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From a Refugee Camp to a $1.2 Million Investment: Tykn Raises New Funding Round

The blockchain startup, founded by Syrian entrepreneur Tey Al-Rjula, has just scored a $1.2 Million Investment from Dutch IT entrepreneur Johan Mastenbroek.

By SWB Team

Tykn, a tech startup founded by Syrian entrepreneur Tey Al-Rjula, has just announced an investment of 1.2 million euros from Dutch IT entrepreneur Johan Mastenbroek. Along with social entrepreneurs Khalid Maliki and Jimmy J.P. Snoek, Al-Rjula founded the startup to provide the world’s stateless people with a virtual ID, through a blockchain-enabled digital identity management platform.

“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, CEO of Tykn. “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.”

Tykn’s platform allows public and private institutions to issue and verify digital identity credentials. It is an innovative way to share and request personal data proofs, which protects identities against getting lost, providing a solution for the 1.2 billion people worldwide who have never had an identifying document or whose proof of existence got lost because of inefficient identity registration, wars or disasters.

Al-Rjula was inspired to create the startup after spending two years in the Ter Apel refugee camp – one of the largest and most important refugee camps in the Netherlands. “There, I opened my eyes to a new reality. Refugees are losing their identity, their land titles, they’re not even able to prove their academic certifications, or who they are and where they come from,” he said in a previous interview with Startups Without Borders. “I met nuclear scientists in the refugee camp; I met surgeons who can do a heart surgery blindfolded; but they cannot prove their talent because they don’t have certificates,” he stressed.

IT entrepreneur Mastenbroek is also delighted about the collaboration: “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.”

Additionally, Mastenbroek is pleased with the addition of Tykn to his investment portfolio: “I mainly invest in IT & Innovation companies with a 3 million-plus revenue and a niche market focus, whereby I focus on management buy-outs and growth investments. My mission is to lift these innovate 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.”

The startup had previously entered the Rockstart accelerator, who contributed €15,000 in pre-seed funding, and later raised another €375.000 in the same pre-seed round, with one notable contributor being Alex van Leeuwen, founder of Buzzcapture.

Now, with this new investment round, Tykn is one step closer to its mission of ending statelessness. “Together with my team, we have the mission of zero invisible children by 2020,” the entrepreneur said in his recent TEDx Talk.

Read our exclusive interview to Tey El-Rjula here.

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