Episode 65: All Things NFTs and Web3 with Drew Austin

Ben Lakoff, CFA
March 7, 2022
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Today's interview is with Drew Austin.

Drew covers a very broad spectrum on all things NFTs, exciting Web3 projects, and the Metaverse. Drew is the Managing Partner of Red Beard Ventures and Co-Founder of Knights of Degen among all of the other crypto stuff he's deeply involved with.  Red Beard Ventures invests in Web 3.0 infrastructure and other frontier technologies.

Enjoy this episode with Drew Austin!

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Show Notes

0:00:00 Welcome and context

0:00:17 What is your background?

0:02:26 Overview of the Crypto market right now?

0:09:05 What is the most overhyped segment in NFTs right now?

0:11:51 What segment in NFTs you are most bullish on right now?

0:14:00 What things do you disagree with?

0:17:13 What do you think about regulation?

0:24:10 How do you think through valuations?

0:26:30 Regulatory risks with these early investments

0:28:30 What are your thoughts on anon projects?

0:29:41 What are Knights of Degen?

0:35:56 What would you have changed about Knights of Degen from your current knowledge?

0:40:19 How do you manage your time between all projects you're involved with?

0:43:41 Where can people find out more about you?

Show Links

RedBeard Ventures

Fan Controlled Football

Knights of Degen

Drew on Twitter

Wilder World


Green Park Sports

Superworld AR

Helpful other Alt Asset Articles

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Ben: Welcome to the alt asset allocationpodcast, exploring alternative investment opportunities available to theeveryday investor. Here's your host Ben Lakoff.

Good afternoon. Drew excited to have you on today. Wanted tostart off just by getting a little bit more about your background and how yougot into.

[00:00:25] Drew: Sure. Thanks, Ben. Yeah. And so mybackground I'm drew Austin, founder of red beard ventures, founder of one ofthe co-founders of Knights and DJN and a few other projects. You know, I gotinto crypto, I was an oven investing in Bitcoin since 2013. Actually. I see mybuddy Dan on, in the audience here and we actually bought Bitcoin together in 2013.

We met somebody, we met some. I think it was called, like thewebsite was local I believe. And there was you had to like meet,meet the person in person. It was like a drug deal, handed him some cash,scanned a barcode, a QR code. And and the next thing I know I had my firstBitcoin, so I've been in crypto since 2013.

Been in, I bought my first entities, like end of 18, early 19from super rare. Started off a red beard ventures, syndicate, which is an angellist, syndicate that accredited and venture investors can join and can can jointo invest in other, you know, companies that I'm investing in. We started thatabout 15 months ago or so maybe, maybe a year and a half ago.

And. We've done about 85 investments so far. So we've beensuper active and I'd probably say one of the more active web three investors.And I'll kind of go through the portfolio and talk through things later. But Istarted that about 18 months ago. Now I'm raising a fund. It's a web, veryfocused funds, so that's really exciting stuff.

And then we also, I'm involved in you know, a co-founder ofnights, a DJ, which is an amazing. The project and community where we'rebuilding this like sports and media empire and the metaverse, and I'm reallypumped about all the stuff that's going on there. We can talk about that. Andthen I'm a part of a bunch of doubts.

So we've got a lot going on. It's pretty exciting stuff,

[00:02:01] Ben: indeed. And this is part of the joy ofthe crypto market, right? There's so many different, interesting, fascinatingthings, but. 85 investments in 18 months. We're definitely going to get intothat and Knights of Deakin and all the details. There's tons and tons to unpackthere, but I wanted to start.

And obviously right now, this is being recorded. The 2nd ofMarch. So Ukraine, there's a lot of politics in max. So trying to stay a littlebit away from that if possible, but just start by giving an overview of thecrypto market where we are right now and kind of then jumping intotransitioning a little bit more into NFTs.

[00:02:41] Drew: Yeah. I mean, so the, the comparison. Towhere I see like the NFT web three space right now is I look at it as similarto where we were in crypto back in like tobacco years back. So if you thinkabout crypto 2010 to 2018, we were, you know, we were speculating. We wereinvesting in tokens and white papers and.

Completely like kind of forward-thinking and visions, but therewas no real utility products were still being built. We were kind of like inthat phase where we were speculating on which companies and products and ideasare going to be able to like kind of last the test of time and will sustainthrough a winter, et cetera.

And you know, what happened was the ICO bubble crashed and fromthere and that, and then the shit companies died, the good companies built andout of that then came down. And defy brought utility to all those tokens and onwhite papers that we were speculating on and took the whole space toastronomical new Heights.

I actually see a very similar pattern and trend happening rightnow in web three, with Indiana T space with entities, like since 2017, 18, weknow we've been speculating on different IP brands and different types ofapproaches and experiences and projects, and trying to find those projectsthat'll stand the test of time.

