Transcription Episode 84

(0:06) Hi everyone and welcome to another episode of Living on Blockchain. Today we are speaking to (0:11) Nadja Bester from AdLunam. She brings a wealth of diverse experience.She has been an entrepreneur, (0:18) she’s been a board member, an award-winning startup mentor, an international speaker, (0:23) a podcaster as well as a host for several events and panels. So the Future of NFTs is her podcast (0:34) and she does have a book coming out as well. AdLunam is an investment and startup acceleration (0:40) venture that they have and they are very focused on helping founders and doing fundraisers and (0:47) making the right connect despite the market being wherever it might be.So this was a (0:53) wonderful conversation because I love, I have to be a little biased here, I love speaking to (0:58) women entrepreneurs and not simply because they are women entrepreneurs but because there are so (1:04) few of them as it is. So it is always very refreshing to catch up with somebody who’s (1:09) been in the space for a long time and is really making a mark. So this is a very very good (1:13) conversation, a lot of insights around fundraising, around the kind of support that Atalunum brings (1:19) about NFTs and just general advice on how to really make the best of this space.So I can’t (1:26) wait for you guys to hear this. Let’s keep that right in.

Hi Nadja, thank you so much for making (1:30) the time to speak to me today.How are you doing?

Hey Tarusha, very well and you? Happy to be (1:35) finally able to catch up. I think we’ve been talking for a while to get this done and I’m happy (1:40) that we’re finally doing it. So looking forward to an amazing conversation.Absolutely likewise. (1:46) I think you know battery is always on and there are so many variables that are in play when (1:51) you’re scheduling a call with somebody who’s on the other side of the world. (1:56) But I’m glad that we could make the time and I’m looking forward to this wonderful conversation as (1:59) well.You know and we always say that Web3 never sleeps but then when it doesn’t sleep in (2:05) the bear market then I don’t know what to call it when the bull market arrives because then (2:10) there’s no sleep. Yeah absolutely no sleep. Yeah that is absolutely true but yeah Web3 is not for beginners.(2:18) We have to work hard to make it easier for beginners to join us otherwise we’re (2:24) going to run out of old timers.

Absolutely yeah people are going to run out of steam right (2:28) because for how long can you perhaps you know be on always on the go. So I completely concur (2:34) with you there but Nadja for our listeners you know I know a lot about you and I have followed (2:39) you for a while with the work that you’ve done so far in Web3 but just for our listeners can (2:44) you tell us a little about your background as an entrepreneur.You know you’re a board member (2:48) in several places advisor and you know you’ve won several awards so can you perhaps give us a (2:54) little background about yourself and also perhaps share some key milestones that have shaped your (2:58) journey in blockchain and crypto.

Yeah this I think this is always the most difficult question (3:04) to answer because you never know quite where to start and you know every person’s journey is so (3:10) uniquely individual to them but I’ll give a brief rundown of kind of how I came into Web3 (3:18) because I think it’s very important always to highlight that no one has a linear path (3:23) generally speaking but especially when it comes to this industry and to technology in general (3:27) cutting-edge technologies. You know we read the books about the Silicon Valley greats and we (3:34) think that’s the roadmap to get places but it’s so easy in this industry that we are in to find an (3:40) entry point pretty much anywhere so mine looked like this.I had been working in what was at the (3:48) time called the digital marketing industry I mean of course now many years later we don’t call (3:53) anything digital marketing anymore because marketing is always digital right. So at that time (3:59) I had run a digital marketing agency early to 2010s so I was very used to working with (4:09) people in a context where I knew what the technology technologies of the future were (4:14) going to do for business but my clients didn’t necessarily understand. I had very many conversations (4:21) with business owners where they said I don’t see the point of having a website I don’t need (4:26) I don’t need to go and get on social media because no one’s going to message me there (4:30) and of course we know that this has shifted tremendously since but and there’s a lot of (4:36) parallels here with web3 of course in terms of being early

but so I’ve gone on from being in the (4:42) digital marketing agency space to working for a pharmaceutical company so I was head of (4:48) multimedia marketing and communications for top 50 global pharma very different environment because (4:55) of course heavily regulated and every single word that you put out there has to be go through (5:01) the regulatory approval teams process and so didn’t feel that even though the technology was (5:08) offering all these possibilities that the industry that I was in supported the evolution of how we do (5:15) things and again we are seeing parallels today in the web3 space you know where it’s this divide (5:21) between okay how do we push max innovation while at the same time there are governments wanting to (5:28) regulate and sometimes they need to regulate because we also see what happens when they don’t (5:34) so I’d worked in the pharma industry and just you know got to the point where I realized this is not (5:40) for me so my son and

I started traveling I took what I at the time called early retirement which (5:46) is really funny looking back now because I couldn’t sit still for even a minute so there was (5:51) no retirement for me I was very bored very quickly and then I got the opportunity to learn about (5:57) blockchain but as I said in a very particular way got offered the opportunity to work as a (6:03) journalist now I’m a writer I love writing I’d worked as a journalist in school but I’d never (6:09) actually you know pursued that part professionally and never thought that I would it wasn’t something (6:14) that I wanted to do as a career however I had time on my hands you know I was traveling and (6:20) great but I also want to do something with my mind and so when I started writing about blockchain (6:27) of course I had to do tremendous amounts of research and the more I researched that the more (6:32) I understood that there was a clear divide of pre-blockchain and post-blockchain so it’s almost (6:40) as if there had been a you know a dimensional shift in the way that the world is able to look (6:48) at certain things and so from there on out I say that I was completely solved I truly saw (6:56) that there are possibilities for solutions to problems that we face whereas

