ICOs have become ubiquitous within the startup/tech scene. They have gained major attention as the best option in order to raise startup funding, with blockchain startups receiving 3.5x more funding from ICOs than VC in 2017. One blockchain startup that has seen great success with a recent ICO is Friendz, to connect brands with their target audience using the power of word of mouth marketing, which raised 24 million dollars in 21 days.
To get a better idea of how they did this and to learn more about the company, we spoke with Roberto Addeo, the head of Crypto Community at Friendz.
User-generated content is on the rise. How do you see brands’ use of UGC evolving over the next 3 years?
Yes true, brands are increasingly demanding real and natural UGC and we find many opportunities to evolve and offer them many custom-made services (See below)
The introduction of GDPR is likely to have an impact on digital marketing. How do you think this will impact marketing in general and other marketing streams such as influencers?
We are always for innovation, regulations and privacy and GDPR finally helps this new digital world to have some updated and clearer rules than before (considering the previous law was date 1995!)
Who do you consider to be your main competitors and how do you differentiate yourself from them?
We don’t think to have real competitors in this market because the others are mainly focused on influencers when we are focused on normal people indeed. Their campaigns’ structure is usually built around 2-3 influencers per time, we indeed have built an infrastructure able to manage 20-30k (also more in some cases) users per single campaign.
What was the main motivator to solve this problem, for example did it arise from a personal experience or something you recognized others having issues with?
Everything was born directly from the founder’s personal experience. They had the idea and since the beginning they used the power of the community (initially just few people on a facebook page) to build the app, the community (300k users at the moment) and the company.
I understand you had a very successful ICO, which raised 24 million dollars in 21 days. Do you have any advice for other startups which hope to raise funds using an ICO?
Keep in mind that will be a really hard work and, mainly, always stay focused on your idea/project/product and stay open to hearing suggestions and feedbacks. We have just launched a new B2B product in order to support and accompany startups from the first stages of the ICO journey (https://icomate.io).
What is the main focus for Friendz over the next 6 months?
Double the team from 35 to roughly 60/70 persons. Completely redesign our APP with many new functions and the FDZ wallet integrated. Export our product outside Italy starting from Spain (where we already have a team and an office in Madrid) – see our recent event in Spain – and open new commercial offices in Central Europe and Northern Europe.