Upcoming event: Startup Moldova Summit 2024


“Combining mentorship with an innovative exchange system, TOK connects artists locally and internationally, providing a platform for continuous learning and creative collaboration.”

⦁ What makes you special? What innovative solution does your startup bring?
What truly makes us special at TOK is our unique approach to mentorship and community development. Unlike traditional mentoring platforms, we operate on a barter system, where every member can be both a mentor and a mentee. This innovative solution stimulates a culture of continuous learning and sharing within our artistic community.

Our platform empowers artists and creatives to connect with each other locally, allowing them to request mentoring sessions and receive valuable insights from other members with diverse skill sets. We believe everyone has something to learn and share, turning our community-based model into a powerful and dynamic force for artistic growth.

Through TOK’s community-centric approach, we are committed to rethinking knowledge and education, creating a supportive environment where artists can experiment, collaborate, and freely explore new creative territories. Encouraging open-source knowledge sharing and emphasizing core values of community and constant experimentation, we aim to revolutionize the way artists develop their skills and unlock their full potential.

⦁ Where did the idea for this startup come from, from what need?
The idea for TOK (Trade of Knowledge) came from a deep understanding of the challenges and barriers artists and creatives face in accessing mentorship and support.

As passionate supporters of the artistic community, we recognized the need for a platform that democratizes mentorship, making it more accessible and available to artists at all stages of their careers.

We observed that traditional mentoring programs often come with high costs, making them inaccessible to many talented individuals. In addition, finding the right mentor with the specific expertise an artist seeks can be a daunting task. Hence, the need for a community-led platform promoting knowledge exchange and collaboration became evident.

⦁ What were the biggest difficulties you faced at the beginning of the journey?
One of the most significant challenges we faced from the beginning of our startup was aligning our core values with the dynamic landscape of the startup and tech industry. As a platform that puts the community at its center, we were determined to rethink traditional business models, highlighting the importance of mentorship and knowledge exchange among artists.

Achieving a balance between maintaining financial sustainability and reinvesting profits back into the community became a delicate effort.

⦁ What is the target customer segment? Do you already have real customers? If so, who and where are they?
The target customer segment for our startup, TOK, includes artists and creatives from various disciplines seeking mentorship and community support to improve their skills and foster artistic growth.

⦁ Have you managed to attract investment in the startup? How? From whom?
So far, we are proud to share that we secured significant funding of 5000 euros through the Dreamups Upcelerator program.

⦁ Introduce us to the team.

The team at Trade of Knowledge (TOK) is a diverse and passionate group, each member bringing unique skills and experiences. The team is composed of artists, technology enthusiasts, and business strategists who share the common vision of empowering the artistic community through mentorship and community collaboration.

Madalina Ciocanu, Founder –
As the vision behind TOK, Madalina brings extensive expertise in the creative industry and adult education sciences. As a graduate of a prestigious university, education consultant, and musician, her experience spans music production, radio programming, community organizing, educational development, and research. With a deep understanding of the challenges artists face, she is determined to create a platform that shifts the paradigm towards an open approach to knowledge and creation.

Mamiko Nagasaka, Co-Founder, Engineer –
As an experienced front-end and AI services developer, Mamiko is the technical backbone of TOK. Her expertise in building scalable and user-friendly platforms ensures a smooth and trouble-free experience for our members.

Karina Castellanos, UX UI –
Karina is an education expert and UX designer.

Benjamin Gerstner –
As a professor of evolutionary biology at UPenn and familiar with the US tax system, Ben works on the legal aspects of TOK as a business registered in the USA.

Advisors –
Adrian Pleșca – the most brilliant advisor a startup could be blessed with.

⦁ What growth and development plans do you have?
At Trade of Knowledge (TOK), we aim to continuously improve and expand the platform to better support the artistic community. Our immediate priorities include launching the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) in August, followed by collecting community feedback for platform improvements. Our long-term plans focus on expanding into new cities, attracting a diverse group of mentors, and forging strategic partnerships with local artistic institutions and organizations. We will also encourage community engagement through events and projects, while maintaining financial sustainability and dedication to our mission of reinvesting profits back into the community.

Quick Startup Information:
⦁ Website link: tradeofknowledge.info
⦁ Social media page links: Instagram
⦁ Year of startup foundation: 2023
⦁ Funds raised: Dreams Upcelerator grant
⦁ Names of the founders: Madalina Ciocanu, Mamiko Nagasaka
⦁ Contact person and the contact details of the person: Madalina Ciocanu, mc4561@tc.columbia.edu.

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