And you know, I think that at some point there will be awinter. And I think that there'll probably be two kind of major moments thatare going to be the drivers of taking NFTs to new Heights and bringing trueutility to the space. I think one will be the play to earn gaming movementwhich we can, you know, go into in a bit.

But I see that more 12 to 36 months out. I think the next 12months are going to be a lot of shitty games coming into the market that we'regoing to have to Dodge and weave. And then I think that from there you know, Ithink that the true kind of like the true organic environment that is, thatwill provide native utility to NFTs is an actual interactive and immersivemetaverse.

So when we're. Putting on VR helmets you know, going into themetaverse, Apple's built their VR helmet, it's thrown their, you know, throwntheir hat into the ring. And we're, you know, working, living, playingsocializing in the metaverse that's when we're going to have true utility forthese NFTs. And I think that's, what's going to take the, that that will be theNFTs define moment.

And I think that's going to take the whole space to newHeights.

[00:05:02] Ben: Yeah, absolutely. There there's a lot tounpack there. I want to actually start with the metaverse. So I just listenedto Lex Freedman's like three hour podcast with mark Zuckerberg talking aboutMetta, which is, you know, previously Facebook and his plan for the metaverse.

But there's a lot of these crypto projects that have beentalking about the metaverse now with apple and Facebook and. Epic and everybig, big company. What's your thesis on the metaverse is it a open and moredecentralized or like in how do those compete with these bigger centralizedmore well-funded companies like Facebook or apple?

[00:05:45] Drew: Yeah, I think, I think there's going tobe a role for different types of Metta verses. I think there'll be niche matterversus I think there'll be all types of things. My belief is that. We aremoving towards a decentralized economy, a decentralized world. And and Ibelieve in the open metaverse. But I do think that that doesn't mean thatthere's going to be one winner per se.

I think there will be various metaverses that provide differenttypes of experiences. Like for example, as a, as an investor in red beardventures. I've invested in multiple different Mehta verses and have differentthesis around you know, each one. And I'll give you an example, like I'm aninvestor in Wilder world.

I believe Wilder world is one of the most impressive openmetaverse companies that I've ever seen, period. I think that they are, I couldpicture myself in the future. Owning property, owning cars having an office,you know, having meetings, having social events and, and doing that in, in wildworld. So I'm I'm I'm definitely a believer in, in that being an open metaversethat is going to be a place where, you know, we, we can potentially live with.

But I'm also an investor in sandbox and I think sandbox haspositioned themselves as one of the cars that could be the leading gaming.Metaverse where it really kind of helps us. It kind of bridges the gap betweenlike the Minecraft world and social networking and the. Build this kind of likemini mini games within brands and properties and communities.

So like I see, I see sandbox has been a major driver cause Ialso think gaming is going to be one of the major drivers period in web threeof, of just adoption of users. But then, you know, there's also niche Mehtaversus like green park sports. We're an investor in green park. They havelicenses with the NBA and MLB and NFL and MLS, et cetera.

That to me is going to be very interesting as a sports platformand a sports metaverse and trying to take like fandom to the digital world. Youknow, we're investors in super world, which is taking which I, which is anaugmented reality layer on top of, of, of Google earth. And to me, what I findfascinating about that one is specifically about how how like physical eventscan have digital experiences in the metaverse.

So like, is there going to be a way where through augmentedreality that you are at a festival music festival and you can interact withwhoever's owning that property in that specific land that you're standing inyou know, on. And interact with the experiences and the content that thatlandowner has created has created.

So there are a lot of different types of, I think,opportunities for Mehta versus to, to spring up and provide different types ofunique experiences. But I do think that like at the end of the day there willbe certain ones that will win in terms of social and, and work and all of that.It's interesting to

[00:08:29] Ben: watch.

I do agree that it's not kind of a one. One person to win themall. There's a space for the apple and Android, multiple different, moretailored versions, for sure. When thinking about metaverse and all of thesedifferent niches within the NFT market. You know, my next question would beabout what the NFT market is so broad, but what do you see as the mostover-hyped segment right now and why?

[00:08:59] Drew: Well, I think played around gaming isgoing to be terribly over-hyped for the next year. I think we're going to go Ithink people are going to be throwing out terrible, like shit games for thenext 12 months. And taking advantage of the vision of what played earned gamingwill ultimately be, but with like some really low quality games.

And I think that it's going to take us, you know, any good gamedeveloper will kind of tell you that it takes about two years to build a reallyquality. And, you know, people have been working on plate and games pretty muchfor the last six months or so. So I, you know, I think that there, we're goingto see a movement of, you know, a lot of games that people are going to feel.

There's going to be rugs. There's going to be, you know, poorexperiences. There's going to be like, you know, there's going to be somechallenges I think, in the plate or, and movement. But I think actually thenext 12 to 36 months is when we're going to see the game, the play to earnedgaming economy reach incredibly new Heights.

