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Killi CEO Neil Sweeney has a radical idea: Compensate consumers fairly for their data

By creating a profile via the group's website or mobile application, users can make money by giving Killi access to their information, which it, in turn, sells to other companies

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Killi has a site called uaretheproduct.io where users can select the platforms they subscribe to, and it will reveal how much their data is being sold for

Killi Ltd. (CVE:MYID) (OTCQB:MYIDF) is trying to change the relationship between consumers and their data. The New York City-based company is doing something unusual in the tech world: paying consumers for their information. 

By creating a profile via the group's website or mobile application, users can make money by giving Killi access to their information, which it, in turn, sells to other companies. From there, the company pays out a data dividend every week.

Leading the consumer compensation charge is CEO Neil Sweeney, who says that Killi is working to create what it calls a consented data profile for every American over the age of 16. 

Proactive Investors caught up with him  to talk about how it all works.

Tell us about how Killi got started

Neil Sweeney (NS): I've been working in data for quite some time. My last company was called Freckle, which Killi was incubated inside of, and we were ingesting 150 billion pieces of location data a month.

What became clear to me was that there was this disparity between what consumers would be willing to do and what was actually happening with their data. Most people don't want to share location data, yet location data is being collected in the background via various different applications. 

Secondly, the notion of compensation for data is completely out of whack. The cost for location data today is less than a penny per month per individual. Again, consumers don’t want to share location data, and if they did, they'd want to be compensated to the tune of anywhere from $1 to $10 a month.

It's an absolute ticking time bomb, and if the consumers get wise to what's being collected on them, it's going to blow up. With that in mind, we started working to create an ecosystem of inclusion to allow consumers to have transparency and compensation.

How do people find out how much their data is worth?

NS: You don't have to figure it out because it's already being sold. When you plug in, there's breadcrumbs from social media, credit card purchases, charitable donations, web browsing, smart speakers, you name it. If you go into the biggest platforms in the world, like Oracle and others, it's basically a menu.

What's happening is people are buying and selling data, but they're not including the person who actually owns the data. If you found out your next-door neighbor had been taking $40 out of your wallet every quarter for the last 10 years, which is what Facebook has been doing, you'd probably go over there and knock on the door. By including the consumer, we think that the pricing is going to fundamentally change. 

We have a site called uaretheproduct.io where you can select the different platforms that you subscribe to, and it will tell you how much your data is being sold for. It's anywhere from $500 a month to $6,000 or $8,000 a year, and that's without you being involved. With you involved, it's going to go up. 

What are you doing to bridge that gap?

NS: Well, there tends to be this romantic notion that you as a consumer should control all your data. That's impossible — data is just too vast and too thorny. Doing so would require you to unplug and unsubscribe from everything and walk around basically wearing a tinfoil hat.

So let's acknowledge that that's not an option. But then let's also acknowledge that the idea that platforms should have an open-ended license on your data is also bonkers. 

New privacy regulations like the California Privacy Right (CPRA) act are beginning to force the inclusion of the consumer into the conversation. We think that is going to remove a lot of non-compliant data, which is going to mean an increase in price. And then we're going to add the consumer, which is going to increase pricing even more. 

The privacy legislation is forcing people that use data to make sure that there's consent. That means everybody who has bought data over the last 20 years, is now going through an identity crisis — that's an unintended pun but it's real. 

What is Killi doing to include the consumer?

NS: There's a profile on every single consumer in the world, and what we're trying to do is take that data and put it underneath their control by giving everyone a Killi username and password. What they do with it from there is up to them.

We are adding more than 800,000 new accounts to our Killi ecosystem every week, and we're trying to put a consented profile under every single American over the age of 16 next year. Every single person over the age of 16 can be a Killi client because everyone that age is already having their data bought and sold.

One of the big things that we've done is we've introduced the Killi paycheck, which is actually paying Americans every single week for the use of their data. Users can make anywhere from $1- $12 a month inside of this platform by doing very little. 

There is no real consumer brand associated with data, and I think part of the problem is that you can’t hold onto data, you can’t see it. We're trying to build a brand that is synonymous with consumer data, the way that Warby Parker is synonymous with eyeglasses or Uber with ride-sharing. 

We think our platform, which provides compensation and then a very subtle, inevitable education around data is the way to do it. It’s hard, but that's what we're working on.

If we get it right, all of the money and market share will move from these data brokers and management platforms that don't include the consumer to us, which we think is a multi-billion- dollar opportunity. It’s the market cap of SAP, Salesforce, Oracle, LiveRamp and 100 others rolled into one.

So a massive market opportunity?

NS: Yeah, no pressure, right? But over the last few quarters, we’re popping.

We spent the majority of 2020 building the technology. In January, what you can expect is we're gonna start to increase consumer awareness around the product. Killi is in five countries now, and we're looking to expand to 10.

There's just no way that if you fast forward five years from now that things are going to be the same.

Contact Andrew Kessel at andrew.kessel@proactiveinvestors.com

Follow him on Twitter @andrew_kessel

Quick facts: Killi Ltd

Price: 0.135 CAD

TSX-V:MYID
Market: TSX-V
Market Cap: $40.64 m
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