we had always been (7:03) told that those problems were not solvable and that’s why I’ve been in this industry for the (7:09) past seven years plus I don’t think I’ll ever leave it so in this space I’ve done also a broad (7:15) number of things so fractional CMO for different web3 companies I had a web3 communications agency (7:23) this was in the the ICO days which was really crazy you know if you think you’ve seen hype in (7:28) web3 you ain’t got nothing on that period I mean it was it was an interesting period but I’m glad (7:35) that we that we’ve matured and we continue to mature and then I’m you know I also have been (7:42) advising a lot of companies over the years investing in companies and then two years ago (7:48) Jason Fernandes my co-founder and I started AdLunum we’d worked together before wanted to (7:54) bring some new solutions to the industry’s problems and then our co-founder Lawrence Hudson (8:00) also joined us and the rest is history very very happy to be building something in the space and (8:06) working with incredible people both our team as well as all the partners that we have and really (8:11) just being part of seeing web3 grow from strength to strength because we all know what the media (8:18) covers about web3 when bitcoin price is high it’s the best industry in the world because it’s the (8:24) future as soon as the bitcoin price drops no this is all a scam this is a bubble it’s all over let’s (8:30) go to the next thing but when you work in the industry and you deal with people on a daily basis (8:35) working to create that future I think you have a very different understanding of what this future (8:41) might look like yeah absolutely I think when you’ve seen a few cycles like you know you and I (8:46) both have and been in the market for the long term you realize that there is nothing like building (8:54) for the short term in web3 you know you’re either here for the long haul or perhaps you just (9:01) it’s something that you know you’re trying out and then you lose heart and you give up but I (9:07) always think that there is there is no way that you know you can perhaps be like a short-term (9:12) builder because those are people who are experimenting and there’s nothing wrong with (9:15) that but in order to really build something that sustains you have to survive these multiple cycles (9:21) I think another important point to what you said which is very very important I think what you’re (9:27) highlighting is key and crucial you cannot build in a short span of time even though it might look (9:34) like that like like as if it’s possible because if you look at this industry in a in a in a bull (9:40) market you know decisions get made in the wink of an eye and you can go from zero to a couple of (9:47) million in just a few days I mean that that’s what happened to us when we were raising funds we raised (9:52) a million dollars in 24 hours we closed a 2.5 million funding round in five days I mean it (9:59) was incredible to see just from a personal perspective as a founder the movement I’ve (10:04) seen this with other startups that I’ve worked with as well I mean over the years in these (10:08) different bull cycles but the problem with this is the sustainability of the industry is severely (10:15) compromised when that’s the only way that people evaluate this industry so whether if I’m a retail (10:22) investor for example or if I’m simply a user of web3 products although I mean I’m sure we’ll speak (10:28) about this there’s not so many web3 users just yet and of course there’s many reasons why and (10:33) we need to work on making that easier for people to on for making it easier for people to onboard (10:39) but if you’re a retail investor and your perspective of crypto of web3 of blockchain is a short term (10:49) okay I’m going to put in a couple of money today and then in a couple of days or weeks I’m going to (10:54) if that’s your perspective of the industry it will always be the kind of industry (11:00) where short-sighted decisions are made and in a good market you know when there’s a lot of (11:05) liquidity of course you can make a lot of gains but the more you know and understand about this (11:13) industry the more the decisions the investment decisions that you make are more well informed (11:20) understanding what the opportunities are as well as the limitations because I think you know when (11:25) we talk about protecting people in the industry we who are professionals we know how difficult it is (11:33) to do very basic things you know using a wallet I mean if you’re doing transfers there’s so many (11:39) things even though you might know what to do there’s so many things that can go wrong (11:43) yeah because we are let’s say on more familiar terms with what all of this means and how it (11:51) works and who to ask for help it’s easier for us but for the average retail investor (11:57) it’s almost a dangerous place to be sometimes and I think really when it comes to (12:03) you know talking about web3 then we always need to keep in mind okay but what we have today (12:09) is not what we should have tomorrow we probably will be repeating a lot of the mistakes that we’ve (12:16) made in the previous and the previous bull market we’ll repeat them in this market again but I do (12:21) believe that as time goes by and more and more people who survive cycles especially founders who (12:28) have survived cycles then make better decisions for themselves for their team for their project (12:34) and of course for the retail for the investor community absolutely I completely concur I think (12:40) experience I think experience everywhere kind of works out for the better makes your decision (12:45) making even more you know it it becomes more nuanced and more enhanced because of the experience (12:53) that kind of adds to it and that the same thing goes for web3 but in web3 because the cycles are (12:59) shorter and the learnings are greater I think you know if a founder is really able to survive (13:04) multiple cycles then that is the founder that you know I’d put my bet on yes and I mean just (13:10) you know a general rule of thumb for me is when I meet people during a bear market especially (13:17) founders building projects during a bear market I make a mental note that those are the people (13:24) to watch very closely as the market returns because I have met people over the past let’s (13:31) say two years of this the cycle that we’ve been in and it’s been very difficult to get funding it’s (13:37) been very difficult to get community traction it’s been difficult to get pretty much anything done (13:44) and despite all of this the drive and the passion and the determination they have to make their (13:51) vision a reality have seen them gone on to you know incredible feats that is not so easy in a (13:59) market like this compare that to if a founder comes in when the money is flowing and you know (14:05) everything is on is at their fingertips that’s great but you also have to understand especially (14:12) if you’re evaluating projects what is the background experience of these people on the team (14:18) in web3 have they been through a cycle like this before did they you know it’s not a question of (14:24) surviving in the sense sometimes startups fail but what happened did they pivot to something else (14:30) that is that pivot something that makes more sense for the market we’re in so you can actually tell (14:36) a lot about a startup simply by looking at the team and especially the founders of course (14:41) absolutely I think they’re the ones who are driving that vision and ultimately you know founders with (14:46) the right kind of experience in the skills right kind of skill set are the ones who are able to (14:51) really create a sustainable business and that is what we need I think in web3 we need more (14:55) sustainable businesses and that doesn’t mean that you know you have to be perhaps making money from (15:01) Deva and obviously but that is ideal but at least you know perhaps you’re choosing the right path (15:06) and you know as we kind of talked about you’re building for the long term exactly so now moving (15:15) on to add can you tell us a little about you know as a co-founder there how does the platform (15:21) leverage your wealth of experience to make like something you know just impact on crypto (15:25) projects and startup acceleration because that is what you guys are doing and how can perhaps (15:31) startups who are looking to get the relevant help get in touch with you and is there like a criteria (15:37) of selection that you guys have so in short yeah very good question multi-pronged question so I’ll (15:44) go through them one by one so first of all what exactly we do so we are a web3 accelerator and (15:51) investment ecosystem now that’s quite a mouthful so let’s look at the different components of this (15:56) first of all we primarily specialize in fundraising so we as