Nodle is a citizen-powered decentralized IoT network of Polkadot, providing secure, low-cost connectivity and data liquidity to billions of IoT devices. Anyone with a smartphone can earn crypto for free with the Nodle Cash app. Nodle is easy to use with no hardware to buy.
In this episode we sat down with Micha Benoliel, the CEO and Co-Founder of Nodle, to talk about the finer points of connecting what was never connected before in the world that is gearing to become hyperconnected. Micha has been a pioneer in VoIP and launched several telecommunications services in the past decade. Back in 2011, Micha co-founded Open Garden, the creator of FireChat, the first off-the-grid messaging app, leveraging peer-to-peer mesh networking.
Host: Oleg S. Koujikov
Guest: Micha Benoliel, co-founder and CEO of Nodle
Oleg: Hey everyone. You’re listening to Angelneers the podcast. Angelneers is a Silicon Valley community for startup builders where founders and operators share their first-hand knowledge on how to build and scale startups.
I’m your host, Oleg Koujikov, and our guest today is Micha Benoliel, the CEO and co-founder of Nodle, the decentralised IoT network providing secure low cost connectivity and data liquidity to billions of IoT devices. Micha has been a pioneer in VOIP and launched several telecommunications services in the past decade.
Back in 2011, Micha co-founded Open Garden, the creator of FireChat, the first off-the-grid messaging app leveraging peer-to-peer mesh networking. Today we’re talking with Micha about the finer points of connecting what was never connected before in the world that is gearing towards becoming hyper-connected. Before we get into that, Micha, welcome to the show.
Micha: Thank you alike for your introduction, and thank you for having me on your show today.
Oleg: We’re excited to have you. We’re excited to learn a little bit more about you so let’s get started. Let’s start with this. How did you get started in tech?
Micha: Wow, that was a long time ago. I was lucky that when I was seven or eight my father bought a house microcomputer, it was Zenith at the time. And when I was eight, I started to be really interested in these machines and I started to learn to program. So I started to code when I was eight and that’s how I got into tech.
Oleg: And tell me more about what you did between learning how to code and Nodle.
Micha: So I mean, a lot has happened since then. Maybe we can skip to when I basically started to build companies in the communications and the wireless space. So early on, in the beginning of 2000, I actually was running a small Voice Over IP telco. And I was lucky to meet with one of the co-founders of Skype when no telco wanted to work with Skype. And basically we were the first ones to open up communications for Skype. So it’s the service of skyping and Skype out that enables Skype users to place calls to mobile or landlines or actually to have a phone number ported on to the Skype network more recently.
So I would say, after that I moved to the US in 2011, founded the company called Open Garden where we built the technology of peer-to-peer mesh, and that was enabling at the very beginning of smartphones to share easily their mobile data with other phones or other devices. And that technology was really the base that enabled us to build a messaging app called FireChat that was originally built for Burning Man to enable people at Burning Man to exchange messages when there is no cellular network. And this app was a huge success. We got more than a million installs one week after the launch. It was used not only for Burning Man, but in many different events, more specifically disaster recovery situations and very surprisingly, also for good reasons for pro-democracy protests around the globe.
So for example, it is the app that all the students used in Hong Kong in 2014, September, October to organize the revolution, because they were afraid that the Chinese government would have shut down access to the internet. But in reality what happened is there were so many people in the street that all cellular networks were saturated, and there was no way to use any network so they used FireChat to exchange messages and coordinate themselves.
I was actually in India just before this happened, and I stopped in Hong Kong for a layover. And after 100,000 people installed the app over 24 hours I decided to stay and I spent 10 days in the city of Hong Kong during this crazy events and realized that everywhere I was going I could have notifications of FireChat users nearby and I was really, really blown away because it was a kind of new type of architecture, leveraging smartphones, that was working like we expected and live for hundreds of thousands of people at the same time.
So I was really blown away and they realized that we could use the same kind of architecture for building a network that could do much more than just move messages and that’s how the first idea was saved before another popped up. A couple of years later I left the company and in 2016, I built the first prototype for Nodle and decided in 2017, and more specifically after 2017, to be full-time at Nodle to build the network for connecting sensors and devices and really build a fully decentralized network.
Oleg: Continuing along that train of thought, can you give me the elevator pitch that you’d normally give for Nodle?
