Meet our Premium Member Lukas Hohl – CEO & Founder of TrustRelay

Please tell us more about TrustRelay

Data collaboration beyond companies’ boundaries is key to solve truly complex problems. Yet, only a few companies are actually collaborating on data with their partners. This is exactly why we developed TrustRelay. TrustRelay enables organizations to share structured data without actually centralizing the data based on so-called “dataspaces” – secure, simple and legally compliant. The current team consists of Jorge Alvarado, Founder & CTO and myself. We are former Swisscom employees and spent several years on ecosystem-based data collaboration use cases and came to the conclusion that a data mesh architecture is the most promising approach to let organizations collaborate on data while respecting data sovereignty. We launched the venture at the beginning of this year.

Tell us more about your plans for 2023. What is your long-term vision?

We plan to further develop the current MVP and start additional customer pilots and productive deployments. Furthermore, we intend to grow the core team in the second half of the year in order to have the firepower needed to support customer engagements. Our long-term vision is to become “the Slack for data sharing”. In other words, setting up a “dataspace” should become as simple as starting a Slack channel and inviting participants. 

What has been the biggest success that you have achieved in your startup?

Being part of a Smart City Innosuisse project with the City of Lucerne we were able to bring the idea of “urban data cooperatives” to the European level. As such, we were recognized as a Gaia-X lighthouse project – the first one out of Switzerland.

If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently? What are your biggest learnings?

We took a lot of learnings from previous projects (before TrustRelay) and were able to include them in the early stage of developing the MVP. One of the key learnings is that a “technology first” approach seldom works as at the end of the day, you need to solve a business problem. Hence, involving the “customer voice” early on in the process is a must when developing your solution to the problem. But that’s just the first part of the journey moving into the next stage of finding the right product market fit.

What motivates you to continue your business every day?

That deep conviction of seeing tremendous business opportunities in a collaborative approach on data is one of the key drivers of TrustRelay. But not only that, we also see us being a part in democratizing B2B data sharing. Too often we see smaller organizations struggling in data ecosystems as they either lack the legal knowledge or technical skills to benefit from the ecosystem. That is exactly why TrustRelay is so much more than a technical tool to facilitate data collaboration as the platform also allows the drafting of so-called “Data Sharing Agreements”, legally binding contracts between participating organizations.

One piece of advice for someone who is just starting out with their startup?

Don’t hesitate to seek feedback on your idea early on. It is very unlikely to have THE idea right away and the journey will be iterative given the feedback loops. Sometimes we all tend to be too rigid in our thinking as we are so convinced about our solution. What is important though is to be crystal clear on your vision but open for the HOW when it comes down to the actual implementation.

What does it mean to you to be a member of the Swiss Startup Association? 

It’s great to be connected with like-minded people with similar experiences they’ve made along the way. Entrepreneurial peers are great to learn from and to give back and share your own ideas and learnings. Moreover, it gives you the possibilities to grow your network beyond pure professional relationships. I’m very much looking forward to the upcoming events.

Reach out to Lukas on LinkedIn and have a look at TrustRelay website.


Other, related articles you may like

Become a member today

Join us as a member and enjoy various benefits that will take your startup to the next level!

Join the movement!

Subscribe to our newsletter

Other things in mind than becoming Enabler? Don't worry, leave your email address and we'll get back to you soon.