Interview with Jean-Laurent Bonnafé, Director and Chief Executive Officer of BNP Paribas - by...
Twinpeek: a virtual twin to surf safely
Discover Twinpeek, a French start-up from the FinTech Accelerator by l’Atelier BNP Paribas. Its history? In 2014, Sam Guilaumé and his partner Cyrille Soubeyrat left Movea, a start-up they had just sold, and immediately dove in together on another project. Their new business aims to enable everyone online to create an anonymous “virtual twin” that maintains users’ complete anonymity and security on the web. Within the BNP Paribas FinTech accelerator, their concept matured and evolved upon confronting the realities of the banking world. Next step: fundraising and technical development of their idea!
Can you tell us how Twinpeek came about ?
A few years ago, Cyrille and I were working at Movea, a start-up that generated data about users and their physical activity. That’s when we realized just how little control we have over our own personal data, which is used in so many sneaky ways. Beyond the usual suspects like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple—who are at least up front about how they use data and even offer services in exchange—shadowy companies and consumers collect, analyze and sell our data, without offering us any value in return. Worse yet, they’re responsible for the onslaught of advertisements that can slow browsing to a snail’s pace. So, little by little, we came up with the idea of a “digital twin” to enable people to surf the web anonymously and securely. After selling Movea, we fine-tuned the “twin,” our namesake idea, and obtained a patent.
How did you decide to join the FinTech Accelerator by L'Atelier BNP Paribas?
When we mentioned our idea to our BNP Paribas advisor—where Movea did its banking—he suggested that we contact L’Atelier BNP Paribas. It was a pure stroke of luck for us! We applied for the first session of the FinTech Accelerator, and our idea was accepted.
But as soon as we arrived at the L’Atelier BNP Paribas Accelerator, we saw that our concept needed to evolve. At first, we had wanted to develop a service for individuals. But in order for a “virtual twin” to take full advantage of the web, it needs a credit card. And, obviously, banks can’t issue cards to people they don’t know! So Twinpeek pivoted to a “BtoBtoC” (Business to Business to Consumer) model. We now offer the service to banks, who in turn provide it to their customers. Since our first targets are customers with assets and a comfortable income, BNP Paribas Wealth Management sponsored us within the incubator.
What is the bank's role within the new concept?
The bank will create the virtual twin in a way that meets banking requirements, regulations and data sharing standards set by the revised Directive on Payment Services (PSD2). It will also store customer data in total security.
On the technical end, we realized that Blockchain—and the Distributed Ledger technology in particular—can resolve nearly every challenge faced when creating a “virtual twin,” ensuring anonymity and securing transactions. It was a new advance, and using this recognized and reliable technology only increased our credibility.
What did you gain from your time at the FinTech Accelerator?
We entered the Accelerator in hopes of learning more about banking and finance. But with the help and encouragement of the L’Atelier BNP Paribas facilitators, and thanks to meetings with experts from BNP Paribas Wealth Management, our idea evolved. We gained more maturity and learned to think in terms of “customer paths” in order to expand our offer.
The BNP Paribas employees we met with were fabulous, making themselves regularly available and sharing a wealth of knowledge. Our time at the Accelerator was more than beneficial, far exceeding anything we could have imagined.
the bnp paribas employees we met with were fabulous, making themselves regularly available and sharing a wealth of knowledge.
“our time at the accelerator was more than beneficial, far exceeding anything we could have imagined.”
Founder of Twinpeek
What is your plans moving forward?
There is still so much to do! By the end of 2016, we’re going to expand our first demo, and then develop a second one focused on Blockchain technologies. We’re preparing a fundraising campaign, and we expect to hire new people in the months ahead.
We were also contacted by the University of Lausanne, which created a chair for Digital Transformation in Banking. It has encouraged us to build a platform based on our concept: if the project comes to fruition, our solution will emerge as the standard… That would be yet another delightful surprise!
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