okay, what is that technology?

Amy Seidman:

The technology is about how can we create that transparency in metrics recording and tracking? And we're starting with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Because we see that as a common language that can be used to cross many industries. And sustainability metrics is very complicated.

You have maybe 300 different kinds of reporting type of metrics with different frameworks.

Adam Chapnick:

Wow.

Amy Seidman:

And when you're looking from a data perspective that's very complicated. And when you also look it's really hard to understand some of the more important aspects of how the effects are. Because you could have a company that looks really great from a carbons perspective, but they might not care about their customers, they might not care about their supply chain.

So there's a lot of ways that we can embed those kinds of discovery into the metrics around that.

Adam Chapnick:

Fascinating. Okay, so who's your customer? Who's gonna hire you? Is it the companies? Or is it us? How does that work?

Amy Seidman:

Yes. Actually it's a B to B project, so corporations-

Adam Chapnick:

Okay.

Amy Seidman:

That are reporting within sustainability annual reports, and then investment banks, mutual funds, groups that are putting together collections of these companies, or making investments and claiming that they have an impact fund, or a sustainability fund. They have investors that want to ensure that their money is going into things that help the world, or don't harm the world, such as bombs, or tobacco, or weapons.

Adam Chapnick:

Yeah. Sure, it's so-

Amy Seidman:

Other forms. Petroleum.

Adam Chapnick:

Is there a way to ... In your roadmap I guess, is there a way to quantify good that people are doing? Are we gonna see a ranking of companies doing the most good using your 300 metrics for sustainability or benefit? Is that possible?

Amy Seidman:

First of all, we may not tackle 300-

Adam Chapnick:

Oh, okay.

Amy Seidman:

I mean that's a massive endeavor, and so the first thing we're doing is the UNSDGs as I had mentioned.

Adam Chapnick:

Yeah.

Amy Seidman:

And then figuring out how we can incorporate these other metrics within that framework.

Adam Chapnick:

Got it.

Amy Seidman:

And yes, we will be able to have a map that, say in investment firm, if they use our product will eventually, in our intention, this is our vision of what we're developing, would be to enable them to give their investors some kind of report of who the companies are and what they're doing. In terms of rating the level, that starts to get into the granular aspect of the quantification.

Adam Chapnick:

Yeah, right.

Amy Seidman:

And in some cases there is that metrics, but in the case that say volunteer engagement, or education, those are very fuzzy metrics, so it may come down to how many people they're reaching. Or how many times they're engaging, so in the case of one of our partners is called Causecast, and Causecast tracks volunteer engagement. So major corporations hire them to help their millions of employees go and do volunteer engagements. How do you report that?

And similarly, on the other end, you have the United Nations, where it's very hard for them to see these metrics because they're all buried in annual reports and PDFs on the web. So our goal is to create a mechanism to help bring that to the surface. And there's other aspects I can explain to you.

Adam Chapnick:

I love it. So how is it Blockchain enabled? Where does Blockchain come in? Or does it?

Amy Seidman:

Well, it does. And we're advocates for not using Blockchain for every single thing. It's really about using it for what is appropriate.

Adam Chapnick:

Okay.

Amy Seidman:

So the Blockchain will come in from the final reporting aspect of the metric because it is immutable. It creates a potential for transparency, and then there are aspects that are private because there's a lot of information that companies or investment firms might not want to share that is required for doing this validation.

But eventually the metrics is something that they want to be using in their promotion for their customers and their employees to know that it's a good company. And similarly for their investors to know that they're the kind of investment that they want to have their money in.

So the Blockchain provides that mechanism because it's ... You can't hack it, you can't change those records.

Adam Chapnick:

Right.

Amy Seidman:

And then we have a third party validator network that we're developing, which we're looking at other technologies around and that's also the final result will be on the Blockchain. So you'll be able to see this summary.

Adam Chapnick:

Is the third party validation a community that's getting rewarded? Is that sort the Blockchain functionality? Like at token, do you have a token involved?

Amy Seidman:

We do have a token, and the token and the token is really about ... We're less about creating a money, you know we're not creating money. We're creating technology. And so when you start to look at some of the models that people are putting together, in some cases we feel that it wouldn't be ethical to be rewarding people for, say complaints within the system, or certain aspects, but when you start looking at a PWC or Gold Standard, which are auditors and certifiers and validaters of these kinds of claims their third parties that corporations may hire to help create more of a consensus about what they're doing that is more acceptable than them just saying we're doing this.

Adam Chapnick:

Right.

Amy Seidman:

In an audit for PWC they're looking at the carbon metrics. So those groups have fees. So we're really gonna pass the fees through, we have different ways that we're designing this depending on who that validator is.

Adam Chapnick:

Interesting. So do you have any ... What stage are you in launch? Are you active? Are you prelaunch? Where are you?

Amy Seidman:

We have about six or seven use cases that we're modeling. We're in a place of development, we haven't fully designed the technology. Many Blockchain companies are in very early stages-

Adam Chapnick:

Yeah.

Amy Seidman:

So we're kind of in that camp. And we have an amazing team of people that we're working with and the use cases range from indigenous clothing, and their nuclear family business of organic farmers and artisans in Peru or other countries, to Causecast, which is doing volunteer engagement. And we have another group Bay Area Green Tours that gives educational tours to major corporations LinkedIn is one of their customers.

So we're kind of looking at how can we really study these different types of metrics because it's very different. You have a change of state, versus a transaction.

Adam Chapnick:

Right. Fascinating.

Amy Seidman:

Yeah.

Adam Chapnick:

So where, let's say, 1 months from now, do you hope to be making a difference?

Amy Seidman:

Oh absolutely. We will be in the market 18 months from now, and helping to facilitate this process. That's our intention.

Adam Chapnick:

Are there any particular areas that you're hoping that you can make a different with? Like in terms of communities that you want to serve? Or people that need the help from a verification process like this?

Amy Seidman:

Absolutely, I mean, we're obviously really interested in insuring that the flow of money goes to things that help the world, or don't harm the world. And so I think by creating a transparency map we can help influence that flow of money from the high level standpoint, and from the base of where did these goods come from? Does your shirt have slavery? Is the coco you're drinking made with organic coco?

Adam Chapnick:

Right.

Amy Seidman:

And similarly have child slavery or something within that? We hope that we're gonna empower those stakeholders that are on the ground. The makers, and the artisans to be having a more fair opportunity in the world. And similarly we have different aspects of what we're developing from a technical standpoint that is very peer to peer oriented that will empower entrepreneurs. And there's one other piece if-

Adam Chapnick:

Yeah, please.

Amy Seidman:

Okay. Within this system we want to enable non profits and individuals to be able to report complaints, and then to show how those complaints are cured. So you might have a woman in the Amazon whose drinking water is being polluted by a pipe burst from an oil pipeline.

Adam Chapnick:

Sure, right.

Amy Seidman:

And nobody's gonna know about it, but this Amazonian woman might be able to go and make that report and let the world know, hey, this needs to be taken care of, and then the company that is responsible can then cure this type of ... Solve this problem.

Adam Chapnick:

Wow, from your lips to God's ears as we like to say here.

Amy Seidman:

We hope so, and we're not the only one who's solving this. We're a member of the Climate Chain Coalition, which is the UNFCCC Partnership Organization around how can we use the Blockchain to help solve these major issues within the world?

Adam Chapnick:

Well thank you so much for taking time to tell us all about what you're up to. We wish you all the best.

Amy Seidman:

Thank you so much for having me.

Adam Chapnick:

Sure.

Amy Seidman:

It's great to be here.