Fresh off the stage in Paris after speaking at [EthCC] 2023 (the largest annual European Ethereum event focused on technology and community), Nicolas Weber, founding initiator of THE HUB and a Brinc portfolio founder, has one key message for all: Please take a “learning by doing” approach to Web3… and start now.
In his [EthCC] presentation, titled “Standards and Democratization for Metaverse Builders,” Weber explains that today’s iteration of the metaverse — with 160+ virtual worlds in 10+ blockchains with 500M+ users — still lags behind its true potential. Boundless opportunities await in the huge virtual ecosystem, under the current key verticals of Creator Economy, Gaming and Web3. “Yet, a fragmented landscape means users, creators and builders cannot move seamlessly between different worlds,” he says. “A lack of universal interoperability standards means mass adoption cannot be achieved until the correct tools are in place.”
In order to grow an immersive, 3D, tokenized world that offers data-driven insights and sustainable monetization models, addressing gaps and highlighting scalable opportunities are vital. Hence, his solution: “Ultimately, THE HUB wants to provide the interoperable picks and shovels for anyone looking to invest, build, and experience a decentralized metaverse.”
Undeterred by today’s ever-skeptical state of Web3, the enthusiastic, optimistic futurist believes staying focused on growth is of utmost importance. “Despite a negative market sentiment, key areas such as infrastructure, DeFi, gaming, and the metaverse continue to progress,” Weber says. “I see decentralization as less of a focal point compared to earlier times. Rather, the focus today is shifting more towards adoption, user experience, and bridging traditional industries. The best thing anyone can do right now is to just start your metaverse journey.”
Selected to join the inaugural Brinc x The Sandbox Metaverse accelerator program in Fall 2022, Weber recalls that learning the importance of growth was his main takeaway. “We learned how to optimize internal structures, streamline our processes, and enhance efficiency, resulting in a strong foundation to grow,” he says. “We refined our ability to articulate and showcase what we are building, which has been instrumental in attracting new investors, partners, and clients. Brinc’s accelerator program also significantly expanded our network for collaboration, investment, and market expansion — particularly in Asia.”
Aged 25, and having invested and worked in the blockchain space since 2016, Weber is often dubbed a “crypto veteran.” On a mission to cultivate a decentralized future, he identifies five key areas that shape the industry today:
- Fundraising Environment: In a post-crash fundraising landscape, we must keep exploring diverse avenues such as token sales, strategic partnerships, or venture capital to provide the necessary resources to fuel Web3 projects.
- Educational Onboarding: With the growing popularity and adoption of cryptocurrencies and decentralized applications, assessing the competitive landscape and identifying unique value propositions are essential for differentiation and success — especially for businesses and developers.
- Data Standards: Establishing robust and interoperable data standards across Web3 protocols and platforms will enable stronger collaboration, data sharing, and innovation within the ecosystem.
- Intersection with Brands/IPs/Corporates: Exploring partnerships and leveraging established brands, intellectual properties, and corporate entities presents exciting opportunities for synergies and wider adoption of Web3 technologies by mainstream audiences.
- AI: The current AI hype is also affecting Web3, where many new projects now involve it or existing ones are pivoting to it. To me personally, the AI hype was expected — hence, my key crypto-investment focus in the past 3-4 years was AI and data with projects such as FetchAI and Ocean Protocol. (Sidenote: This is, however, not investment advice of course…)
Young Gun Spirit
Not surprisingly, many young Web3-startup founders look up to Weber. As an active mentor, he is a keen advocate of a global, virtual community that facilitates advancement and eschews restrictive “societal standards” such as age, ethnicity, cultural and educational background. He’s also a big believer in sharing knowledge and collective building, and advises up-and-coming Web3 startup enthusiasts to:
1) Dive into “Learning By Doing”: The Web3 space is evolving rapidly, so it’s crucial to stay curious and continuously educate yourself about emerging technologies, trends, and best practices. Engage with the community, attend events, and participate in discussions to expand your knowledge base.
2) Build a strong network: Surround yourself with like-minded individuals and actively seek out mentors and advisors who can provide guidance and support. Networking not only opens doors to potential partnerships and collaborations but also exposes you to diverse perspectives and valuable insights.
3) Iterate, adapt and focus: In the dynamic world of Web3 startups, agility is key. Be open to feedback, iterate on your ideas, and pivot when necessary. The ability to adapt quickly to changing market conditions and user needs will significantly contribute to your success.
“Education and networking are key to achieving anything,” Weber says. Key themes that consistently come up for his start-up mentees are: network leveraging and fostering valuable connections, developing creative campaigns with innovative storytelling, enhancing user-journey and product architecture, and formulating a comprehensive company strategy.
For THE HUB, forging ahead on its mission to become the one-stop platform for the metaverse, progress is reflected in exciting upcoming product updates focused on investing, building and experiencing; a user growth rate of 1,250% this past year; and new partners, including the FITCHIN esports community platform. “Our upcoming focus includes further enhancing our platform’s features to provide a more unified user experience and exploring new market opportunities for expansion,” he says. “We are also actively engaging with potential investors and partners to secure funds and complete our Seed Round.”
As part of the post-accelerator journey, that includes Brinc lining up THE HUB to participate in industry events such as WOW Summit Hong Kong and VivaTech in Paris earlier this year, the two teams shall reunite at Token2049 in Singapore in September 2023. “Whether online or in Singapore, I am happy to connect with anyone in need or genuinely interested in collaborating,” he exclaims. “Just hit me up on my socials under @thenicolasweber.”
Interested startups can apply to Brinc’s Web3 accelerator programs here.