And I also think there's a, it's a, there's fascinatingresistance happening from the traditional gamer markets and gamer audience thatWe'll also be fascinating to see how they respond and how long it takes them toactually understand what's happening here. And that, you know, it's like, Ifind the fact that these traditional gaming audiences think that, you know,that the NFT market is, is out for, you know, taking their money and all thatstuff.

I find it to be crazy, like so interesting and like, Odd because,you know, they really don't own anything in the gaming world. They play intoday. They buy all this stuff and they leave it in the game. But the NFTmarket and NFT world promises like a new world of ownership and a way that youcan actually take the assets that you've earned in games and, and bring them tonew eco to bring them to new environments or, or create utility outside of thegaming world.

So to me, I just think there's just such, there's such adisconnect between traditional gaming audience and the web three kind of likevision of gaming. And it's gonna take a little while to build that bridge and,you know, it's gonna also, we're going to go through our bumps in the roadbecause of that, because this year is going to show a lot of, probably negativeexperiences with what play to earn can really bring.

So, but, but I think eventually as some of the quality gamemakers create games where you can actually earn within that economy and, andbring that out and, and, and participate in the real world, I think that'sgoing to be a kind of driver of new users and and new opportunities.

[00:11:08] Ben: Yeah, definitely.

And it's almost like a new Trojan horse for a whole new segmentof people, but like you said, these games, real games that people love and careabout, take a lot longer than we think to actually develop. So on the flip sideof that, like what segments of the NFT market are you most bullish on rightnow?

[00:11:32] Drew: I think the, you know, personally, I'm abig believer in the Dao ecosystem. I think the doubt infrastructure, I thinkDow is, are going to be, I think this is going to be a pivotal year for Dows. Ithink that Dow's are going to be the foundation of how we build businesses inthis, in this web three world.

And I think the discovery process that we're all going throughto create Dows to understand how to organize Dows. How, how to, you know, thinkabout. Earning endows and, you know, there's just so much to, there's so muchinteresting how, you know, how to think about treasury management and votingand participation and community involvement.

I just think there's, you know, token Nomics you know, likethere's just so much to think through when it comes to Dow creation and Dowstructure that to me, that's the, one of the most that that'll be, that's like,what I'm really, really excited about this year is seeing how Dows continue toevolve and progress.

And. I also think that and I, I think it's one of the mostexciting things I'm working on with nights at DGN is thinking through our, youknow, how our Dow will be structured and formed, et cetera. But the, and theother thing I think is going to be, and it's, you know, it goes hand in hand,but the other thing that I'm really excited to look into and explore and learna lot about, and I, I'm very excited to see how the ape token kind of how Hreleased their token is like, I think this year is also going to be a very bigyear for us to go from.

Projects that have NFTs to projects that have NFTs and tokens.And I think the token economy of within, within NFT projects and community is,is going to be really fascinating to see how that unfolds, how value accrues todifferent assets, how utilization of tokens can you know, go beyond their kindof like internal community and game and go and reach.

Places outside of their own ecosystem. So, you know, this is alot of what I'm thinking about for nights, a DJ, but also what I'm excited tolearn about this year through iterations and people releasing andexperimenting.

[00:13:26] Ben: Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, the there'sa package of. Article the it's just practice.

And then I think about those often, because you know, there arethese tokens and dowels and all of these new new experiments going on, butultimately it's, this is not its final form. And this is all just kind ofpractice for the next stage and putting these things together in new uniqueways. And the composable nature of crypto allows you to piece these thingstogether in new ways that yeah, it's, it's gonna be, it's gonna be reallyexciting for sure.

All right. So I'm curious, like you're doing a lot ofinvesting, talking to a lot of projects. What narrative do you hear within theteam markets constantly that you disagree with besides I guess, play to earnbeing the next thing in the next three months?

[00:14:19] Drew: What do I disagree with? You're sayinglike, what's the, what's the common thing that people brought and I disagreewith.

What do I disagree with? Give me an example. Tell me what your.

[00:14:30] Ben: No. Well, I mean the play to earn beingthe next big thing that we'll be launching next month, because it does take,you know, at least two years to build a game that people love and care about.So this like the narrative is that like, Throw a blockchain on the gaming andit's going to be infinitely better and it will be ready next week.

So something like that, if there is anything that comes tomind. Yeah.

[00:14:55] Drew: I think that part of it is like, I'm abig believer ultimate like there, and this is part of the reason why I fell inlove with Wilder world is like, I'm a big believer. All of this ends up,leading to a more immersive virtual world.

