The HAT Foundation Social Entrepreneurs

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The market is launched with 50 Alpha HATs, and the official RCUK HAT research project has ended on  Nov 30 2015 with the project’s handing off to two branches – the continuing HAT/HARRIET research branch of activities and HAT Foundation entrepreneurial branch of activities. This post introduces the entrepreneur team.


Entrepreneurial Activities: HAT Foundation

The Entrepreneurial team consists of two entities – HAT Data Exchange Ltd (HATDeX) and HAT Community Foundation  – forming the HAT Foundation Social Enterprise. You would have seen the explanations in our HAT briefing paper 5 and the blogpost on the HAT Foundation by now. So in this post, let me introduce you to our entrepreneurial founding team.


HATDeX’s job is to build the HAT ecosystem, scale the HATs and support all ecosystem participants including HPPs, HAPs, HAT users etc. commercially. This is with the support of University of Warwick who have, in principle, approved the gifting of all the HAT and HARRIET Software IP over to HATDeX and, in line with the 6-universities HAT research project collaboration agreement (which took a crazy amount of time to get signed), released the HAT 2015-10-22 12.15.40database schema and logic under a Creative Commons license. So HATDeX is in charge of the roll-out of HATs globally (think of it as a securities exchange for data), together with our HPPs. As we go through the due process of getting commercial agreements and IPs sorted we expect a proper launch some time in February which is also when we will probably start the global social movement and the crowdfunding campaign. In anticipation of loads of stuff happening in the new year, I thought it would be appropriate to introduce you to the HATDeX founding team that will be taking up the task. However, instead of giving you the usual ‘biodata’ which you can read on their linkedin profiles, I’ll introduce everyone from me, personally.

Management Team

Paul Tasker – Chief Executive, HATDeX

The BOSS! Paul has been the Independent Chair of the HAT Research Project Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) for the last 2.5 years. I’ve known Paul since 2007 when he led the S4T programme on behalf of BAE Systems when he was there. Paul had a huge role to play in getting me involved in Engineering and has been a great fan of the HAT from the beginning. I was really surprised that he was willing to come out of ‘retirement’ to lead the HATDeX team – and we can’t be in better hands.  Paul’s  experience in the corporate world as well as in bridging academic and industry initiatives is his biggest asset. He has the maturity and experience to talk HAT with policymakers in government, as well as with senior industry professionals, a suitable projection of HATDeX as an ‘adult’ startup ;p. Paul’s biggest task is to lead us all – which isn’t easy  mind you, when you have academics like me that tends to stray and play in all directions. Which is why he constantly gives  me a hard time – and I am very grateful for his leadership.

Dr Xiao Ma – Chief Technology Officer, HATDeX

The technological jigsaw master! How does the technology come together with the business, the social, the research and the commercial? Xiao, who is also a post-doc (Senior Research Fellow)  at Warwick manages all that, making sure that they are well integrated into the plan for the research and the roll-out. And because he can see the picture of how technology works with business and research? He is extremely good at acquiring and juggling resources so that the tech team and I get to do what we have to do! Xiao is a Computer Scientist with a PhD in engineering, specialising in ontology engineering. He’s the first person to see if you want to understand the interface between tech, research and business. He was a technology transfer specialist, specialising in technology management so he can see where everything fits. More important, Xiao, Andrius and I are able to work really well on an ‘Agile’ basis (which is code word for changing things all the time. Paul thinks we do it just to annoy him ;)).

From 30 Nov, Xiao will be dividing his time between HARRIET and HATDeX.

Dr Andrius Aucinas – Head of Engineering, HATDeX2015-10-22 12.16.04

What can I say about Andrius except that he’s a postdoc working with me, and (1) he’s been coding since 11 years old; (2) he recently graduated with a PhD in Computer Science under Prof Jon Crowcroft (our HAT Co-I);  (3) he technically operationalised the vision of the HAT since the first ‘strawman’ schema that I created with the help of HAT Researcher Laura Phillips and later with Xiao; (4) he’s spent many many many hours in my house discussing every aspect of the HAT, its schema and its ‘boundaries’ between tech, business model and behaviours to fin tune further the operationalisation of the schema and the logic (my daughters now call him their foster brother); (5) he has been reasonably well-fed by hubby and well imbibed with alcohol from me; (6) he’s mobilised a very talented tech team to build the HAT; (7) he’s had very little sleep in the last 6 months; (8) he’s brilliant.