a company I mean our objective is to (16:06) fundraise for clients sometimes that involves very often it involves of us ourselves also investing (16:13) into these companies but so we have an investor network on the institutional investment end and (16:19) then we have a community of retail investors on the retail investment end so I’ll go a little bit (16:24) into what each of those do and then at the same time also weave in the experience that we bring (16:30) to the table and really why we started at Lunum exactly for this reason so firstly on the (16:36) institutional side so I mean getting funded in web3 is depending on the market cycle either a (16:44) massive issue or not an issue at all when there’s a lot of money a lot of liquidity in the market (16:50) in a in a peak bull market let’s say almost anyone gets funded it’s not always the kind of funds that (16:58) that everyone wants I mean there are types of invest of institutional investors there are VCs (17:04) that you very much would like to invest in you and they are VCs that if only you knew perhaps you (17:11) would not have had put them on your cap table now for founders entering the web3 space as a founder (17:18) for the first time because I think even if you have been in the web3 space but you haven’t found (17:23) a company yourself it’s a different ball game looking kind of from the outside in even if you (17:29) have been part of an executive team but really being the founder and being the person to make (17:35) all of those decisions that’s a different story altogether and oftentimes founders in web3 have (17:41) not been founders in other industries outside of web3 now that’s not an issue because this is a (17:48) horse of a different color but at the same time not 100% because there’s a lot of wisdom and (17:55) learning and best practices you know from traditional industries that either we we still (18:01) practice in web3 or they are missing and we see the the the you know quite negative results of (18:08) them not being there so for founders in the web3 space it’s incredibly important to be in an (18:15) environment where all the ingredients that contribute to their recipe for success is present (18:23) now that is an easy thing or it’s a difficult thing depending on a number of factors as much (18:30) as web3 for example is very democratizing if you find yourself in a city like Dubai or Singapore (18:38) or you know let’s say Paris where there’s also a lot happening now if you find yourself in these (18:45) major hubs you will make a lot of connections of course if if that’s something that you’re (18:51) to do however if you’re on a different location perhaps it might not be so easy to go to meetups (18:57) and meet the right people and of course even meeting the right people at meetups that’s a (19:01) lot of work you don’t know if the people that you want to meet or if you need to be if you need to (19:07) meet are going to be at specific events so it’s quite a hit and miss but of course you can do all (19:12) of this yourself however the smart way to do it of course is to partner with companies specializing (19:20) in exactly what your needs are so this is really for us where adlunum then came in is we act as (19:28) let’s say a middleman between what the startup needs and we typically start working with startups (19:35) in their early stage around so they might have you know raised a sea angel investment or seed (19:43) investment and they’re now getting ready to go into the vc investment in the private sale etc (19:48) sometimes we do start working with them earlier on if they if they are very promising because we (19:54) do put them of course through quite a rigorous due diligence process I mean of course we can only (20:01) start working with them if we have sponsors giving prizes to to the investor to the startups (20:07) participating we also take startups on an investor road in the startup in the public sale of the (20:14) startup and they also we we co-launch projects with other launch pads so we are connected and (20:21) partnered with a number of the top launch of the top 10 launch pads and so also goes for (20:27) centralized exchanges for market makers for a wide range of other partners media press etc (20:33) so really it’s a full house service in terms of getting a startup connected to anyone that they (20:41) need to be connected to as well as getting the funding they need both institutionally and retail (20:47) investor wow that’s wonderful you know I think all because being an entrepreneur myself I understand (20:53) the kind of challenges that come in the way of entrepreneurs that they are fundraising it becomes (20:57) like a full-time job and for you to be able to lend a helping hand make the right connects (21:01) that can really go a long way as well so if if a startup perhaps wants to in you know enlist (21:08) your services and want to get involved in your ecosystem what would that process look like (21:13) so we just officially launched we’ve been unofficially working with the with projects (21:19) in the accelerator during the bear market but we’ve officially launched and opened it to the (21:23) public on the 9th of February so just a few days ago so typically what happens is as I said earlier (21:30) we have quite a strict due diligence process that we follow so as soon as a startup makes (21:38) contact expresses interest we will be requiring some documentation some forms to be filled out (21:44) and then we go through this due diligence in order to make sure that it’s a good fit in terms of the (21:50) network that we have we would as I said earlier we wouldn’t easily take on a new client in terms (21:57) of fundraising if we don’t believe that our network of investors will have the appetite (22:02) to fund this project just to manage expectations from the beginning and then once we do start (22:08) working with the startup we are heavily invested ourselves so their success really becomes our (22:14) success you know we take tokens so we are fully invested in ensuring that the startup sees the (22:22) success that it needs to because as I said their success is our success and then just to finally (22:28) answer your question about kind of why this came about so all three of us co-founders have been (22:35) working with startups in the web3 space for years so we’ve all been working with them as advisors (22:42) you know as part of different companies working in different capacities so we’ve really seen (22:48) and experienced what it’s like to build a web3 startup through so many different lenses and (22:56) the one thing that when Jason and I were discussing at Lunum in the initial stages was (23:03) how can we support people using really simple easy solutions the concept of a launchpad (23:15) something that I find quite interesting is people are often not familiar even if they (23:20) work in the web3 industry they are often not familiar with what it is unless they need one (23:26) when you need one that’s when you start understanding okay this is a launchpad this (23:31) is what it does this is how it works but then because there are so many launchpads out there (23:37) these days you don’t always get the same quality support from each and every one of them there are (23:44) some launchpads that will not speak to you unless you know you have 50 000 followers on twitter (23:50) so it’s also incredibly important to as a founder to discern who are the people that you will (23:59) allow to guide you because the problem I find with web3 is the principle the ethos of web3 is (24:09) everyone is helping each other however very often when founders find themselves in this crucial (24:17) period of you know institutional fundraising all the way to public fundraising in the IDO (24:24) that they become the prey for the for the for the predators in the industry so there’s a lot (24:30) of people offering to help there’s a lot of people asking founders for things but not (24:36) really giving back and so unfortunately a lot of founders as we’ve said have not been founders (24:43) before maybe they are even new to web3 and they’ve never been a founder before and so there’s so many (24:48) challenges that already are coming their way so how can they make sure that they have the most (24:57) valuable up-to-date information guidance and support at their fingertips and that is what a (25:02) launchpad is supposed to be it’s not always the case but we definitely pride ourselves on the (25:08) fact that that is exactly what we offer startups what we needed is what we offer that’s brilliant (25:15) I think those that is how best of the solutions can come about right when you are building something (25:20) that you feel the need for and you know your peer proposal requires that you see your real need and (25:27) that is that is how I think sustainable solutions are created that actually really add value in entrepreneurs lives because there are solutions down to a dozen.