And I I'm a VR guy, like there's AR there's VR. You know,there's mixed reality. I happen to be on the VR team. I think that VR is themost transformative technology I've ever kind of experienced. And I think thatwhen we talk about a true immersive metaverse, you know, a lot of the metaverses that are, that are operating today are just not even close to thinking aboutVR let alone building and for VR world.

And what I thought was really impressive about how well theworld is operating is that they're building for a VR. First experience andwhether VR is there or not, they're not going to be like, they're not going towait. They're going to keep building what they believe to be the, the, the theappropriate and right environment for, for the type of experience that theywant to deliver an offer to people.

And that to me is just been like wildly impressive. So. To me.I think that, you know, I think we're still a ways out from what we allenvisioned to be a truly immersive metaverse. I think we're using the wordprobably a little early, but but it's all, it's where we're headed and it, thenwe have to build a foundation and that's what we're doing today.

[00:16:11] Ben: Nice. No, 11. I mean, regulation issomething that comes up as like a potential hurdle for the crypto space.Overall. If you could wave a magic wand and change a few things to help drivethe space overall forward, what would it be in regards to regulation?

[00:16:30] Drew: I mean, first of all I would do is I'dget rid of the accreditation laws.

I think they're total bullshit. I think accreditation laws are.I think the, the funny thing is I think the reason why a lot of NFT holders areso like ex like so passionate, so excited about this space is that it's reallythe first time many of them can have vested interests in a, in a business thatthey are participating in.

You know, like for example, You might, you know, like, there'sjust like, whether it's, unless it's like a public company, which you've missedall of that early stage upside, you know, the reality is only accredited andqualified investors get the opportunity to invest in early stage venturebusinesses, which, which is the time when you actually move the needle.

Like I'm seeing people in this audience right now. Like I see alot of that. Like I see Candyman. I see GWR I see Jigga, like these are allpeople that came into our community. They affect the business. They make animpact on the business. They, they move the needle on what we're doing everyday and that's not something you'd do in a publicly traded company.

So it's like, for me, I'm looking at this and I'm like, wow,this is the first time that many of these people and whether or not theyspecifically are, are accredited. The irrelevant. It's just at a broad scale.The fact that these people can participate have vested interests, can move theneedle and help grow the value.

And that's what I do for a living as an early stage VC, I'mtrying to find great projects to invest my capital. And then I do everything Ican to support those companies. I don't get paid extra. Just my return is Iinvest in this company and I want to see it succeed so I could get a return onmy investment.

And I think that a lot of these web three projects are, how doyou think, unfortunately, we have to play a song. The game and try to, youknow, figure out how to maneuver in the in this world, because the sec hasn'treally come clear with what the hell is going on. And we're all trying tofigure it out.

Honestly, the people that are making out best as we all experiment,trying to do a song and dance to figure out how we can participate, contribute,and earn in this new world, in a decentralized economy, the lawyers areprobably going to be the ones that make our best, because we're all running incircles, trying to figure out what we can and cannot do.

[00:18:36] Ben: Well said, I completely agree on a numberof those points that's for sure. So talking about being a VC and making theseearly investments 85 investments in 18 months, launching your next fund, Iguess let's just start with the funds investment thesis and what you aim to dodifferently.

[00:19:00] Drew: Yeah. I mean, so like we have a, I havea venture capital syndicate called red beard ventures.

That is an angel list. Syndicate. I think an angel list is ourpartner on there. Our administrator on the, on the, for the syndicated, for thefund and on the syndicate side you know, we have 12, we grew in the last 17, 18months. We started with zero, you know, I started from. And we grew to 2,700LPs that are now following and backing.

It's free to, you know, free to join and participate and to seethe different deal deals. And we've had 2,700 people that have joined the, thekid, this kind of like venture community that we've created. And we've deployedabout 40 million in capital invested in over 80 companies. And the, the, the,the thesis for the syndicate has been from.

So like, I'm a big bummer. I've been in kind of my whole life.I've been on as a founder, I've been on front, on the front, the cutting edgeof tech. So I was early in the Google glass space building enterprise softwareon Google glass, putting them on farmers and ups, drivers, et cetera. And overthe past six years, I was working on an AI enterprise software platform thatdid recruitment process automation.

And we sold that company about a year ago. So I've been alwaysplaying. Pushing the boundaries of what technology can enable. And that's whata lot of this fund is about. About the syndicate is about, is about frontier,innovative technologies. We're in festers and, you know, 75 to 80% of the dealswe did this year were web three and blockchain.

Because to me, that was why that was really the driver of whatgot me into this whole space was I just was watching the internet get rebuiltbefore my very eyes and want it to be. But you know, from there it was also,you know, we did space deals, we've done robotics fields, we've done kind ofinnovative FinTech deals.