Micha: Yes, so Nodle is a decentralized network that’s built only using your smartphones. When you install the Nodle cash app on your phone, your phone becomes a node in the network and the base station. And any device in proximity, any sensor can use your smartphone as a way to relay information to the Internet, or to acquire information from the Internet. So it’s really a network built using people’s smartphones and people as an infrastructure.
Oleg: Talk about your vision at the company. What’s the vision at Nodle?
Micha: The vision is to connect the next Internet of Things. We believe that there are so many things that will be connected and that we are going to enter into what I call a hyper connected world. When you look at some usual statistics or surveys made about IoT you hear that we are reaching 30 billion devices or we are going to reach 50 billion devices. I actually believe that we are entering in a world where we’re going to have hundreds of billions of things and at some point a trillion things connected and that raises a lot of questions around privacy, questions around security, complexity, and of how to deploy this kind of infrastructure?
And that’s really where we are working with Nodle. We believe we have a solution and an architecture that can enable things to connect extremely simply with very little effort for businesses, for people. And we also believe that we have a solution to bring the right privacy, and also the right security model around connecting all these IoT devices and sensors.
Oleg: Oh yeah, I’m really excited to get into privacy and security, we definitely have questions for that. But let’s start with talking about the world of low power IoT devices and establishing what’s called a perimeter. What kind of devices are we talking about here and why is it important to have them connected?
Micha: So we use the Bluetooth interface and the latest standard called Bluetooth Low Energy and Bluetooth Low Energy is shipped on more than 50% of all manufacturers of the IoT devices. So for example it is the same Bluetooth that you use when you use your headphones or the same Bluetooth that you use when you connect your phone to wireless speaker and many appliances, cars, air quality sensors with a base stations, micro mobility devices, like a scooter for example, all these devices are using the interface of Bluetooth Low Energy or have the interface already in the device. So that’s one of the big, strong points about Nodle. Another is if you are a manufacturer, or if you are an operator of one of these devices, as long as your device uses the standard of Bluetooth Low Energy, you can easily join another network and use the network and that’s basically one of the very strong points for the whole network.
When it comes to connecting the next Internet of Things. I always like to mention that sentence from a famous book that you should read if you are, I mean if some of you who are listening are big fans of basically what the world is going to look like in the future in terms of networks and wireless. It’s called Trillions. And there is a famous sentence in that book from one of the authors. I think three authors of the book. They said basically that we’re going to have more microprocessors than we have bolts and nuts around us. And I think it’s really the case. I think every device that’s going to be built in the future will have its own wireless interface, microprocessor and wireless identity without the need to be connected all the time to the internet or just from time to time.
Oleg: Can you talk next about who benefits the most from having these IoT devices connected? Is it primarily governments and big companies or? Who benefits?
Micha: Well, there are multiple use cases. The first benefit is that it’s an easy one to explain this to consumers. So maybe I’m sure many of you have an iPhone. I’m sure some of you have bought the appropriate tag. And so that’s the kind of same I would say, distributed architecture that we are using for building this network. So when you have an apparel tag, and you put it on your keychain, or you put it in one of your bags, basically, any iPhone device in proximity is able to pick up the encrypted identity of that target and be able to report the location. And that’s how you can find your lost baggage or lost luggage, or if you left your key at home and you know you lost your keys at home, for example, for the car, you can discover that through the service.
And another is that service, but on steroids where we can not only serve the use case of locating items, but we can also move data. We can do that on a very big scale and we can do it for industrial use cases. For example, we have done tests at scale with logistic companies. Companies are also shipping a lot of and using a lot of shipping pallets. You have 6 billion shipping products a year that are out there. We are also doing tests with companies in the rapid courier space because these Bluetooth tags I mean actually are the ones we are working on. Now I want it to be as big as a sticker and even include the sensor so much smaller than what you have with the tag for example. And then the cost of these things is going to go down drastically, it’s going to be the set dollar and at some point hopefully, reach the cost of RFID. Except you can add sensors and accept that the data generated can be read by any smartphone and that’s the big plus of this network.
Oleg: Let’s move on to security. We said we wanted to talk about that primarily. Security is the kind of the first issue that comes to mind when you think about all these connected devices. It opens up the potential risk to have everything connected. Is a decentralized network better suited to handle risks and vulnerabilities like this than a centralized one?
