Approximately 1.2 billion people in the world live without proper identification – preventing them from accessing basic services such as healthcare, jobs, housing, and bank accounts.
Based in the Hague, the startup Tykn is developing a blockchain-based digital identity management platform to verify the identities of the ‘invisible people’ worldwide who have never had an ID, or who have lost their identification due to negligent government administration, wars, or disasters.
Founded in 2016, Tykn has now received an investment of €1.2 million from Dutch IT entrepreneur Johan Mastenbroek.
Tykn’s digital identity management platform offers an innovative identity registration system for public and private institutions, with which they can efficiently share, verify and request digital identity credentials. Users are provided with an app, a digital identity wallet, that works on every mobile device and allows them to digitally access services from those institutions in a private and secure manner. It provides a self-sovereign identity to all, so that no one has to lose their legal identity ever again.
Tey Al-Rjula, Tykn’s CEO, has personally experienced what it is like to be ‘invisible’:
“My birth certificate got lost during the Gulf war in Kuwait. I lived as an ‘invisible’ man in the Netherlands when my work contract expired and I ended up in an asylum centre,” he said. “There I met many Syrian refugees who had also lost their identity and faced the same problems as I did. As without an identity you do not have access to many basic needs and therefore not to your human rights.”
This personal experience gave Al-Rjula the inspiration to found Tykn, together with social entrepreneurs Khalid Maliki and Jimmy J.P. Snoek.
“With Johan Mastenbroek as investor we do not just gain a financial partner, but also an experienced one. He has essential knowledge about blockchain and digital identity cases, which helps us to further develop our platform,” said Al-Rjula. “This collaboration is an important step in getting closer to the world as we envision it: a world where identities are portable, private and secure, so that no one has to lose access to their identity ever again.”
“I strongly believe in the principles and ideas of Tykn. They work together with international organisations, with whom they can provide a solution to a global problem and create a future of opportunities instead of a future of problems,” said Mastenbroek.
“I mainly invest in IT & Innovation companies with a €3 million+ revenue and a niche market focus, focusing on management buy-outs and growth investments,” he added. “My mission is to lift these innovative enterprises to the next level market position, business model and size. As such, Tykn fits well with the other companies I invests in, such as Ledger Leopard, Loek! and Finturi.”