We've done a lot of climate deals with like, you know, labgrown meats and things that we can do to, you know, You know, position society,the society to be more efficient. So we've done some really fascinating dealsand that's what we are investing out of the syndicate. And then the fund willbe a purely web three only web three blockchain fund, full stack kind of fullstack web three fund from consumer applications to infrastructure defy,metaverse and played our own DAMing.

But you know, we're looking across the, across the marketbecause I see a lot of intersec intersection between, you know, those sectorsand how they're coming together to. And new web, this new internet is going tobe off.

[00:21:14] Ben: Yeah, definitely. And the lines arealways blurring between all of these segments.

Are these all pre-sale pre-seed investment sort of things orwill you have liquid tokens in FTS metaverse land, stuff like that?

[00:21:28] Drew: Yeah. So those were the fun than thesyndicate had been equities and tokens. You know, it's kind of run the gamut.We kind of focused between pre-seed and series B I'd say has been our sweetspot.

But it's equity and tokens. And then queued up to be one of thefirst angel list rolling funds that will allow for NFT and Ft, asset investing.Cause that's a, you know, I think for me it's a big to be a. You know, aproductive investor in this space. I think you really need to come at it from a360 degree view of how you going to contribute value and how you get toparticipate.

And, you know, for us now we have the fund, we have a syndicateand we that, so the fund has a, you know, a pure focus. The syndicate allows ourinvestors to co-invest and double down on deals and take. The later stage andearlier stage, there's really not many constraints. On the syndicate side, wehave a very broad thesis on that one.

It's really opportunistic. And then the NFT said the NFT rollingfund, which hopefully will roll out in the next few months will be a, an NFTasset funds. So again, these are the ways that we're participating you know, inwith our companies and helping build out their ecosystems, et cetera. So, youknow pretty active and Ft collector and investor for the last three years, youknow, from, you know, art and I'm an investor in super air.

And that was the first NFTE I ever purchased was a piece of arton super Aaron. You know, that ended up becoming, you know, a couple of yearslater ended up becoming my first ever red beard investment was their seed andtheir a round. And then it turned out like really wonderful for us is like theytokenized and know now we're holding substantial investment in their token.

[00:22:58] Ben: Awesome. I mean, just talking about earlystage investments in this market, crazy bull market. I'm seeing pre-seedinvestment opportunities at $150 million fully diluted valuation. Like how doyou, how do you think through valuations in a market like this?

[00:23:21] Drew: Well, I think it's, I think it'sinteresting.

It's like, well, we first need to do is kind of take, take alook at things through a new lens because these are different types ofbusinesses with different liquidity paths and different dilution paths. So Ithink the people that just kind of like. As one-to-one oh my God. The valuationon a traditional equity based startup is so much lower and the blockchainimportant valuations are so high.

I think there's more to this than meets the eye and there'smore, and we have to kind of look at it through a new lens. So I do think thatthe evaluations are high. And do you think that we're at a little, I mean,there are deals I see sometimes with evaluations that come through that arejust astronomical and make really little sense to me.

But, you know, there are, you know, there are, there is alsoyeah, substantial upside, which is you know, a lot of investors that can tellyou, especially on the token side, these token, the token market caps can get,get substantially high because they're broader than their use and their utilityutility can be far broader than just the general like evaluation of atraditional company based on revenue or profits.

So a token utility can have a far greater market cap and have afar greater return on its investment as it grows as it grows and the utilitygrows. So to me, I think the, a, I think that there's you know, new dynamicswhen it comes to understanding token valuations, I think too, there often isfar less opportunities for dilution because they're not raising as many roundsand staying private for so long before they can have some type of liquidityevent.

And, you know, three, is that the liquidity, the timeline toliquidity as far faster you know, as, as opposed to waiting, you know, foreight to 10 years til a company, you know, sells or goes public, a companymight, you know, to be, you know, I might invest in an equity and then withintwo years they tokenize and decentralized their whole business.

So the liquidity opportunities are actually far faster. So, youknow, there's pros and cons and I think you have to kind of understand. Youknow, we, you know, for me, I think that although we have to be disciplined inhow we think about valuations and making sure that we can always, you know, I'mlooking when I'm thinking about the fund, I'm looking for investments that canreturn the entire fund and have 50 to a hundred X outcomes.

But, you know, we have to, we also need to consider the factthat the evaluations might be different than you. We have to look at it througha new lens.

[00:25:34] Ben: I think, I think that's all very valid. II'm curious how you think about or hedge potential regulatory risks associatedwith investing in some of these early stage projects that are, you know, verymuch in regulatory gray.

[00:25:53] Drew: I mean, one of those things it's tough.I mean, it's hard cause it's so unknown. And it's either like a part of me thathe feels like either you're going to play or you're not going to play. Youeither want to watch and let it all unfold in front of you or you to get yourhands dirty and play it. Now that I guess that part of the head for me and I, Iget lucky in this kind of regard is that I'll have investors in my fund.