But, you know, what if you had to sum it up perhaps in one line, the USP for AdLunum, what would that be? Definitely fundraising accelerator, we call it the zero to IDO accelerator, so we help with pretty much everything that you need to go from initial fundraising all the way up to launch, at least launch in the IDO aspect of the word, when the token launches, the TGE. Then we also have the launchpad aspect of it, where we have an engage to earn platform with proof of attention allocation model, but that’s quite specific to retail investors, although it does also greatly support startups, because what we essentially do through the platform, it’s a gamified solution.

So, when people are engaging on the platform, projects are then able to identify who would be a good micro influencer, who would be a good ambassador, etc. And so then, instead of the IDO itself being this black box where you have no idea who is investing in you, are they going to dump your tokens as soon as they can? It’s then easier for projects to allocate their marketing spend to particular members of the community, as well as allowing these people also to invest, you know, whitelisting them and ensuring that they get the investments because they are already invested in the project. Brilliant, brilliant.

I think, you know, you’ve kind of summed it up in a very effective manner. And I think a lot of entrepreneurs who are listening to this would, you know, be able to find a support. As I said, you know, fundraising becomes like a full time job when you do get into it, and then the product suffers.

And you do need like a helping hand there that can support you in that endeavor and make sure that it doesn’t become too, perhaps too tedious for them. Right? Yeah, I mean, I would also point out here that I think if you’ve never done fundraising before, you might find that it’s something that you naturally excel at. I don’t think that’s the experience that the average person has.

Because if you’ve not been exposed to this side of business before, or even the side of yourself, there’s a lot of growing pains, there’s a lot of learnings that need to take place. And it’s very easy also to lose heart. Because if you are constantly either hearing no, which actually is easier than just being ignored, people are gonna get back to you, but they never do.

Or you, you know, you send out outreach, and then no one ever hears, or you never hear back from them. I mean, that is probably one of the worst experiences to have, because you know what you’re building, you believe in what you’re building, but it feels like you’re standing in the void. And you know, there’s no one there.

And is anyone else still alive at this point? So I think it’s not a pleasant experience to go through. And what often happens, and this is something of course, that that founders need to guard against, because it’s easy to then not only start losing heart, but to also think, well, maybe I’m not the best person for the job, you know, maybe I’m not capable of doing this. And often the reason that this might even be true is because you simply don’t understand what the best practices are in order to prepare for success.

Now on the internet, there’s a lot of information about how to approach investors, how to speak to VCs, how to pitch to them. I can promise you that the rules in Web3 are different enough from the traditional venture capital industry, that you need to understand the nuances of how to work with, how to speak to, how to approach VCs in the space, because they look for very particular things. So again, you might not be having success.

And that’s not because you are the problem, which is easy for us to internalize, you know, erroneously. But it’s because you need a greater understanding. And often that comes from people, of course, who have done this before, or in our case, we do this all the time.

And so we know what’s very current in terms of what VCs are looking for. Absolutely. I think what you said right now, I think that is something that will tug at the heart of a lot of entrepreneurs who are building, because it’s easy, as you said, to internalize this and you feel like perhaps you’re not the right person building the solution.

But, you know, at times, the expertise is required, right? I think in every job, some kind of expertise does take you further from, say, you know, you read zero to one, but to really scale, how do you move forward? And to do that, you do need a helping hand. That’s why people, you know, get the help of mentors and advisors. And what you are providing is actually very actionable, very tangible.

And that will help entrepreneurs. And I’ve been an entrepreneur for nearly 13, 14 odd years. So I understand what you’re saying when you say that you might not be perhaps doing the right thing to get the requisite results with the funding.

And also, just to add to that, I mean, if everyone cannot excel at everything, even if you are one of those people that you are naturally good at everything you do, as a founder, there’s not enough hours in a day to be excellent at everything. What are the biggest wins for me on a long term basis? So, for example, it’s much more important to learn how to effectively manage a team, since as a founder, you will always be managing teams than it is to become the, you know, the industry leading expert at fundraising, if you are only going to need that for a few months at a time, a couple of times in your startup’s lifespan. So it’s also really important to discern when do you personally need to improve your skills? I mean, of course, we always all should be improving ourselves.

But then there’s a difference between a skill that is going to serve you for several years or decades into the future versus a skill that perhaps it’s easier to outsource to experts in the sense that by working with them, you will be improving your skill anyway. But you’ll at the same time ensure that you’ll get the delivery that you want, the results that you want, as opposed to trying to DIY everything and not being sure if there is going to be a positive outcome. Absolutely.

I completely agree. I can’t concur more. I think this is very well put.

And I think a lot of entrepreneurs, as I said, would take heart that, you know, you guys have so much clarity in what you are providing. You’re actually adding tangible value to the journey of the entrepreneur who’s basically out there trying to build their vision. So more power to you guys.

