The e-commerce platform Slyk has aroused enormous interest in the community of Cuban entrepreneurs for three fundamental reasons: it allows the creation of a virtual store in minutes, without the need to program a line of code, it offers its users an independent space for the promotion and sale of their products and services, and it allows them to charge clients through different methods, including cryptocurrencies.
PanamericanWorld spoke with Tim Parsa, founder of Slyk and creator of other disruptive startups, such as Uphold, Airtm and Cadoo, and with Cuban entrepreneur Camilo Noa, who is responsible for Slyk’s growth in Cuba and manages the startup’s social networks; in addition, he formed his own venture: Kwelta.
Slyk, a startup machine
Parsa told us that every startup offers a solution to a problem, which can be scaled with the Internet and other technologies until it reaches millions of people. That is what this entrepreneur has done with his creations.
“UpHold gave users access to cryptocurrencies in order to have more freedom, more functionality with money. Airtm allowed anyone to create a dollar account, to save their wealth and protect it against inflation, and to be connected to the world of global trade. Meanwhile, Cadoo gave people the possibility to improve their own health, protecting themselves against temptations, distractions”, he clarified.
Now, “Slyk allows anybody to monetize their talents and get paid for what they wish to sell on the Internet and share their profits with their communities and networks. In other words, it is very much aligned with the cryptocurrencies because it encourages anyone to share their Slyk so that they can receive more customers, and that is only possible because all the digital money within a Slyk is fungible”, he explained.
This startup is aligned with Parsa’s previous creations. “Slyk works very well with Airtm because you can get paid with Airtm. It also works very well with cryptocurrencies because you can receive payments in Bitcoin and it is aligned with the idea of doing something productive with your life, wellness, creating wealth, launching a business. You can monetize your unique talents, make money, do business, grow and share part of what you earn with your community”, Parsa acknowledged.
Related article: Cryptocurrencies in Cuba: four ventures betting on Bitcoin
The Slyksters community grows in Cuba
Camilo Noa learned about Slyk in March of this year. Cuban entrepreneur Erich García had published a video on his Bachecubano channel about this startup and the possibility it offered entrepreneurs to sell their products and services on the Internet. Soon after, Noa opened his own Slyk, and then learned that the startup was looking for a digital community manager. He applied and got the position.
“Slyk helps Cuban entrepreneurs in three ways: it gives them access to the software so they can sell online and the concept of Slykigai, a 21-day program on what you should put together as an online business and, in addition, it integrates local financial services, such as QvaPay”, Parsa clarified.
“Slyk is an e-commerce tool focused on mobile phones,” Noa acknowledged. Users, called “Slyksters”, have free growth tools at their disposal, such as referral rewards that they can offer to their customers to turn them into a sales force. “This means that anyone who shares my Slyk link and makes a sale can earn a percentage on the value of my product. This incentive is defined by the Slykster and can range from 0 to 20%”, he specified.
This tool is free until you manage to make one sale per day for a month. Then it starts charging $1 per day. However, in the case of Cubans who use QvaPay as a payment method, Slyk is completely free. “Our desire is for Cuban entrepreneurs to have the opportunity and the tool to create wealth with their ideas. Slyk is 100% free for Cuba”, Noa said.
To this day, most Slyksters are Cuban. “This is something that we are very pleased with because they are using the platform as a way to empower their businesses and overcome all the difficulties posed by the Embargo and the Cuban government’s own laws”, Noa admitted.
For 2022, Noa recognized that Slyk’s goal was to become the leading e-commerce platform in Cuba and reach two million entrepreneurs worldwide.
Doing business in Cuba today, not only to survive, but to create wealth
“Being an entrepreneur in Cuba is one of the hardest things in the world. It is certainly the most difficult place to do business because they restrict entrepreneurs in how to do business and who they can have as clients”, said Parsa.
“Because of the problems they have experienced, Cubans are very good at finding a way to survive. I think that’s why they put in all that energy, not just to survive, but to create wealth and abundance by doing business online, startups, selling online”, said Slyk’s CEO.
“We are already seeing a business boom, the growth of startups and the adoption of new technologies, such as cryptocurrencies. I see the startups that have been built on Slyk and the ones that have been integrated into Slyk like QvaPay, Bitremesas, Kwelta, which are promoting these technologies. That is why I have high hopes for Cuba and Cuban entrepreneurs”, Parsa concluded.
Noa believes that Cuban entrepreneurs should be more ambitious in their goals. “From Slyk we promote the Slykigai Program, inspired by the Japanese philosophy of IKIGAI which means a reason to jump out of bed every morning. The program is a compendium of exercises and inspirational materials divided into 21 days. Every day you receive an email with podcasts, articles, videos, etc. By the end of the 21-day program, the individual will have discovered the intersection between what he loves, what he is good at, what he can be paid for, and what the world needs, in other words, his Slykigai, his purpose.”
“A life driven by a purpose will generate unstoppable growth and, therefore, freedom. That is what we believe Cuban entrepreneurs need, as well as a legal framework that fully protects them. But when you have Slykigai and you use cryptocurrencies to do business, the legal framework becomes secondary. Stores on Slyk can be public or private, so it’s also not a problem for entrepreneurs who prefer to remain anonymous”, Noa concluded.