Unless explicitly stated otherwise, most companies make money by selling customer data. This can take place either by selling trends or surfing habits to interested parties or aggregating data into a bundle for marketing purposes. But now there's a start-up that wants to eliminate the middleman by buying user data directly from the user.

Handshake aims to be a marketplace where users can be approached by companies, negotiate a fair price for their data and determine if they wish to sell or not. Co-founder Duncan White said the basic idea is to turn what has previously been stolen data into a currency which can be traded.

Companies will likely be after some pretty basic information including income, gender, occupation, responses to traditional surveys, intent for purchases or activities and personality profiles, just to name a few.

The startup believes users could earn anywhere between £1,000 and £5,000 (roughly $1,300 to $6600) per year by selling their data, an estimate based on the traditional cost of market research agencies. In addition to cold hard cash, users could earn rewards like discounts or freebies in exchange for their information.

The entire platform ultimately rides on whether or not they can get enough people interested early on. Beta applications are currently being accepted with plans to launch the service less than a month after reaching 2,000 applications. The company said they already have several high-profile clients ready to sign up including a household name telecom, a bank and a games developer.