Micha: A decentralized network means a lot of advantages. First, it brings more resiliency and because it is decentralized, it has less risk of getting the information hacked compared to a very centralized network. And what we do is with the network and the whole platform, we provide a way for devices to be authenticated. In verifying the identities of the devices remotely we provide a way to encrypt the data traffic from these devices. So, if you compare it to the web, where now every website has an HTTPS address instead of having an HTTP address, We basically provide the equivalent of HTTPS but for any devices and that also is running on the home network.
Oleg: How about Polkadot? What’s Polkadot and where does Nodle fit in?
Micha: So Polkadot is a blockchain and blockchain ecosystem, and we built this network the way we’ve managed to have millions of smartphones contributing is because we have an incentive mechanism. So when people participate in a network and have, for example, another cash app on their phone, they get paid every 30 minutes or less. For participating in the network and connecting devices. We gathered a lot of success. We reached almost 1.4 million transactions a day, but last year in May, we were running at a time on another chain, which was a Stellar, but we were really saturating the Stellar chain. We were doing more than 40% of the traffic on the chain. And so we knew we had to change or find another chain to be able to realize the use cases we wanted to build, but also that we would probably have, in the first case, to build our own chain.
So we chose the open-source of Polkadot to be off-chain and based on substrate. So we built the chain, migrated everyone. We have been running on a para chain since the month of June last year. And now the Polkadot ecosystem is opening up to have chains like ours to be able to become interoperable with other chains in the Polkadot ecosystem through a system that they call para chains. And the benefit of it is when we become a para chain, then not only we can be interoperable with other chains in the Polkadot ecosystem and also power chains, but also it brings more security to the network because the Polkadot network today has something around 18,000 nodes participating and validating transactions and that at any given time it is more than 200 nodes that basically validate the transactions.
So the Polkadot ecosystem is great for enabling security to partner chains or para chains. And it’s also great because of the open-source substrate and nebulous ability to customize the chain for the needs of the industry. And that’s a big, big, big differentiator. Compared to other systems like the Ethereum chain for example, which is more like “do it all” on one chain? And so that’s why we chose to build on the substrate and to join the Polkadot ecosystem.
Oleg: Can you talk about what key assumptions you have made as you built and designed how your system functions and how it works as a service? Like building on this Polkadot? It’s an assumption it’s going to be used by lots of folks. What kind of functional requirements are you thinking about? What are you kind of assuming when you build and design service?
Micha: First we assumed that the Polkadot model of having an ecosystem of multiple chains instead of having one main chain is probably the right way to go to get different industries to customize the chains to their needs. And also the right way to be able to build security and to have interoperability between these chains and have what we call in the Polkadot ecosystem called composability. Meaning that maybe as an app developer, we want to build a service using functionalities from one chain and often several chains change and the new debt service using the functionalities of these different chains. And that’s something that’s very well enabled through the polka dot ecosystem with the blockchains.
That being said, I think it’s an important point and you can tell me if you want me to actually dig into the rabbit hole there, it’s to become a para chain in the Polkadot ecosystem. You need to win the para chain auction to have a slot on the Polkadot ecosystem. And for that, you call the community to commit their tokens, the dot tokens to your project, and you win a slot against other projects with which you are competing.
Oleg: Yeah, dive into that. Is that like a random chance?
Micha: So we are actually going for a para chain slot. We announced that two weeks ago. Now I’m super excited. I think we have more than 6000 people now who’ve manifested interest and say they want to participate and we are going to let everyone come and participate and commit they have dots in a week from now. And if you’re interested, you can already enter information to be notified. The website is parachain.Nodle.com.
Oleg: Okay, that’s very exciting. Yeah, good luck. Let’s continue talking about Nodle and the kind of company built here. Tell us about the origin story. What kind of insights did you have that led you to start Nodle?
Micha: So like I said, the first idea popped up when I saw that this kind of distributed and decentralized architecture was working. I call that the smartphone infrastructure. And I really believe that that was the way to actually build the infrastructure because it can be deployed very fast. You are just using the software. It can enable the network for Bluetooth devices and sensors, which can become very, very useful for many use cases.
I mean, earlier I mentioned industrial and logistic use cases for the location of items, but you can build services for smart cities. You can build services for consumer electronic devices manufacturers, so there are really many applications. You can also build services for the financial industries because you can if you want to gather a lot of insights through that network. And so the goal is really to build an ecosystem where to build infrastructure, actually, people participate with their existing devices.