Now, you know, for AdLunum, what perhaps would be like the next, you know, next big milestone for you guys? So definitely our own launch of our token, something that we’re looking forward to. But at the same time, it very much depends on the market itself. So as a launchpad, of course, our business is to launch projects.

And it has been an incredibly painful market for a lot of projects. I’d say most projects over the last two years. You know, we were in touch with a good number of projects two years ago that one year ago had completely fallen off the map and fast forward another year.

And even those projects are no longer, you know, so I’ve seen a lot of shifts in companies over this very difficult period that we’ve been in. Of course, it’s difficult if you are not funded. It’s difficult to keep on building.

Everyone can’t bootstrap in the same way. But so for us, we’ve been ready to do our own IDO for a really long time. You know, almost as soon as we launched, it was very, very ironic how the market turned extremely quickly.

And we’ve been waiting with bated breath ever since. But at the same time, I think that this market that we’ve just come through has just been so good for us as a company. We’ve been able to build out an incredible network of partners that, yes, it would have been possible in a bull market, but there are so many things happening in a bull market that only when you have the time to really sit down, evaluate why are you doing this? What do you need to do? And especially those key pivots, right? So for us as a company, definitely the IDO is one of our major next milestones.

But then I would say on a daily basis, I mean, because we work with projects and they are all in various varying stages of readiness. It always feels like there’s some other milestone happening on a daily basis. So it’s quite fun.

And then, of course, another milestone that we also have coming up, I host the podcast, The Future of NFTs, and we will be releasing, I will be publishing a book this year, The Future of NFTs. And then we are launching our collector’s edition of the book at Token 2049 in Dubai in April. So very much looking forward to that.

But yeah, I mean, being in this industry means there’s always milestones around the corner. And that’s what makes it very rewarding and very enriching to be here, either your own or the people that you care about and work with. Absolutely.

I think there’s always something happening. And these are very exciting developments that you have going on for your podcast and the book. Can you, you know, I’ll talk about that a little bit as well.

But can you tell us a little about the native token that, you know, you’re talking about for AdLunum, like what would be the utility there? And when are you, as you mentioned, obviously, that, you know, the market conditions reign supreme there on, you know, deciding the timeline, but is there a timeline that you’re looking at for the IDEO? And what would be the utility of the token? So the token is Lunum, the Lunum token. And the utility, of course, as a launchpad, typically how it works is, or let me use a little example, maybe that’ll make it easier. So if I want to invest into, let’s say, a project cup, since I see a cup in front of me, very creative.

So I want to, I want to invest in project cup, and the only end up in the public sale. And the only way to do so is to go where the sale is taking place, of course. Now, previously, that would happen on the project website itself, that was the ICO or initial coin offering days.

Thank goodness, we’ve put that behind us, because that was really easy for people to get scammed and rug pulled. And I mean, I saw this firsthand many times over and, you know, had nightmares about how scary and unsafe this industry is. So we’ve evolved from that into an IDEO and initial DEX offering, which is what takes place on a launchpad website.

Now, the utility typically of a launchpad website would be that in order for, let’s say, Jane to invest into project cup, they would need to own launchpad tokens, and then they would stake those launchpad tokens in order to get the allocation for project cup. So that’s a typical way of how it works. We do have different types of engagements with that token.

So we have the proof of attention allocation mechanism that’s like that functions slightly differently from from staking the tokens. But I’ll keep it high level for now. And then the other question in terms of when are we looking at launching? So I think this is the question on everybody’s lips, especially those of us who have been watching the market like a hawk for several years now, wondering when that golden moment is going to arrive.

So I think, and this is, of course, not financial advice, but I think predicting what might happen this year, I think that once the Bitcoin halving takes place, we are definitely going to see because just based on historical trends and data, we will be seeing the rise in the Bitcoin price. And then once the Bitcoin price, which is already, I mean, it’s already growing by the day. I haven’t checked it today, but I know at some point yesterday, it was, I think, 52.

So it’s climbing quite rapidly. And then once that happens, one day is, you know, once the market is like, okay, now is the time. Of course, that’s when the altcoin season then kicks off again.

And that’s when you’ll see a lot of different projects launching. And so probably that would be the timeline for us as well, because our launch is very much dependent on how many projects are willing to launch on a continuous basis. So if we have our IDO and then projects are still waiting to launch, there would have been no value for us.

And of course, no liquidity for our token once we launch, which is why we’ve been holding out on that. All right. Yeah, that is sensible.

I think, you know, market conditions do dictate and it is, again, like having a token, managing the token becomes a very big part of what we’re doing. Yeah, it becomes a full time job, right? And then if it’s out there, it’s out there, there is nothing, there’s not, you know, there’s not much that you can control from your end, there are certain aspects, obviously, that are outside the ambit of your control. And timing it, I think, is everything.

So, you know, I am rooting for you guys. I’ve seen you work and Jason’s work for a long time. Jason, I’ve been following for the longest time and really, really excited for what you guys are building.

And especially, you know, all my wishes, I think, you know, what you’re building with the kind of clarity that you have, like I mentioned before, is going to be fabulous for upcoming entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs who are just starting up. Thank you. And I think it’s going to be an exciting time up ahead.

The other reason why it’s going to be exciting is previously, web three was mostly populated by DJs. And I think in this market, in this bull market, of course, we saw that during the NFT hype of 2021, where a lot of new people came into the space. But then, of course, we all know what happened, you know, the bubble rose to the top, and then someone took a needle and prick, and then the whole thing fell flat.

And so similar to how NFTs are now having to prove themselves beyond, you know, PFPs and beyond art, I think what is happening in web three, this cycle around is that there are so many traditional people, and I’m saying traditional in the sense, they come from traditional industries, and that’s every industry except web three. They are not DJs. So they don’t do things in the same way.

They don’t think in the same way. So I think what we are going to see this season is that everything is going to be different, perhaps something slightly different, perhaps other things very different. But I think we’ll see a shift in how marketing and communications are done in how projects work on delivery, because of course, in the previous market, that was the number one complaint.

Projects get funded. That’s it. Yeah, yeah.

