According to research issued this week by blockchain analytics firm Nansen, the NFT industry was valued $41 billion at the end of last year, nearly as large as the traditional art market by some estimates, and it’s anticipated to nearly quadruple in size by the end of 2022. Individual NFT ventures must find strategies to distinguish out as the space grows increasingly congested in order to flourish. Because the crypto ecosystem is so close-knit, rewarding clients for repeat transactions is frequently a crucial driver of success. “Right now, there are just too many NFT initiatives and not enough utility [for NFT holders],” said Brandon Bryant, a partner at venture capital company Harlem Capital.
That’s why, according to Bryant, Harlem Capital invested in Glow Labs, a white-label platform that lets businesses and entrepreneurs to create their own loyalty rewards programs on the blockchain. Glow Labs, which began in November 2021, is the brainchild of Annie Reardon and Renee Russo, two programmers in their twenties who met at JPMorgan, where they worked on the Chase site and mobile app’s developer team. According to Russo, Reardon and Russo are now co-CEOs of Glow Labs.
Russo, who launched her own NFT initiative in 2021 while still working at JPMorgan, claimed she had been investing in crypto as a hobby since 2016. She intended to thank her consumers for their devotion with an airdrop of a free NFT, which she believed would inspire them to stay engaged with her initiative. Despite Russo’s technical experience, she stated that delivering the airdrop was so difficult that it took her and her team nearly four weeks to complete and cost $10,000. After that experience, she discovered that building community through loyalty programs in web3 was prohibitively complex from a technological standpoint, so she teamed up with Reardon to create an easy-to-use alternative for project developers.
Glow Labs’ platform allows producers to deploy a smart contract in seconds with no coding necessary, allowing them to develop personalized loyalty incentives with less effort, according to Russo. According to the firm, there are four key incentives elements available currently. Gas back is one of the rewards Glow Labs helps its clients launch. With the purpose of promoting repeat transactions, projects might offer to reimburse the gas charge necessary to mint an NFT on behalf of their clients for future purchases.
According to Russo, the platform also promotes initiatives that reward both early adopters and loyal holders. It also enables artists to reward their audiences for participating in the project on social media, generating excitement for spreading the news on Twitter or Discord. Glow Labs collects social media interaction metrics on the back end and presents a complete dashboard to its customers. According to the business, their analytics platform recognizes social participation for a specific project automatically and can offer prizes to users in real time.
While the startup is now focusing on web3 native enterprises and projects, Russo stated that the company aims to ultimately attract traditional businesses who wish to attract clients through blockchain-based rewards. But first, Reardon told TechCrunch, the firm wants to “rinse, repeat, and acquire as much data as [it] can to identify [consumer] stickiness.”
“I’d estimate 75 percent of our talks now are with NFT initiatives or DAOs, and 10% to 15% of our conversations are with companies that have already done an airdrop, so we’re not persuading them of the [value of] blockchain,” Reardon said. According to the business, its existing customers include web3 accelerator Atlas Lyons Club and jewelry NFT marketplace Digital Twin. Glow Labs is far from the first company attempting to create a product that uses web3 to foster community and brand involvement. Ty Haney, the creator of the sports gear firm Outdoor Voices, made headlines last month when she introduced her new venture, Try Your Best, which intends to let marketers reward customers with blockchain-based assets.
But, according to Russo, Glow Labs differentiates from Try Your Best and other comparable platforms due of its B2B focus. “We supply software and tools, and we let users to design their own tokens, have their own branding, and empower them to run their own rewards program,” Russo explained. “Other competitors use their own branding or token, or they’re only rewarded on one platform.” The firm has gotten a lot of interest, but for the time being, Russo said, the company is choosing to be choosy about which clients it invites on board. Glow Labs is now focusing on partnering with businesses that have completed two to three airdrops, according to Reardon.
“I believe that was a challenge.” “There’s a lot of demand from the web2 side,” Reardon said, “but we really need [those firms] to find their way, find their route, and then we can circle around and do the incentives.” Glow Labs has secured $4.15 million in seed investment headed by Harlem Capital, with Forerunner Ventures’ Kirsten Green, Female Founders Fund, Red Beard Ventures, and Human Ventures also participating.
The company’s long-term ambition, according to Russo, is to collaborate with a larger spectrum of organizations than only seasoned NFT projects. Because its investors’ areas of expertise tend to congregate around consumer items, particularly those suited to women, she noted, Glow Labs has seen a lot of inbound interest from the fashion industry. “We absolutely see Glow Labs as bridging the gap between web2 and web3, as well as offering those tools.” “There will be a Squarespace of web 3, a Stripe of web 3, and a loyalty rewards program for web 3,” Russo said. “We want to be the plug-in for each initiative or business that enters the field.”