Today, it’s a smartphone. We already made a partnership with a company like Cisco to have that network run on their routers. We believe tomorrow it can because so why not have, for example, your Tesla car, becoming a node in the network and connecting to sensors and devices as you drive them, it’s going to pay for the energy you consume. So that’s really where we want to go. We started with Bluetooth low energy because it’s very simple because it’s a standard. And because more than 50% of all IoT devices already have. But we are testing today on cellular on the open serial spectrum like CBRS.
And so my co-founder Garrett, for example, when we call it shoulder on cellular, we use our own 4G network. And so we think that at some point we will bring this incentivization model to 4G and 5G base stations that will incentivize people to build the infrastructure, the similar infrastructure and be rewarded for it.
Oleg: It’s a really interesting vision with a lot of opportunities baked in.
Micha: Well, if I may and push the vision further, I would say that I believe that at some point, actually, it’s going to be your smartphone. I believe that at some point on your smartphone, you will be able to use more than Wi-Fi, more than white Bluetooth to actually relay information. I think at some point your smartphone may become a cellular base station, and you will be able to have communications with other smartphones around like maybe half a mile away without having to go through the centralized system without having to go through a cell tower. And I think that is very powerful. It means more resiliency in the network and it means more easy communications. It also means more free communication because then you rely only on a decentralized network built by the people.
Oleg: Yeah, it sounds amazing. Just a look behind the curtain, as we record this, we’re having some latency issues. So a second network is a stronger, more resilient network. It’s incredible. That being said, this is a big project you’re taking on and I’m sure you take that seriously. Are you a solo founder or a co-founder?
Micha: I am a co-founder. My co-founder. His name is Garrett Kinsman. So we have been building this network that we started back in 2017. I think we were probably just three people at a time. And now the company has almost 50 people working full time. So it’s super exciting to see the company growing. We went through all the stages you can imagine a startup can go through with the ups and downs.
And I would say since the beginning of this year, things are really booming. And the company is really becoming able to execute on its long-term vision and ambitious vision because it’s a pretty ambitious project. But I think we have the right team, the right caliber people who have been joining the team now to make this become a reality in the future.
Oleg: Really interesting. Can you talk more about who you founded the company with and what your backgrounds were? Because it seems like you’ve come from a really technical kind of hands-on builder background. I didn’t ask but I assume you were a developer at some point. Yeah. What’s your experience and the experience of your partners?
Micha: That was just coding. When I was a kid, as I mentioned earlier in my introduction, I quickly stopped coding. So I’m more like a visionary person and also am an entrepreneur many times, so I’m used to building companies and businesses. And I think my main talent is really in bringing the right people to make this idea become reality. And I think my main talent is to bring the right people together to execute an idea.
My co-founder is very knowledgeable in the space of hardware and wireless. After we had our first experience working together he went to India and worked for a company called Ola Cabs, which is the equivalent of Uber in India and he was responsible for building Ola Play, which is basically the stereo and media system that goes into every cab that delivers content to passengers in the car. And the amazing thing that he did there is that all these cars automatically became Wi-Fi hotspots. So it was one property of the largest distributed infrastructure for Wi-Fi using cars.
And so we have a pretty strong background also. And that’s how we’ve been basically building this vision of Nodle and building this giant network, then we have people in the team who are extremely good at blockchain. Our Chief Blockchain Officer, Elliot, was very, very young in the blockchain. I mean, I remember when he came to work with us in the US he just turned 21 years old.
And we have a very strong PhD in mesh networks. It’s really an amazing team. And like I said in the last year we have really brought and people came to us actually to work and to help us really build this network and make it a reality. Really, really great profiles of people.
Oleg: Yeah, I’m glad I asked. So next, let’s talk about the timing. You know, timing is key for startups. Why is now the right time for your company?
Micha: So there are many reasons for that. One is that before we didn’t have technologies of blockchain or even in cryptography, which was not as accessible as it is today. So I think the fact that you can build cryptocurrencies, build blockchain and decentralized networks, these technologies now have reached a certain maturity. You have more than 100 million users of crypto wallets. And using Blockchain, you can actually create a way to create a new sort of incentivization model. And that’s really possible today, and it was not possible before so because of that, we could have people starting to connect to sensors and devices, just because they want to do it to earn the token in the ecosystem. And that’s really something which is new, and it’s possible now, compared to what basically how people were using networks in the last 25 years.
