Sempo & Its Founders: Nick Williams and Tristan Cole
Sempo is on a mission to get aid to people affected by disasters anywhere in the world as quickly as possible. To do this, founders Nick Williams and Tristan Cole are creating a way that delivers money to those that need it most. Sempo identifies the people who should receive this money and ensures they receive it seamlessly, all from one single platform. Originally, the two founders named their company “Sugihara”, in honour of Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat during WW2. Sugihara was a man responsible for saving the lives of thousands of families who would otherwise have been persecuted during the war. Co-founder Nick met a family who survived thanks to the efforts of Sugihara. When asked what they thought about naming the company in Sugihara’s honor, the family thought it was a great idea. However, the two founders soon discovered people had trouble pronouncing the name of their company. Not long after, they updated it to Sempo, the nickname Sugihara asked people to call him throughout his life. Earlier this year, Sempo became one of four startups accepted into the dLab/EMURGO startup accelerator program.
Tristan, age 20, and Nick, aged 27, have led interesting lives. Nick has a degree in Aerospace Engineering, while Tristan is a self-taught software developer and entrepreneur. Other than flying in and out of Nashville for a project he worked on, this is the first big leap into the U.S. for co-founder Nick. Nick was even once invited to meet the Queen of England, but unfortunately due to some last minute circumstances, was unable to meet her. Tristan has a history of entrepreneurship, and was able to fund his pilot’s license at age 16 from his business successes. In his spare time, Tristan enjoys flying, running and eating tomato pasta sauce straight from the jar. If he could sum up his time as an entrepreneur so far, Nick would summarize it as “chaotic”. For Tristan, the word would be “relentless”.
Sempo and dLab/EMURGO
Nick and Tristan were recommended to apply for the dLab/EMURGO accelerator program by a contact in a New York based NGO. Following a successful application, Sempo became one of four companies accepted into the startup accelerator program. For Nick and Tristan, New York is the perfect U.S. base. The city is home to some of the world’s largest NGOs, it’s close to Washington and has the right cultural fit for the company. According to the founders, cultural fit plays a big role in the growth of a company. The team are also extremely excited about the benefits that being part of the dLab/EMURGO startup accelerator program will bring. Firstly, through the extensive network with SOSV & Cardano, the dLab/EMURGO program can provide expert guidance and advice around blockchain technology, and what Sempo should be doing on a protocol level. Since EMURGO is uniquely affiliated with Cardano and engages in tailored systems development, testing the technology will also be made much easier with a team of blockchain experts for support. Secondly, working with dLab/EMURGO provides a key advantage for global expansion. The two founders do most of their business with Australia and the Pacific Region. The U.S. is of key importance for Sempo, especially with its large NGO presence.
Sempo: Blockchain for Aid Distribution
Sempo uses blockchain technology to get aid to people who need it the most. To do this, Sempo is developing blockchain based e-vouchers. These e-vouchers can be spent by those affected by disasters on products in local stores. Participating stores are then reimbursed by Sempo for accepting the vouchers. Many citizens in relief zones do not have bank accounts. As they often live in cash-based economies, it’s difficult to distribute small amount of financial aid at a large scale. To overcome this, Sempo have developed an app that people can download to receive their e-vouchers. All transactions are recorded on the blockchain. These blockchain based transfers improve transparency and minimize the chances of fraud among beneficiaries and merchants.
Sempo is developing an innovative platform for delivering financial aid, a great potential use case for blockchain. Using blockchain technology, this innovative solution will provide a cheap, fast & traceable platform for distributing relief at scale. As a startup in the dLab/EMURGO accelerator program, Sempo will receive expert support, advice and coaching from world-class blockchain experts, like Nicolas Arqueros, EMURGO’s Chief Technology Officer, and Sebastien Guillemot, EMURGO’s Lead R&D Engineer. As the official commercial partner of Cardano, EMURGO is uniquely positioned to leverage its expertise in blockchain to offer advisory services and investment & acceleration to up and coming startups and/or existing enterprises. If you have a project that requires support and advice in how best to leverage blockchain technology, be sure to reach out to EMURGO and get in contact with us today to see how EMURGO can help your business!
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