That kind of spoils the ecosystem for everybody, right? Like, obviously, it tarnishes the image that people have of web three as it is, and then it kind of makes it a bad situation for even though entrepreneurs are coming in perhaps with a good intention. I think that’s why it’s so important to build your network in the industry. Because there are pockets within web three, and whether you are working in web three, or you are only investing in web three, whether you are building in web three, I mean, each of these categories have their own subset of pockets.

But I think if you are able to move between them, I’m very fortunate to be able to do this. I speak all over the world. I mean, I meet many different people in the space.

So I’ve grown to understand that there’s so much more to this industry than just what the average person understands. If you look at the media, you make assessments based on the media, you might get one impression of web three. If you are on Twitter, you’ll get another impression.

If you’re on LinkedIn, you get a completely different impression. So I think it’s important if you are at all involved in this industry, to expand your network as much as possible. There are so many opportunities to meet new people, there are so many opportunities to get involved, more than any other industry that I’ve ever been in.

And more than any other industry that anyone I’ve ever spoken to, who is now in web three have been in previously. So I think we have an incredible opportunity to build our own careers, to build our startups that we are working on. Or if we simply want to invest, to make sound investment decisions, even though it’s a high risk investment category.

But to understand what are the important factors to look at when making these decisions. And I do think the space, yeah, I mean, of course, we’re going to see the same FOMO, the same hype, the same greed that we always see. But at the same time, I think there’s a foundational aspect of web three that is maturing.

And a lot of this is because, as I said, people are coming into the industry wanting to use the technology, but not wanting to be a degen and not wanting to get involved with, you know, the media hype, let’s put it that way. Yeah, I think that is absolutely true. So now, you know, you mentioned about how, you know, you mentioned your and how you write and, you know, you talk at all of these conferences, you talk about that tree and, you know, all of this, and you have extensive experience with that.

And that kind of brings me to your podcast, which is around NFTs, right? And I would love to understand from you, what are the kind of trends and insights have you gained, you know, and or observed, basically in the NFT space? And how do you see it kind of evolving in the next few years? Yeah, great, great question. I remember when we started the podcast, and I wanted to, I didn’t quite understand the hype about NFTs. I’m not someone who collects NFT art, I don’t, I’m not interested in PFPs.

But that was the converse, that was the dominant conversation that everyone was having. And I wanted to gain a deeper understanding, because the technological aspect of things, I understood that this is something, but I wanted to understand why is it something. And the best way for me to learn is always to speak to other people.

It’s something that comes very naturally to me. And of course, during the bear market, we had this amazing opportunity to focus on more educational content. I think that’s what a lot of companies or at least a lot of companies that want to do things the right way, that’s what they did.

Because during the bear market, there’s not much else to do other than to understand the reason there’s a bear market is because there’s nothing much for people to incentivize people to stay, right? If they are only there for the money, and there’s no money, yes, they’ll leave. And so during the course of hosting the show, we are now on season three, I think we are coming up to 50 episodes next week. What I’ve learned over this entire period, is that if you think of NFTs as art or PFPs, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Now, it’s early days. I think that there’s going to be a lot that needs to be done. Because a lot of people still have this perception.

And probably I mean, we are not going to use the term NFTs. I mean, what does it mean? If I use the term NFT, if someone’s heard it before, it’s probably because they know, oh, NFTs were sold for millions of dollars, and now they’re worth nothing. If I talk about a digital collectible, I don’t think that’s necessarily the term that we use, because not all NFT utilities are digital collectibles.

It’s a type of utility. And then for the average person, if they want to learn a little bit more, and I say, okay, it’s not an NFT, it’s actually a non fungible token. I mean, what does that mean? So I do think that in future, we are not going to see the NFTs in the same way that we do now.

The underlying technology like blockchain is probably going to be quite hidden. And this is probably the key takeaway that I have personally from speaking to all of these incredible minds building these incredible solutions. I’m saying incredible solutions, but it will in many cases take years for those kind of solutions to hit mass adoption.

So at this point, and this is what I can say about the state of NFTs right now, we are in a period of possibility. So there’s a lot of people working on really cool ideas, but whether those ideas will get adopted, I think very much has to do with how much you need to understand Web3 or NFTs. If we look at Starbucks, if we look at Nike, I mean, there’s a lot of big brands actually over the last, let’s say two years or so in the bear market that have started using NFTs and they’ve done it with success.

I mean, Reddit had their avatars coming out, but you’ll notice that they didn’t focus on the Web3 aspect, on the NFT aspect, because if you work in this industry, this stuff is cool to you. You want to tell everyone about it. You want to use these terms.

It’s cool. I mean, my show is called The Future of NFTs. What am I going to do if we no longer call it NFTs? But I think that really is the secret to NFT’s eventual success, is that we stop focusing on the technical aspects of it, because most people don’t understand it and they don’t care.

They just want something cool that works. And if they need to learn about Web3 and they need to learn about NFTs, then it’s always going to be like this weird thing that we do here in the corner and the average person won’t get involved. So that’s what I see for the next few years, is that NFTs are here to stay, but they’ll probably become more and more invisible.

And that’s really cool. I look forward to that point. I’ll have to change the name of the show, but I’m not sure what to yet.

So I’ve got time. Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s an ever-evolving space.

And especially with NFTs, you know what you said, I think I was right there on the same boat. I did not understand the craze. I did not understand why.

Like I understood on some level why Crypto Pretty and all of this was becoming big earlier, but I couldn’t see a proper use case. And obviously that has changed drastically. There are so many use cases now for NFTs and there are so many builders that are working.

Like you mentioned, it still stands to be tested whether all of these solutions will actually make a mark, but there are so many solutions that are being built around this technology, which makes it very, very exciting. And I think, you know, just to highlight here, I think for most people, especially when these things are quite complex to understand, one of the most helpful things that you can do for yourself is to actually go on. So for example, our podcast, it happens live on Twitter Spaces every week, and then subsequently it’s available as a podcast.