LPs in my fund that are really close to the ground onpolicymaking and, and and, and dealing with the sec and the government. So Idon't want to name specific names per se, but it's like, you know, are some ofour investors are at the ground level of working with the sec and trying tohelp to, to to, to get them up to speed on what's going on in crypto and webthree and how they can, you know, not, not just like really best support whatwe're doing.

So. And I think, listen, I think, you know, there is an, alittle bit of like this, like distain for anything that sec or governmentinvolvement is, but, you know, at the end of the day, their, their interestsare to, to practice and to support a flourishing financial market. So I thinkthat if they, you know, that, you know, if we look at it from that lens, thenhopefully we have the right people and on the web three side of things, Bridgethe gap and make sure that they're up to speed and aligned and, and that on ourend, that we are aware of what's happening and informed and do our best to keepour ear to the ground.

So we know which way things are going.

[00:27:12] Ben: No, that totally makes sense. Last one onkind of the VC fund. I'm curious what your stance on a non or pseudonymousfounders and where you position yourself there.

[00:27:23] Drew: And, and, you know, founders that haverevealed themselves and hold themselves accountable. I think the anonymousstuff is it's.

It's, it's rough. You know, like I have, does that mean I won'tinvest? No, of course it doesn't mean that it doesn't mean that I, I I'm avery, you know, I try to stay open-minded and look at each situationdifferently, but you know, I'll be honest with you. I think that there'susually. I have found most projects on the web three side of things.

There's a lot more problems on the 89 on the anonymous sidethan there, than there is on the, you know, kind of synonymous revealed side.And I was a big part of what we did with nights at DJs. We were really, we werereally passionate about saying, Hey, let's put our names out there and let'sput ourselves attached to this because like, we're, you know, if something goesright or wrong, you know who to point to, you can hold us accountable and.

And I think that's a really powerful concept that you could beheld accountable for your performance, your production, and you know, who topoint to. And they can't just go and start another project just because like,is that a bad day in this project? Like we got to build through the good timesand the bad times, and our reputations are aligned to it.

And I think that's a powerful needle mover.

[00:28:29] Ben: Yeah, good stuff. Good transition intonight of Deakin. So just overview what it is and why it's important and kind ofroadmap a bit would be helpful. Yeah.

[00:28:40] Drew: Yeah, of course. I had to DJ is it'sawesome. I mean, there's just, so it's such a good for me. It's such a, it'ssuch a cool thing to be involved in because you know, I recently I've been afounder since I was 19 years old and now all of a sudden I've moved onto theventure side and I'm a full-time.

By, by being involved in nights at DGM, I get to kind of havethe best of both worlds where I'm a builder and I'm a creator and an operator.And I work amongst a team every day. But I still, you know, and, and it, butthere's so much overlap and value that it creates for my venture business. Itallows me the flexibility to be able to say, Hey, I can invest time in nightsof DJ.

And I know that the return on my time there. It, doesn't justisn't just realized through nights of DGN, but it's massively realized throughour fund and our ability to invest in great companies and how we can supportour portfolio companies and get access to great deals. So, first and foremostis like, it gives me, it gives me a, it, it scratches many itches for me, ifyou will.

Second thing is that you know what it is, and it's a DJ as a,it's a community of. People that share a lot of the same interests at it.Start, you know, we're sports fans were NFT, collectors were speculators. Weinvest in crypto, we invest in startups. We were, you know, we're kind of, youknow, really we're, we're re we were risky in nature.

But we share a lot of the same interests and passions, and thatkind of brought us together, sports betting on sports and all these differentthings that really kind of, you know, get us excited to speculate on the thingsthat we enjoy to do and to play. Kind of what we are, you know, there's, if youlook at our desk or just go through the channels and discord, you'll reallylike, kind of get a feel for what we're about, like really quickly.

I mean, you'll see there, there's a sneaker cultural channeland there's a trading sports car channel and there's a VC channel and there's acrypto token channel and there's an NFT alpha channel and there's basketballboxing fighting like a sport soccer. I mean, every, you know, These are, youknow, we kind of, our discord really just kind of reflects the things thatwe're about and the things that we're interested in, the things that we want totalk about.

So it starts at found at a foundational level with thatcommunity and those shared interests. And then from there it's a bunch of, it'san amazing team. So like our team. She is really fucking clickable. And I thinkthat is to me, one of the most underrated and powerful attributes of any NFTproject is the fact that a great team is you know, we're, we have a team that'sreally capable of being able to not only like push the boundaries and thinkcreatively and experiment and have the courage to experiment, but also toactually.

And, you know, put our word out there and then go deliver. So Ithink that the team, you know, we have my partner, Jared, Augustine, who himand I kind of like came together and got the whole thing started. And then we,you know, we brought an early founding team together of, you know, Blake Jamessat on the art side of things and Miko day we brought on Jack settlements.