From 30 Nov, Andrius will be dividing his time between HARRIET and HATDeX.

Me, Professor Irene Ng – Chief Strategist/Economist and Chairman of HATDeX

I am the architect, the designer of the economic system which comprises of the market as well as the many different economic models, business models, market configurations globally and these configurations directly interact with the way the technology is designed (e.g. in app revenues, plugins etc.) so the design is very much to do with the interface of technology/business/behaviours. My job is to make sure that incentives are aligned within the system, that the system is self-regulating, self-reinforcing and will generate positive network effects by itself so that I don’t have to work that hard (I’m lazy that way). My academic credentials are of course as an Industrial/Business Economist in Marketing/Markets for my PhD. I have published widely in economics, sociology, marketing, management and operations literature. Did Physics/Applied Physics/Comp Programming for my undergrad,  RDBMS programmer for many years, Chartered Secretary for 15 years, Entrepreneur for 15 years, Academic for 15 years etc. etc. so I am comfortable with having both a startup and an academic hat (sorry, bad pun ;)). I am also the Chairman of the board, so my main job is to represent community and shareholder interests on the HATDeX board.

From 16 Feb (expected launch of the global campaign and HATDeX), I will go down to 4 days a week for my academic job and will serve 1 day a week at HATDeX.

HATDeX Non-Exec Directors and Advisors

Roger, Glenn, Jon and Mark are part of our Founding team as Advisors and Non-exec Directors of HATDeX. We are beholden to them for advice, ideas, support, cautionary tales, gossip, beer and wine. Having been involved in the HAT project, their experience in the different parts of the HAT initiative have been extensive. They are our evangelists, our champions and the sounding board for our plans. For myself, I have had the  benefit of their expertise all through the project, even if it meant I had to accost them at pubs. I look forward to accosting them some more when I need help (which is likely to be 2015-10-22 12.41.47often).

Professor Roger Maull – Systems, Operations, Business Models, Blockchains, Cryptocurrencies, everything business

Dr Glenn Parry – Supply Chains, Business Models, Blockchains, Cryptocurrencies, everything business

Professor Jon Crowcroft  – IoT, Networks, Security, everything computing

Professor Mark Skilton – Data, security, standards, compliance, certification, everything compliance and standards

HAT Community Foundation

As part of the HAT Foundation, the HAT Community Foundation (HCF) will also be set up as a company limited by guarantee, and would be applying for a Charity status. The HCF has the job of governing HATDeX, to ensure that the social entrepreneurship governance mechanisms are in place for the HAT community. It owns one golden share of HATDeX and will receive 20% of HATDeX dividend for its activities, principal of which is to further Research and Innovation on the HAT in partnership with WMG, University of Warwick.

Founding team

Professor Roger Maull – Chairman, HCF

I am very pleased that Roger has accepted the role of the Chairman of HCF. As colleagues at Exeter and even after he moved on to University of Surrey and co-founded the Centre for Digital Economy, Roger and I have worked together on many projects and papers and was a co-Investigator on the HAT research project. Despite his busy schedule, he has agreed to take on this role. Roger’s heart is in the community. Even from the start of the project, he has had great interest in collaborative consumption and the role of the HAT in building up social communities (See his video here). With him chairing the HCF, I am very assured that the HCF would go places and community interests will always be upheld.

Non-exec Directors and Advisors

I am very pleased that two members of my team at WMG have also agreed to be the founding directors of HCF. Together with Roger, they will make a formidable team for the HCF.

Dr Ganna Pogrebna – Ganna heads up the HARRIET project and would represent WMG and the University of Warwick interest in the HCF, as its research partner.

Peter Ward Peter was the HAT program manager and has had to manage the motley HAT gang for the last 2 years! Peter will provide HCF with continuity from the HAT research project, and will also represent development and innovation interest on HCF.

HCF expects to appoint further non-exec Directors and Advisors, so stay tuned. This blogpost marks the official handover of entrepreneurial activities to the leadership of our HATDeX Chief Executive and interim HCF Chief Executive, Paul Tasker. Paul will provide updates on the HAT Foundation in the future; read his first blogpost here.


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