5 Questions with GigLabs
October 4, 2021 | Scott Murphy
We’re pleased to highlight GigLabs, one of the first investments sourced by our Blockchain Fund team and a part of our Total Access Fund portfolio. GigLabs helps brands build immersive digital experiences and collectible non-fungible tokens (NFTs), — unique digital assets that are disrupting the concept of ownership. The company offers two tools: NFT Bridge and RareRooms. NFT Bridge is a cloud-based content management system that enables brands to manage the creation, distribution, and tracking of NFTs. RareRooms provides an immersive 3D environment for collectors, artists, and admirers to experience digital art and NFTs.
See below for an interview with Co-Founder and CEO Douglas Dimola to learn how GigLabs is helping major brands tap into blockchain technology.
Douglas Dimola has been building user-friendly NFT products since 2017. Prior to GigLabs, he co-founded Escape Velocity Apps, a mobile gaming startup with a focus on gaming and eSports verticals. He previously held several engineering and product roles at Georgia-based tech companies and served in the U.S. Air Force. He earned an engineering degree from Georgia Tech and an MBA from the University of Illinois.
What opportunity is GigLabs addressing in the NFT space?
Our primary focus is enabling companies to develop NFTs that engage their audience. Over the next five to ten years, we believe every company will have some sort of NFT experience as part of their brand strategy. We’re looking at NFTs as the new innovation in marketing. It gives companies a different way to reactivate their audience on a regular basis. We are building all the tools a company will need to easily create NFTs that they can bring to market in a fast, thoughtful manner, as opposed to hiring a bunch of blockchain engineers to do it for them.
What are your core products for creating and marketing NFTs?
NFT Bridge enables brands to create NFTs and either give them away or sell them to their fans. RareRooms is a metaverse that we created for our collectors to curate and display their NFT collections. It not only brings multiple users together from different communities, but also allows brands to provide their users with an experience along with their NFTs. They come up with the content and different rooms to show off their brand. It provides unique ways for brands to extend how they interact with people in the digital world.
How are brands using your platform?
Our customers are taking big steps with us. CNN was actually the first partner we launched with our platform. They built Vault by CNN, a marketplace for fans to collect and trade unforgettable moments throughout history. Our partners are also open to. trying new things with NFTs. For instance, The University of Miami is creating NFTs to engage with their donors. It really helps them sell a vision of what can be possible in the future. Another example: Athletes Unlimited produces physical cards of all their players. For next season, we’re talking about doing NFTs paired with the cards. So you get the cards in a pack, and then you can scan it and access an NFT as well.
What are some of the challenges and opportunities in the blockchain space?
It’s a huge opportunity. Back in 2017, my co-founders and I knew we wanted to do something in the blockchain and NFT space. We recognized the potential of having a decentralized system that can outlive a company. Even still today, we’re just scratching the surface as an industry. Anybody that has a brand, anybody that has a position, it’s a way to expand your reach. And 10 years from now, it’s going to be completely different. It’ll be more mainstream, and we will be one of the companies making that happen.
There are definitely a lot of challenges that we face technically. It isn’t an instantaneous process. In the early days, we used to write into a database of metadata that would run in milliseconds. Now we’re talking 10 to 15 seconds on average for a block to process. Also, the cost we incur has changed. A lot of companies would pay to use a server at a fixed price, but now it’s more common to have variable charges.
And then in terms of working with brands, it’s just a lot of education. People are definitely more knowledgeable about the space today, but we expect to continue leaning into education for the next few years. We spend a great deal of time explaining NFTs, our platform, and potential distribution strategies. Our use cases definitely help us tell the story of how brands can use NFTs.
Why did you decide to partner with Alumni Ventures and our Blockchain Fund team?
With our early investors, we’ve only taken money from people who understood what we’re doing, where we are, and where the industry is. For us, it’s not about the money. Right now, having a knowledge base is the most important thing. Because when I have a challenge or a question, I can go to my investors and they can strategize with us. They all have an opinion that can be brought together to pick the best decision possible for the company.
Alumni Ventures’ Blockchain Fund team really had a great depth of knowledge of the space. AV’s tools and the connections have also been more helpful than I would have imagined. They’re a very responsive and helpful team. When I reach out, they’re quick to make a connection or help me through a strategy question.