So, it’s really, I think it’s something really new and you have some regulatory aspects and you have also just the standards in wireless that are just becoming better and better. So Bluetooth for example and Bluetooth Low Energy is a very good standard. It’s completely open. It’s easy to use. It is interoperable between Bluetooth Low Energy devices when they respect the standard. So that makes it very easy to interconnect devices. And then when it comes to regulation, more and more I think governments want to open up ways for making access easier for enterprise and people.
And you have more and more spectrum that before was only sold through auctions to telcos that is now becoming available and free to use. Like CBRS. And CBRs enables you to actually use technologies of 4G or 5G so you can have a base station today that’s going to enable you to connect a smartphone using cellular connectivity on 4G or 5G using the open spectrum of CBRS and that’s a big, big, big. Plus, it’s really new and I think it’s going to change a lot of how the infrastructure is built in the future.
And then another reason is more to the, I would say, the exponential acceleration of wireless technologies like technology like 5G but also miniaturization of the wireless interface. So today you can build really a sticker or the size of a sticker that basically has a wireless interface, has its own battery that can include even a solar power battery, that can include sensors, and it is becoming extremely, extremely small to the point that we were able to print the set. And so that’s also a big, big trend that I think makes it possible today and it’s been possible in the past and also why I think that we are entering the world with, yeah, with not 10s of millions but hundreds of billions of Internet of Things connected.
Oleg: It sounds like a lot of things are coming together. How about the Nodle native token? How does that fit in?
Micha: So another token was created originally to be able to incentivize the participation of people in the network. So we have created something which is called proof of connectivity, which is a proof of work. And if you are familiar with Bitcoin for example, proof of work in Bitcoin, if you want to own Bitcoin, you have to solve the equations that the system basically sends to the participants, and that’s how you can generate Bitcoin. If you’re lucky and have an in-house system, you generate a lot of cash by participating in a network and having your smartphone being a node, and moving data. The better the quality of the data you move, the more often you participate in, the more Nodle cash which you’re going to be generating through your smartphone activity and that’s the first purpose of the token ecosystem.
And also the token works like a credit. So if you compare that to telecom credit, if you are a business and you want to access some of the services on the network, either it’s just pure Internet access or if it is to use a service to locate items or devices. For the network, you will have to pay wisdom and cash tokens, and for any service that other developers will build on the network, people will have to use credit in another cash. So that’s how basically we are building this network. And making and bringing more and more utility for this token.
We also think that at some point, devices will automatically exchange services and then the token can be kind of waved away for these devices to pay each other for different kinds of services.
Oleg: Next, let’s look under the hood of your technology stack and what kind of important choices did you have to make early on?
Micha: So it’s a very interesting question. I think I touched a little bit on that before. So the most important choice we made lately is around the blockchain. And the decision was to actually decide to build our chain and for that, we also wanted to have the support of a community and we chose to build on the substrate which is open-source on which workout is built. And I think that was the right choice.
At the time we were hesitating between two ecosystems. So maybe we want to build on Cosmos, and finally, we really liked the vision of Web 3 Foundation and the Web 3 principles and the vision from Gavin Wood. So that’s why we decided to go for Polkadot and more specifically for substrate and to build on substrates. I was lucky that I actually met Vitalik and Gavin back in 2014. Because they were very interested in actually the messaging app that we built with Garrett, FireChart. And they wanted to know if I wanted to have them participate in Ethereum. It was really the only time when they really started to gather money and find co-founders to build Ethereum.
At the time I was pretty skeptical. And because I was wondering how they would actually be able to gather all these servers to validate transactions for the smart contracts and then I received a modified model, they introduced the principles of mining, which is also again, a way to incentivize people to maintain the value of nodes. And that’s also something that’s a possible chain and cryptocurrencies and so I always thought that Gavin was a big visionary in space and that’s why I think that what he was about to build was probably the right way to do things. We also believe that customizing your own chain for your industry is so important.
Oleg: Let’s talk about your customers next. Who are the primary users of Nodle?
Micha: So we run many tests and we have a few customers in the logistic space, mainly around the location of items. We had an interesting experience with the city of Paris. So they have very beautiful furniture which is public furniture for the city that goes into parks and they are 3d printed. And they realized quickly that some of these benches, for example, were going to be moved or stolen. They wanted to find a way to actually locate them. And also to get feedback from people who are using all the infrastructures in the city. So we did the first experiment with them. And so if your user has an app with SDK like an app of the city for example, if it comes in proximity to one of these benches, the person can be prompted with questions to answer. Like, do you like the park where you are, what would you improve, these kinds of things. But also locating the public infrastructure, and if it gets moved then any citizen with this app basically can locate where it is. So that was an interesting use case.