We have you know, clay Sutton, who's on the marketing side andand Brendan Jarrod's brother who's on the BD and partnership side. And, youknow, we just have this like super, really stuck, you know, Peter, our CTO. Wejust have like a real rock star team with amazing advisors who like, aren'tjust advisors by name, like, you know, we have Jerry Ferrara, him and I do ashow in the CA the nights a DJ and media network.

And we have Cynthia Freeland who does a show with Jacksettlement for the nights, a DJ and for the, you know, the media. We have Jarelwho does a whole bunch of stuff with us on physical events. And, you know, wehave you know, a bunch of professional athletes, like Tiki barber, who'sworking with us on our fan controlled football team.

And, you know, so we just have a, we just have the, we have theability to recruit the right talent. To be able to take this project to, to, toblue chip and beyond levels. And and we just, like, we w like I say, like thefirst thing I was like, this isn't just a PFP project, you know, it's like,it's so much more than that, which is, what's so fascinating about it is thatit's this whole kind of like.

It's this whole community driven. I mean, we are, for allintents and purposes, we're as close to a Dao can be without it being ready tobe a Dow. I mean, and I can, and I'll go into details on what that means, but,you know, we are building a decentralized sports and entertainment brand thatis wet native.

Born into web three. So, you know, everything, when you thinkabout is how to be a true web three company in this world, and how do we how dowe provide a platform for community participation, community contribution, andthen ultimately community earnings is really what we ultimately want toachieve.

In, in our efforts here. And that's like our that's ourlong-term and short-term and medium term vision. That's like, what we thinkabout every day is how do we build a company that's far greater than the, thanthe core contributing team, but is just that, but it's just as valuable andimportant are the community.

Committees and teams that form to take some of these projectsand initiatives and take them forward. And, and there's going to be a lot ofopportunity for, and that's what we were about. Like, that's how I believe.That's what I think Dows are about is that they're a platform for people tocontribute and earn.

And that's why we're going to see a lot of really interestingthings with tokens. And it brought a lot of really interesting with Dows and, youknow, we're building with that in mind. It's like every project we focus on andcreate every venture we. Like we don't look at it as like, oh shit. Like wecan't handle it because we're too small of a team.

We're like, no, no, no, we can do this. And we're going to tapinto our community and we're going to find the best people in our community.And they're gonna be part of our team as an extension of us and we're going togo out and freaking execute and that's kind of how we've been about.

[00:34:04] Ben: Yeah, that's awesome.

I think you're, you're one of the rare operator and investorsin the space. And so it's, it's always nice to see that juggling of the both.So I'm. Knowing what you know now what would you do differently if you could donights of Dejan over again, or what, like learnings do you have now that youwish you would have applied?

[00:34:32] Drew: I mean, we've learned an absolute ton.But I think the learnings we've had is because we've went through theexperience that we did. So like in, in saying, what can we do differently? Likew of course, like, do I want our price to be higher? Do I want the floor to be.Of course, you always want that. But I always think that, like I say this allthe time, I think we've built our, I think we, we built and we continue tobuild the most sustainable kind of price action, but also just like generalfoundation of a business that has people find out about our project are goingto think it's a no brainer to be buying our NFTs.

And I I'm, I have zero doubt that we become a more valuableand, and higher price project as the, as, as we grow. So like, to me, it'slike, it's not really about like what I do differently. I think we built anamazing team, so I have no had we, we are mint. Our mint process was smooth ashell, thankfully to Peter, because he's an absolute bad-ass and, and our, youknow, our community management, like.

Like w I, I can't tell you, we got very lucky. Like we have,like, you know, I see a, I think pizza is in the audience here, but like, wegot really lucky. Like we had some early, we got, like, I don't think we everprobably imagined how important to community management and our discord modswould be et cetera.

And we just got really lucky that some people gravitated to ourvision and our brand early. And then helped carry us and really took this tothe next level because you know, we're going to make mistakes and we'recomfortable with that. Like we know that and we're, we try to be explicit aboutthis. Like, we're in this for a longterm, we're a marathon.

We're not a sprint we're going to experiment. And if shitdoesn't work, then we'll throw it away and try the next thing. Like we're notgoing anywhere because we, cause we try an idea and it doesn't work at that. Inthis world where there's so much green field experimentation should becelebrated more than ever before.

So I'm a huge believer in the fact that like I tell our teamthis all the time, I'm not kidding. Let's go out, let's swing for the fuckingfences. Let's take some shots. If it doesn't work big fucking deal, we'll goout and we'll, we'll throw it away. We'll have learned and we'll come back andwe'll try something else.

So I think that I think this is a process of learning anddiscovery that is really critical and the faster you can experiment, the fasteryou can learn that. So it's funny. Like it's like, I'm like, I it's like weirdto think back on this wall and say like, I'm not sure what I would dodifferently.

