About

With our passion for innovation, identity and distributed ledger technologies comes a strong drive for change that is deeply embedded into the history of our company. Read on to learn a little bit more about the history of Tykn!

Our Story

In 2012, Toufic "Tey" Al Rjula discovered that he is, in fact, an "invisible man". On his Dutch driver's licence, you will not find that he was born in a city such as "London", "Berlin", or "Amsterdam". Instead, he is declared as being “Unknown”. This is because Tey was born in Kuwait, during the gulf war, when the birth registries were destroyed en masse. As such, he does not have a birth certificate, and even if copies were to exist, neither he, nor the issuing authority could possibly verify it.

In 2014, he started his asylum application in a refugee camp in the Netherlands, where he was forced to move after his work permit of five years was terminated. Here, for two years, he felt the pain of thousands of Syrian refugees unable to verify the authenticity of their documents. On top of this, many of these refugees had lost other important documents such as land titles and academic certificates on the road of refuge. By the end of his stay, he had met more than 1000 invisible men, women, and children.

A third of the refugees in Europe are children, and while they are lucky to get documented, hundreds of thousands in Syrian Refugee camps do not have birth certificates, and newborns in camps are unable to complete the birth registration process, due to economic, geographical and complex administrative barriers. Ultimately, the experiences the refugees shared with Tey in the Dutch refugee camp regarding the hardships they suffered as "invisible people" gave him the inspiration and motivation to found Tykn, together with social entrepreneurs Khalid Maliki and Jimmy J.P. Snoek, in order to work on providing self-sovereign identity to all.

The "Tykn" Name

The first ever Dickin Medal was bestowed upon a recipient with the name "Tyke", serving for Britain’s Royal Air Force. Tyke was a pigeon, in a team consisting of two other pigeons that delivered messages contributing to the rescue of ditched aircrew during WW2.

Inspired by their ability to operate in the hardest conditions and carry valuable information related to life and death, across borders, we named our company "Tykn". Coincidentally, in Japanese, "taiken" translates to "supreme authority", which is essentially what the blockchain is; everything you register is there forever, non-discriminately.

Watch CEO Tey Al-Rjula talk about Tykn at the Blockchain Innovation Conference 2018!

Awards & Achievements

Shortly after our inception in 2016, we joined Startup Weekend Utrecht, an intensive 3-day hackathon powered by Google, where we managed to develop a working prototype to digitally verify and authenticate official documents by leveraging the bitcoin blockchain, winning us first place.

This victory ultimately led to Tykn being chosen to pitch for Rockstart, a startup accelerator based in Amsterdam, where Tykn was chosen out of 1100+ applicants (alongside 9 other startups) to join the Rockstart Web & Mobile Accelerator.

In October 2017, Tykn also won the Spindle Innovation Awards (powered by Partos and Accenture) with our Project ZINC (Zero INvisible Children) initiative, and became a semi-finalist in the Accenture Innovation Awards, for which Tykn has already made the Top 25 again this year. On top of this, Tykn also won Best ICO Pitch at the Blockchain Innovation Conference 2018 in June.

The Best Leadership Available

Get acquainted with Tykn's diverse and inclusive core team.
For any questions or queries, feel free to contact any of us on LinkedIn!

Tey El-Rjula
Co-founder & CEO

After having experienced the pains of losing vital records to war himself, Tey co-founded Tykn in 2016 to relieve the world of these same problems in the future.

Khalid Maliki
Co-founder & COO

As a seasoned UX designer, Khalid co-founded Tykn with Tey and Jimmy after seven years of working for both governmental and commercial instances.

Jimmy J.P. Snoek
Co-founder & BizDevLead

Jimmy J.P. is a business developer and serial entrepreneur who joined Tey & Khalid to kickstart the Tykn mission following a period of advisory work surrounding distributed ledger technology and business development.

Mostafa Sakr
Lead Developer

Mostafa is a full-stack developer with over 6 years experience in software engineering for the building of scalable, fault-tolerant systems. He leads a team of developers in Egypt for the expediting of the development process, whilst simultaneously using his strengths in migrating from legacy systems to more stable, scalable, and resilient solution

Randa Al Rifai
BizDev (MENA)

Randa is an expert in Banking and Finance. Specialized in Compliance-Anti Money Laundering & Combating Financial Terrorism as well as leading the Lebanese cryptocurrency community.

Evan Yap
Research & Technical Writing

Evan Yap is a rare technocrat who sheds light on Blockchain from a humanitarian perspective. With an academic background as a research fellow at the University of Utrecht, Evan leads Tykn's research team.

Katja Bouman
System Designer

As an honours graduate in Mathematics and Computer Science, Katja first joined Tykn in the capacity of an intern, focussing on how the combination of blockchain technology and zero-knowledge proofs could improve data protection in humanitarian action. Her tremendous insights helped in shaping Tykn’s Ana solution in time for the first dry-run on the island of St. Maarten

Bonnie Yiu
Head of APAC Region

Bonnie joined Tykn as Head of APAC following a period of advising in strategy and legal, having experience in both fields and being co-founder of Consulere.io. Prior to working with Tykn, Bonnie worked in the Financial Services and Venture Capital law at international firms in Sydney and Silicon Valley.

Francisco Baptista
Marketing Director

Advisory Board

Dr. Moe Levin

Dr. Moe Levin is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Keynote, an investor in high-tech startups, and an advisor to governments, regulators, banks, and venture-backed companies.
Some of the projects he has been involved with include The Global Blockchain Council in Dubai (2015 - present) , the harmonized VAT treatment of Bitcoin (2013), The OECD Working Party 9 (2013-2014).
Moe is also the Co-Founder of the first accredited Blockchain Academy, an early investor in RSK Labs, Labfresh, Dropbox, and others. Prior to founding Keynote, Moe was responsible for launching a venture-backed startup in Europe which raised $30m from Richard Branson, Index Ventures and others.

Marloes Pomp

Marloes Pomp is the Program Officer at Digital Action with responsibility for 30 blockchain projects within the Dutch Government. Blockchain has according to her the potential to redefine the relationship between the government and the citizen in terms of data sharing, transparency and trust.

Marloes Pomp worked in several roles like projectleader or researcher at governmental organizations, including Ministry of Internal Affairs, City of Amsterdam and the Court. Notable is her 4 years in the innovation team for the Ministry of Foreign affairs. Her professional interests focus on innovation of the government and technological developments like Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things.

In addition, she serves as an advisory member for the SIDN Fund. The fund stands for ‘a strong internet for all’ and is taking internet projects and ideas to the next level.

Darrell O'Donnell

With his vast experience as an engineer and executive to many thriving companies over the past 20 years, Darrell O’Donnell has become a powerhouse in the digital identity space. He currently provides C-level advice to key projects and partners as a ‘Virtual CTO’, invests in early-stage ventures, and speaks about self-sovereign identity to those that need to hear and learn about it the most. Through his experience in the identity space (particularly in the context of humanitarian aid), as well as his deep understanding of value capture and the catalysing of growth for early-stage companies, Darrell has helped propel Tykn forward more than we thought was possible through advice alone.