So I would highly recommend that, you know, even if you’re not really someone who uses Twitter, LinkedIn also does the same thing, although it’s not as active on LinkedIn, but there’s a lot of opportunities where you can actually tune in live or record it if it’s a prerecorded podcast like this one that we’re on. There’s so many resources that you can get involved, either just from an audience, like just passively listening, or even ask questions, you know, contribute to the conversation, because it’s easy to get in the same room as people that are building things in this space. And I always tell people that I’m so, so fortunate because the lens at which, the lens through which I look at the world and I look at the future is very much colored by the fact that I am constantly speaking to startups in really early stages. So it doesn’t mean that what they are building is, is the future.

But I see so many different possibilities on a daily basis in terms of, oh, the future might look like this. Oh, it might look like that. So I think this informs your own worldview and also helps you to make decisions about your own life.

And of course, then you start contributing to this future, because there’s so many different possible futures, we have to vote for these futures with our attention, right? So the first step is to vote with your attention. If you’re really into this, you can start voting with your action. But the only way that we can make different futures become reality is if people support that vision.

And so if you are confused by all of this stuff, or you don’t know kind of where to go, what the next step is, just start tuning into Twitter spaces to podcasts. Because when you listen to people building actively building right now, you get so many nuggets of wisdom that you wouldn’t get by reading a book by reading an article, because those are passive things. In the sense, you know, you are passively consuming them, they are locked in a particular time and space.

I mean, it takes months for a book to come to fruition. By that time, the information is already outdated. When it comes to writing an article, there’s only so much time that the writer or the journalist has to spend on this article.

So the best way to learn is really to hear from people currently building. And of course, because you have access to them, you could even, I mean, follow them, you know, start commenting on their posts, start engaging with them. That I found is yes, it’s a little more work.

But it’s probably going to give you the best indication of what some of these possible futures might look like. Yeah, absolutely. So you know, you mentioned your book as well, and I would love to know a little more about the book that you’re working on.

And when you know, you mentioned that you’d be launching it at 2049, right? And can you give us like a little sneak peek, or a preview? And is there a way to perhaps pre-order it? Yes, yes. So first of all, we had been talking about the book for quite some time. And this is because originally, the idea was simply to focus on what was contained within the show.

I mean, speaking to people for an hour on a weekly basis, especially when it’s, you know, conversations that are quite high level, quite insightful, looking towards the future. As I said, creating these new realms of possibility in people’s minds, there’s so much content rich material that you get. And so initially, we were like, okay, we’re going to just put a book together with the content that we have and publish that.

And then I thought about it. And I was like, you know, but if you’re going to write a book anyway, if you’re going to go through all of that trouble, you might as well add a little bits and pieces for those people who don’t necessarily understand what you’re talking about. So maybe they don’t know what NFTs are all about.

So the book started growing and growing. And of course, when you have a busy schedule, then it’s like, oh my god, okay, so that’s on the to do list. But you know, we’ll get there.

So eventually, what we’ve come up with, and I think it’s very interesting, because it very much speaks to where we are at on this technological adoption journey. So we’ll have a web two version of the book, which is just, of course, the normal, you know, you buy it on Amazon, and yes, you will be able to pre order it. But then we also have the web three collectors edition version.

Now, that will be an NFT. That’s also where we will have the book launch in Dubai during token 2049 is for the collector’s edition. And so the NFT will offer a different experience than simply buying the web two version.

So if you have the NFT, you’ll get the web two version for free. If you are simply buying the web two version, you will have the option if you are curious about, okay, you’ve been reading about NFTs. Now you want to experience one, you will have the ability to get an NFT to enhance your book reading experience.

But if you are simply happy with you know, having the hard copy version on your shelf or the ebook on your device, then you can do that too. And I think the reason that this is quite an interesting experiment is we have all of these amazing web three solutions, including NFTs. But then I’ve always wondered, and I wonder this actively throughout my working day, because there’s so many companies that come up with, you know, this is an NFT collection, and this is our new NFT collection.

But then, because it has up until now been investment driven primarily. So if you buy an NFT, it’s because someone, you know, is going to make money out of it. NFTs have really in practice come to mean almost a fundraising vehicle.

And so this is not the approach that we are taking whatsoever. We for us, it’s more of a AB split test, how many people are going to go only for the web two version, how many people are going to go for the web three version. And I think that’s quite valuable data that we need to be collecting as an industry.

Yeah, I think that will give you some brilliant insights, you know, when you mentioned about the book and how it’s been a work in progress. Absolutely. Yeah, I’ve been working on two books and you know, one of them is actually that you just had to sort of go ahead and push it out.

And it’s, it’s about, you know, the vent during the NFT bull run, so to say, all of these digital arts that did really splendidly well. So that’s a collection of around that. And like pretty much akin to, you know, your podcast, this podcast and curating another book around that as well, because we’re about to hit the 100 episode mark.

That is wonderful. Congratulations. And I’m very much looking forward to reading both of them.

It’s, it’s so enriching to be working on these projects, because what we are doing is we are capturing a part of history, right? Like living history. Exactly, exactly. That is what that is what makes it so exciting, right? You know, we’re actually changing an industry who are seeing it from its infancy while it’s evolving and growing into something so much more mainstream.

Good times up ahead, but also hard work up ahead. Absolutely, absolutely. So now you know, this has been such a wonderful conversation.

I love speaking to fellow founders and in the space, you know, there’s always an insight there. And thank you so much for making the time. But you know, I’ll be honest, and if I did not ask you this one question, before we kind of wrap this up, because you’re almost out of time.

This is something that I ask everybody who comes on the show, because you know, you you were somebody who was working in the pharmaceutical, you know, space, which is primarily, perhaps all tech and, you know, web two, and you made a leap to web three, what would be your suggestions for people, you know, somebody is perhaps, you know, working with the same dilemma, and they are kind of struggling with the same dilemma, what would be your few suggestions for them to start living on blockchain? I want to use an analogy, let’s say you have bad eyesight, and you’ve only ever seen the world through bad eyes. And then one day, you get prescription lenses, where the glasses, where the contact lenses, and suddenly, the world transforms right in front of your very eyes, the grass is literally so much greener, because you can see it better. The buildings have much more detail on them before you could only see kind of faint outlines.