We did another one with a large consumer company in the US, that’s the importer of the Corona beer, Constellation Brands, and they wanted to locate commercial displays because they had very expensive commercial displays for their distribution network. And they wanted to know if these displays were getting used by the distributor so they used the network to figure out if these displays were actually staying still in warehouses or they were actually used to display the different beverages basically, they are selling to the consumers. So there was another interesting experiment we did.
Another one was a European railway for locating shipping pallets and packet packages in very large warehouses. And today, we have more like logistic companies using the network still very early. And one, for example, is using the network to look at packages and shipping pallets in airports. It is still in the early stages.
The focus of ours today is really still on growing the network. And once we have reached a certain size, then we start to actually accelerate on the implementation and of new applications, but we want both the community and developers to build on the network and also accelerate on having more and more enterprise and business partners to use the network.
Oleg: Definitely some interesting use cases there. But let’s continue by talking about the go-to-market. How do you reach these customers and let them know that Nodle is something they should be using?
Micha: So I would say the marketing of Nodle cash app, or the marketing of the SDK, which is the networking library that you can add to your mobile app. I mean, they are very different channels. The Nodle Cash App begets more marketers through the community. So we have a very important committee on Telegram. It’s telegram.me/Nodlecommunity. You can join anytime. We have a big community on Discord. We have a good following on Twitter now. So a lot of the growth for the app is going through the community. We have a referral program that’s going to be out actually pretty soon. When you bring your friends to the app, then you also get rewarded with more Nodlee cash.
For the SDK, for app developers, it’s a different channel. We reached out to certain categories of mobile applications and mobile application developers. And we tried to make sure that basically, they want to have a model and earn revenues, which is different from just pure advertising. And that’s what we offer them. We offer them a model so they can monetize their presence on smartphones without having to sell your data, without having to show ads to users and that accounts for the big power actually of our network today.
Oleg: How about you? You mentioned other people generating revenue, how does Nodlee generate revenue?
Micha: So Nodle is the inventor and creator of that network. So how’s the company? The whole goal is, we need to get to the point where this network is fully decentralized and operating by itself and in the same way Bitcoin is operating today. And we want to let our developers and engineering companies build their services, and also generate revenue from that. The model is based on the fact that at some point, developers build apps, sell the services from these apps to businesses and enterprises or consumers, and the revenue generated from these services, share of it goes back to the community of people building the network. So people like you and me, for example, it’s another cash app, and a very small, tiny share of when you will get back to the inventor and creator of the network.
So basically, Noodle. And then the rest goes back to the app developer or the company that basically has created the service on top of the network. So the whole role is really to evangelize this network, show people what can be built on the network and make sure that the network grows basically at the right pace to have more and more people joining this fantastic ecosystem.
Oleg: Okay, that makes sense. Let’s move to the end of the interview. What’s one thing about Nodlee that makes you stand out from the crowd?
Micha: So I think first, I’m really in love with my team. I think Nodlee has assembled a team of amazing talents and amazing people who are contributing every day. And I think Nodlee is actually a very important project. Because wireless connectivity is really really key when it comes to exchanging information to accessing information. To guarantee freedom of speech, sometimes when you have a network and that’s the kind of thing where basically it can become very important.
And then also, how can we make sure that we enter in the future because we’re going to have a billion things connected, basically the solutions to enable all these things to connect, guarantee people’s privacy, and make sure that things are secure. And ultimately, we guarantee that maybe some of that access for consumers will be completely free because I think that’s how you can actually bring more and more people to access the internet is a key thing.
And even today, you still have parts of the globe where it’s still hard to access information to access the internet. So I think that’s why another is so important is if you don’t get classifying the different projects, you know, there is really a network. So it’s like layer zero. You have the blockchain on layer one. And then we want to let app developers build all the applications on top of it to use that network. And, yeah, I think what we do is really fundamental and essential for the future to reality, better privacy, better security, and more resilient access to the internet for things and at some point for people. So I think that’s why Nodlee is so important and so different from many other projects in the space.
