In the world of social media for business professionals, LinkedIn is as close to a monopoly as we have seen in the space. With millions of global users, the overall user satisfaction of the platform has been masked by a deepening concern for privacy, data protection, and overall usability.

With the emergence of blockchain technology has come emerging technologies that aim to solve some of these issues. One of these startups, MBYS, is tackling the professional networking space with a new decentralized application that will give users complete privacy and the option to sell their professional data directly to companies. This complete control of data, privacy, and additional benefits around trusted connections makes MBYS a company worth watching.

To learn more, we picked the brain of MBYS’s CEO, Omar Zaki, a Yale graduate with an impressive history in hedge funds and blockchain technology.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get started in blockchain?

I got involved in the space in 2013 and began buying BTC, IOTA, ETH, and several other cryptocurrencies, while I was running a biotech hedge fund. Eventually, I saw many parallels in the biotech IPO space and the products that were emerging in the blockchain arena and decided to make the jump. I started an advisory group called BitTransfer, that worked on several token sales – doing everything from building out technical plans of action, to whitepaper writing, to smart contract audits. After some experience with that, my colleagues and I decided to go down that path.

2. What was your inspiration behind MBYS? How did it all start?

This all started when several of us were in college – and began the crazy recruiting process for investment banking and consulting. We were all collecting so many cards, but slowly it all became too overwhelming – keeping up with all the connections, and all the events. We all hoped to have an app that would make all of this easier. And as a I got more interested in blockchain – I realized that by doing so, we could also solve the validation and unrequested data sales problem.

3. What is your competitive advantage?

Our competitive advantage is that our team has an extensive amount of experience in networking, job searching, and comes from universities that are all amenable to altering the current state of the recruiting process. This gives us ample ground for a strong initial launch and an intuitive understanding of the workings of an application that people would actually use for the problem we seek to solve.

4. What is the biggest problem currently in the market?

First of all, aside from the data sovereignty issue, most of the issue is that LinkedIn’s mobile application is simply unusable. When have you actually used LinkedIn mobile for anything other than accepting a request from somebody random, or responding to a random DM? It doesn’t allow you to organize your connections, doesn’t periodically remind you of who is in there, doesn’t allow you to aggregate all potential opportunities and submit information easily, and doesn’t send you information about events that are occurring of interest nearby. Worst of all, while it is a social network, and there are useful components of that, there are so many people you meet on LinkedIn that you simply don’t know. How does that help you get jobs, maintain your network, and continue to think of ways to work with people you have recently met?

And then there’s the data issue – LinkedIn has been found to make $10,000 per profile per year in data sales – to 3rd parties you simply will never meet.

5. What does 2018 have in store for you guys?

We are signing several third-party clients, building out the broader community, having users download the platform, and beginning a roadshow both for attracting third-party clients, as well as finding blockchain talent to serve as our initial niche. We are currently closing our seed round, and once that’s completed, we will begin a heavy marketing campaign with Jared Polites as our advisor, run an airdrop to have people download the platform, and then begin a roadshow where we will begin by targeting blockchain companies that want blockchain talent.Opinions expressed here are the opinions of the author. Influencive does not endrose or review brands mentioned.

David is a professionally accredited leadership and marketing coach who works with young founders and early stage teams to help them navigate through emerging marketing opportunities with a current focus on artificial intelligence and virtual reality. Using the identification of new technological innovations that give way to different paths that can effectively reach customers, David is able to make marketing departments more effective, adaptable, and progressive.