Interview with Alon Cohen, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of BitWine
TechAddress: Tell me a bit about your company, what it does and what’s your value proposition?
BitWine: BitWine is creating an Internet based service that enables individuals, in real time, to Search, Buy, and Sell services. BitWine’s service is creating a trusted environment where services are rendered using high quality video, audio and file transfer capabilities. The Company is marrying Skype™’s VoIP and PayPal™ payments, to achieve market leadership.
TechAddress: What makes your company stand apart from your competitors? What are some of the main features?
BitWine: We are Skype’s partner and the BitWine software component is scheduled to be delivered with Skype software beginning with Skype v3.0 (which is scheduled to be released later this month). This will help us get wide exposure, and bring large numbers of users to the BitWine Network.
- BitWine creates instant trust between buyers and sellers
- Buyer can see & hear the seller
- Buyer does not prepay
- Buyer only pays if he likes what he hears and sees
- Seller sees & hears the buyer
- Seller knows that payment will happen if service will be delivered
- Seller gets paid instantly after the call
- Rich Media
- Sophisticated feedbacks and ranking system
- Time management for scheduling appointments
Privacy – calls are private, using Skype Peer to Peer secured communication; we do not record chats or calls and they do not even pass through our system. It is all between the Client and the Advisor.
The above combination of features is not available with any competitor.
TechAddress: Who’s your target customer or audience?
BitWine: We have to look at Advisors and Clients separately.
Client profile is every internet user (above 13) with a problem on his hands that needs one or more of the following:
- Fast response, where time is money.
- A good answer can save the client money (or DMV Points…).
- The question is hard to define in words without actually talking to the expert.
- Client needs to be sure and needs to know the Advisor’s personality and experience.
- Video and Rich media is required – Like in tutoring, or when visual demos are required.
- Answer is hard to explain in text or words alone.
- Client has no patience to research the topic and rather want to just ask someone.
- Where emotions and sensitivity are required.
The Advisor’s profile is a different story:
Advisor can be anyone who has a certain expertise in a certain topic. We have lawyers, doctors, etc, but also psychics, tutors, IT people, and movie critics. We let the community decide which will be the popular categories.
TechAddress: Any new things in particular that you’re working on right now?
BitWine: We are adding video based profiles so advisors can promote themselves better to clients. We are adding more payment options to support more geographical territories around the globe. We are expanding our servers to cope with the rapid growth of traffic the site sustains.
TechAddress: Where do you see your company heading in the future?
BitWine: I hope we can build a strong community that not only helps people find another revenue source and quick solution to problems, but also where people that want to help less fortunate individuals can come and make themselves available to their respective communities for support and helping advice.
TechAddress: Any negative feedback or criticism regarding technology and services?
BitWine: Some people are skeptic whether people will pay for services when they can get it all for free on the internet. I can tell you that I think those people are fortunate in that they either do not have problems that they cannot solve or they are quick learners.
I know that I will not ask my kid to learn Math by reading the material on the Internet. Like many others I will pay tutors if I have to, and so do many others. Not everything can be researched for free in reasonable time.
TechAddress: So what would you say is the guiding principle behind your company?
BitWine: Keep it fair for both Clients and Advisors. If in conflict, the Client is always right. Keep it simple.
TechAddress: What is the mission of your company and what are you bringing to the market that is innovative?
BitWine: We are the first to bring a community of Advisors and Knowledge Seekers together via VOIP and Video communications using direct communications, with no barriers. We have a patented metering system to support fair payment between the parties. We are the first to successfully mesh-up PayPal and Skype technologies together.
TechAddress: Where are you in terms of funding and your lifecycle?
BitWine: As a private company with even more private investors, I cannot disclose that, but I can say that our Investors are fully committed and have what it takes to help us move forward.
TechAddress: If your technology or service is not formally launched yet, when’s the launch date? If you have already launched, when was your launch date?
BitWine: Elad, my Co-Founder, and I and our leading developers are very cautious people; we prefer the slow and safe launch, specifically where money is involved. We have not officially lunched the site, even though we handled major traffic peaks after the TechCrunch article from Natali Del Conte. Our official launch will be synchronized to the official Skype 3.0 launch schedule, which as you know includes BitWine as part of its menu options.
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