So you would not know the possibilities that that are in with within web three, unless you actually put on those glasses. Now, how you do that is will be different for everyone. There are a lot of opportunities to get involved.

Of course, you will need to have enough time to devote to these things. You can get involved with DAOs, you can just join communities, you could I mean, I always recommend networking speak to as many people as possible. Because you actually unless you have a very clear and firm idea of what your next step is going to be.

And then by the way, you are very lucky because most people don’t are not that fortunate. They don’t have that luxury at their disposal. I think most of us kind of fumble through the dark and okay, what’s the next step going to be? We’ll wait for you know, the light to shine a little bit.

And so it’s a journey for sure. Not a destination, right? Like my favorite question that I always ask people is, how did you get into web three? And you’ll never hear the same story twice. And you’ll never get a repeat, like every story will be different.

So I can promise you, wherever you are right now, whatever you know, whatever you don’t know, that is no deterrent for you to start getting involved. Because people think our web three is all about the financial industry, not for everyone. Web three is all about technology, not for everyone.

It’s an industry. So whatever you do right now, if you would like to continue doing the same, I mean, maybe not whatever you do. If you are doing something that can be replicated in web three, there will be a place for you.

If what you are doing right now is very different from what you want to do, but you don’t know what you want to do, start exploring, start slow. And then if you do want to start working in the industry, it’s so easy to build up a portfolio based on the network that you have. Offer to help people.

If you have skills that you think you want to start utilizing in this industry, start working with people. There are so many people that you can work with, so many different startups out there. Demonstrate what your value is.

But if you’ve ever tried to do this in another industry, I can promise you it’s probably like a thousand times easier here because we are very, very early. And so people here look for those star qualities in other people. What are those star qualities? People that can work with over a long time.

Sustainability. So if you are the kind of person who wants to be in this industry, maybe not forever. Maybe you’re just trying it out.

Network as much as possible. Educate yourself on the job. Don’t feel like you need to get to a point of expertise.

There’s no person like that in this industry. This is a new industry that is evolving on a daily basis. No one knows everything.

You don’t have to know half of it. You need to know what you need to know. And either you already know what that is or you’re going to figure it out.

But just get started. Don’t feel like there’s a finish line. And once you get there, you’ll be ready.

This is a very forgiving industry. It’s a very welcoming industry. It’s a very helpful industry.

Of course, I can also say the opposite. I can also say all the bad things about the industry and those are all true. But from the perspective of getting involved, it’s really easy, really satisfying and rewarding.

And I don’t like making promises, but I can promise you that if you commit yourself to this industry, your life is not going to look the same again for the better. That’s almost a guarantee. Yeah, I completely agree.

I think this is a rabbit hole, so to say. And once you jump down this rabbit hole, there is pretty much no coming back. Alice does not want to wake up once she goes to Wonderland.

Yeah, exactly. So that is absolutely true. And the way you put it, I think this is something that I keep telling everybody.

People have this perception, this deep-rooted perception. It is a space where only the tech-heavy and the nerds, kind of, can make their presence known. And I feel that nothing can be further from the truth, because as you said, it’s an industry.

And if you have a valuable skill set that you are bringing to a Web2 industry, maybe you can look at doing it in perhaps the decentralized space as well. Or you can also completely change your career. That’s also possible, because I want to just add this as a founder.

When people are looking to hire people in this industry, they don’t look for years of experience, because there isn’t, in most cases, years of experience. It’s not possible. Exactly.

I mean, I’ve seen some job ads that are ridiculous, where they ask for, like, I don’t know, 15 years of Solidity experience, but Solidity has not existed for 15 years, you know? So definitely, if you are looking at opportunities… And just to add to that, I think, you know, we live in a very, very interesting time when it comes to the workforce, post-COVID. Work from home has become a reality for a lot of people. A lot of people who have never had that opportunity before.

So it’s now the time to really… I mean, and I think this started happening during COVID already. You need to start re-evaluating your life, asking yourself if the career decisions that you made previously are still applicable. Of course, technology is accelerating at a highly accelerated pace at the moment, if we look at AI specifically.

So there are going to be a lot of hard questions coming up. And just know that whatever, you know, is your reality, if Web3 is something that you consider, definitely highly recommended to at least try it out. Or if not trying, then get involved just from an awareness perspective, just so you understand what the other options are that are out there.

Maybe it’s not the time for you now, maybe it’s in the future. But the more you learn from a holistic perspective, you know, as I said, not from articles on the internet, not from maybe a book that was written a year ago and is no longer applicable now, but really just learn and connect and grow alongside other people that are doing the same. That’s probably like the best advice that I can give, that I learned the hard way, but that I wish that someone had told me and given me a step by step, okay, do this, do that.

Yeah, absolutely. I think that is summarizing it very, very well. And I think a lot of people would be able to take heart and believe here after listening to us talk.

Once again, Nadja, thank you so much for doing this conversation. This has been such a wonderful conversation with so many insights about building, fundraising, and just being comfortable with the discomfiture of the space and still being able to grow. Yeah, and thank you for all the very, very beautiful questions.

I think, you know, it’s always so telling when I’m on a podcast and I know that the host is someone who cares about their audience. And I can very much tell from your questions what kind of actionable insights you would like for the audience. So highly respect that.

I think that the listeners of the show are very lucky to have you as their host. And I’m very honored to have been here as a guest. Thank you so much for your kind words.

I’m very, very grateful. Thank you once again. And I really hope that you can find ways to work together in the future as well.

Absolutely. Looking forward to it. You know, in this space, the luckiest thing is that you meet so many incredible people.

It’s not easy to meet so many people that you genuinely like and would like to work with in other industries. So again, we are very fortunate to be here and to be making all of these connections. And I’m very, very happy to have met you and looking forward to exploring all of the possibilities in future.

Thank you so much once again.

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