Oleg: Micha, you are an experienced founder and entrepreneur that comes with a lot of well, it’s like an emotional roller coaster at times, right? Can you tell me just as a founder and an entrepreneur, what was a moment of great joy for you, and what was a moment like? Maybe not depression, but what’s your highest high and your lowest low to this point?
Micha: Well, that’s a very good question. Very good question. I am going to say something which is very important if you want to become an entrepreneur. I mean, it goes beyond believing in something. It’s really about faith. You really have to have faith in what you do and what you’re building, and your vision because if you don’t have that faith, then it’s going to be very hard to go through the laurels as you explained.
I remember the people in my team where they say. Last year was very hard for us, these are basically partners who are half my age. I mean, I’ve been an entrepreneur for some time now. They say, Micha, it’s too painful. We cannot go through that and have to stop. And I was telling them, you know, just stay still and wait. Something is gonna happen. Something is gonna happen. And if you look at what I say being rational at the moment when I said it, there was no rational reason to explain that. I just had faith. And I had that many times in my past businesses, and I think it’s a very, very important quality for a founder.
And if you’re an entrepreneur, if you want to build a company, they’re high highs and the biggest moment of joy personally enjoyed in the past was a rollercoaster, even if you go through difficult moments because I like to battle and like big challenges, but the good moments of joy. I mean, I had many already and I can just name a few everything the first time we shipped up on the first blockchain phone, which was the HTC and the app got shipped, pre-installed on the phone. I think that it was a very happy moment. Because it was kind of a recognition of the whole project in the industry.
The moment when you realize that the community, not only you and your team, basically is really believing in what you do and want to support you. It is also a fantastic moment and brings great joy and then it’s, I mean, I have joy all the time now and by just interacting with my team and making things happen, I’m able to execute better. And seeing that early ideas which are just an idea are turning into something that’s working and can actually generate money is also joyful. And I think we are at the very beginning. So I don’t want to get too excited too fast. And, and, and we are just at the beginning of the journey there.
Oleg: That was the great answer. I think that it’ll speak to a lot of folks. In addition to Nodle, you’re also a co-founder of the Coalition Network and you’re an entrepreneur-in-residence at Bootstrap Labs. Can you say a couple words about these organizations and what they mean to you?
Micha: Yes, so the Coalition Network actually, is a nonprofit that we created last year to help during COVID and we use our knowledge in networking to build a privacy-first contact tracing protocol. It ended up being the type of architecture that Apple and Google decided to implement for their own solution for contact tracing, which is now called explosion notifications. And it was more like a contribution to try to help because we saw a lot of governments building systems that were not that private. And then we wanted to bring a solution that could enable and improve people’s privacy in the context of contact tracing. So there was more to do good, and we mainly worked on this last year.
Bootstrap Labs is a venture firm that is focused on projects around artificial intelligence. I have some knowledge of that space. I also believe that we’re going to start using more and more artificial intelligence in our own space with Nodle. And so they had the right expertise in the space of telecommunications and wireless and communications to actually advise on some of the projects they have been investing in. And they are also among the people who supported us with Nodle. So that’s my involvement with Bootstrap labs.
Oleg: Right. Awesome. And before we get out of here, what’s the best way for our listeners who want to reach you and learn more about Nodlee? What’s the best way for them to do that?
Micha: So the best way is, I would say to start to learn about us is to install a mobile app, a Nodlee cash app. I think if you go to https://www.Nodle.com/products/cash_app, you can directly download the app. Our website is https://www.Nodle.com/. And the best thing is just to go to my profile on LinkedIn or on one of my social media, and just reach out to me if you want to, if you have questions, always happy to answer those questions from engineers and people who want to build companies or have ideas to help I mean, I actually try to try to bring more of what I have learned over the years and then share without numbers other people if you can be helpful. Also, I’m also open to making introductions. I have a pretty good network today and I can help you.
And maybe the last thing I can tell you about Nodle, is the name, actually, the stealth name was a Noodle, with two o’s. And we settled on Network Operator of Device Low Energy. That’s basically the origin of the name.
Oleg: I used to ask that question on most of my shows, stuff, but it’s a great answer. So I kind of wish I had. Thank you for sharing. What we’re gonna end the podcast here. If you liked our show, please subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts and leave us a rating. Micha, thank you for joining the show. We appreciate your expertise, your time, and your insights and would love to get you back on here someday.
Micha: Thank you for having me on your show.