Dr. Bryan Ritchie, CEO of SIMBA Chain – Interview Series
Dr. Bryan Ritchie is the CEO of SIMBA Chain, he is a serial entrepreneur and startup venture de-risking expert.
SIMBA Chain (short for Simple Blockchain Applications) is committed to delivering a simple, accessible blockchain solution. The solutions they offer use API technology, based on familiar coding, to deliver an intuitive user experience. This streamlined approach ensures anyone, not just blockchain experts, can build on the blockchain.
Could you discuss the origins story of SIMBA Chain, and how it was incubated at the University of Notre Dame?
Simba Chain was launched on a DARPA grant award to the Center for Research Computing at the University of Notre Dame. Dr. Ian Taylor worked with a local entrepreneur to start the company. The Pit Road Fund at the IDEA Center at ND was the first investor in the company. From that first grant, the company began doing blockchain work for the Air Force, Navy, Boeing, and other defense contractors. With that traction, the company was able to raise an A round of investment, which has brought us to this point.
You joined SIMBA Chain less than a year ago after running the IDEA Center at the University of Notre Dame, what was your mindset for joining the SIMBA Chain team?
I have been involved in deep tech commercialization now for about 30 years and did Software development before that. I have seen a lot of technological revolutions in my career. I have believed that Blockchain represents a huge opportunity for another major technological shift. For me, this time period feels very much like the early 2000s and the Internet. I believe that blockchain will revolutionize many industries and the way we transact on the internet. I wanted to be a part of that transformation, and I think Simba is the infrastructure development company that can take advantage of these opportunities.
How does SIMBA Chain differentiate itself from other blockchain technology?
One of our biggest differentiators I’d say is that we are product driven and enterprise focused. We want to help Web2 organizations begin benefiting from the blockchain. There are a ton of great projects out there, but they are generally designed for blockchain developers and experts in the field. Ultimately that won’t help mass adoption – we want to make sure that any company, regardless of their blockchain expertise, can benefit from the technology.
That means having a product that is enterprise focused, easy to use by all developers, and easily connected to their existing data and legacy systems.
We’re also a proven solution, having numerous significant projects in production across government and enterprise.
SIMBA Chain has worked with various official US branches since 2019, what are some key projects that have been working on?
Boeing is a really exciting one. We worked with them to help track wing parts for their F/A-18 fighter jets (like the ones used in the movie Top Gun actually). The company worked with over 700 different tables across four data warehouses. These disjointed systems created potential security risks throughout the production process – and of course no military wants that. We essentially tokenized each part, creating a digital representation of the physical asset, helping create the visibility required to track and trace each part as it moves through the supply chain. Aside from improving any procurement challenges and security risks, the project reduced costly paperwork by 40%.
My personal favorite project has been with TOKs, a restaurant chain of about 200 locations across Mexico. They came to us looking for a solution to help certify their organic and rainforest coffee beans from the farmers to their customers’ hands. Again, by tracking the production on the supply chain we were able to deliver the visibility required. This not only helped them remove 7 of their middlemen, increasing their revenue, but it also increased their farmers’ revenue by over 600%. This is really a great news story for everyone involved. Many companies are “greenwashing” their products (falsely claiming their products are environmentally friendly) as consumers demand more responsibility – here, TOKs can clearly verify their efforts to their customers, the consumers are getting the highest grade rainforest and/or organic coffee, their farmers are earning more for their product, and on top of it, they are earning more money. It just goes to show that sustainability and ethical practices can be profitable as well.
How would SIMBA Chain intend to work with governments when it comes to launching a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC)?
We currently do not have a CBDC specific product. But again, because SIMBA Blocks is designed for non-blockchain developers, and is enterprise grade, it can easily be adopted for nations looking to build a CBDC without having to significantly invest in the upfront costs of hiring blockchain developers and building it themselves. If we can tokenize wing parts, we can tokenize currency.
One recent development is SIMBA Chain and Equideum Health announcing a partnership to build Web3 Health Data Exchange, could you elaborate on what this partnership entails?
Healthcare is an industry that makes absolute perfect sense for blockchain. You have a ton of data that requires both long term and expansive visibility and traceability. I don’t know of anyone who has seen only one health practitioner for the entirety of their lives. Ultimately, you need your health data to move through health systems across your health journey – and because of the privacy concerns, consent and security are absolutely critical.
Equideum has taken this one step further and is allowing individuals to own and monetize their health data – by providing it to health organizations at a premium, if they wish. So pharmaceutical and medtech companies, and public and global health authorities will be able to procure data from the exchange.
The exchange will be built on Blocks to achieve cross-blockchain protocol interoperability – a key requirement for Equideum. From the user’s side, all data provided remains completely decentralized and anonymous unless a user explicitly consents to be identified, while users also have the option to set certain conditions for the use of their data, such as time limits or purposes, which are ensured through smart contracts.
Why is healthcare ripe to be disrupted with blockchain technology?
There are so many applications in healthcare that blockchain can help with.
If you look at the US healthcare today, less than 25% of health systems can effectively share data beyond their EMR instance. So if you go to a hospital, and your family doctor doesn’t work for that hospital, they are very likely not able to attain your health records without it being emailed or faxed (yes, our health systems still use fax machines today). Well blockchain provides real time visibility to all parties who have permission to access it.
We all saw the challenges of supply chain management with the lack of PPE during the start and height of Covid. Now imagine hospitals not being able to do surgeries or treat patients because of supply chain issues with medications or medical devices. We are currently working with Prysm Group on a project called Local Health Alert System as part of a 6.25 million dollar award program funded by The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to solve exactly that. The campaign's mission is to establish a rapid response medical goods supply chain marketplace and to advance data analysis to track future demand signals. Facilitating a real-time connection between active public health data and the supply chain status will enable companies to produce and deploy medical supplies more efficiently in future health crises. Meaning more lives can be saved and our health practitioners will have the tools they need to remain safe and effective.
Is there anything else that SIMBA Chain is currently working on?
We were recently awarded 250 thousand dollars from a project by the Department of the Air Force (DAF) and United States Space Force (USSF) – the Orbital Prime program. The project is looking to create an incentive program to remove space debris.
We are also working with a company on a social media platform that will be built on the blockchain. We are working with another company to track vehicle registrations and any accidents etc through tokenization. We have some upcoming projects with the DoD and more. All of this to say that blockchain has so many potential applications. I genuinely believe that we are leading the curve on as big of an innovative shift as the world wide web was.
What’s your vision for the future of the company?
I believe that just as with web2 companies that have made developing applications and solutions easy, fast, and inexpensive, there will be similar companies doing the same thing for blockchain and web3. I see Simba Chain as a leader in this space. When enterprises or government organizations decide they want to take advantage of web3 functionality, the obvious choice of platform on which to build those solutions will be Simba. No one will make connecting today’s web2 with tomorrow’s web3 easier, faster, and less expensive than Simba.
Thank you for the great interview, readers who wish to learn more should visit SIMBA Chain.