I'm sure, like there's people in the audience GWR will tell me afew things I could do differently, but, but

[00:36:52] Ben: there's always somebody that will, that'strue.

[00:36:55] Drew: I see him at the audience and there's afew, there's a few people in here. That'll that'll tell me a few things that weshould have done differently.

But like our community holds us accountable, you know what Imean? They do. And they, and they, they had passion. I'd rather, I'd ratherhave a passionate community that gives us their opinions every day that acommunity owes and give a shit like without a doubt. So for me I think thatlike, It's not really about what we do differently.

It's like, kind of like, what are we learning everyday and howdo we continue to grow? And I think the biggest learning and the biggest thebiggest advice that I could share is just how important and how and howvaluable it is to have a really strong community strike. Because to me, that'swhat it's all about.

That's that's everything. So so for me, that's the, that's thebiggest learning is that we build everything with the community in mind, and wetry to keep the community involved as much as possible without it being afriction or a delay to our ability to go out and build this business. So anyopportunity with.

To incorporate either the community council, which is, I cantell you about that in a minute, but like the community council who's likeliterally the community council was like part of our slack, like straight up,like we have an entire community group that were elected officials of ourcommunity that represent the community and are the voice of the community andare not.

Or contributor team that have a dedicated channel for them inour slack that, that we can communicate in real time about the businessactivities, because we want them to be abreast as to of things as much aspossible. So like, you know, that's now, like I think getting the communityinvolved, building you know, building out projects that they can actuallycontribute to and be a part of and really be, have vested skin in the game onthis venture, I think is so critical.

[00:38:34] Ben: Yeah. And I think that that's like aninternal battle of trying to find that balance between including the entiregroup and getting everybody's thoughts and opinions and stuff or versus, youknow, a smaller, more centralized we're going this way week because we need tomove fast. So I that's, that's an eternal struggle that's for sure.

Speaking of internal struggle, struggle. I'm curious how youmanage your time before between discord and telegram and all the differentchannels, 85 different investments and nights of Dejan having such a robustdiscord. Hopefully you have some sort of a productivity hack, you know, asking

[00:39:14] Drew: for a friend.

Yeah, of course. I mean, first is build great teams, right? Solike I'm a big believer in building infrastructure to support your ability toscale. So, you know, we have great, I, I partner and I hire and I work withreally great people that can, that can enable us to, you know, that can enableme to do what I do best and not get bogged down in the shit that I shouldn't bedealing with and shit that I shouldn't be spending time on.

First and foremost that comes down to team. Second second islike, I happen to be in this world where almost everything I do overlaps whichis amazing for me because it allows my, my, my hobbies and my passions and myfun time. My downtime is still contributing to all the shit that I, that I,that I do for a living.

So like, you know, if I'm watching a Nikki. I ended up doing apodcast about it, which I refer our, or if I'm going to go play, go watch afootball spending a day, watching football. I talk in discord with my other,with my community, or if I'm going to invest in Wilder world, I make sure thatnight's a D Jen is the first to have her in the first piece of commercial landever released in that, in that keeping that ecosystem, you know, we'reinvestors in sandbox and nights, a Djin is building out a play to earn.

In sandbox. And like that allows us to find so much overlap inthe things that I'm doing, that it would, the way I see it is like I builtthese like platforms that enabled me to support my portfolio at scale. So.Yeah. I mean, I'm part of a Dao that we created. That's called medic collectivewhich is like 25 investors.

We own 30. No, we own 30 investors, 25 pieces of land, allconnected right by the board API club in sandbox. And it's a Dao. That'sbasically. With the vision of creating a college campus lifestyle in themetaverse like a true campus in the metamours. And I'm really excited about it.It's an amazing group of people involved, but I, again, I do that and I dothese things because a, I want to understand what it takes to, to build in realestate in the metaverse and find out where the gaps are, where are theopportunities, what type of technology is going to be needed?

You know, what is it like to procure real estate in the, in themetaverse like, how can. So take this campus and create space and opportunitiesfor my portfolio companies to be able to have representation and a presence invirtual world. So like all of these things, to me, connect the dots, to be ableto build this kind of like this ecosystem.

And that's the kind of way I think about it is like, thinkabout it from an ecosystem perspective and then build platforms that give youleverage to be able to support more things at scale and have great teams inplace that enable you to do what you do best and not waste. Where

[00:41:54] Ben: can people find out more about you, yourfund nights of Dejan?

Where would you like to send?

[00:42:00] Drew: Yeah, I mean, that's the DJ and you canfind us at, at nights, a DJ on Twitter, on open seat, you know, you can findour project, tonight's a DJ. And it's an amazing NFT project that, you know,And amazing discord and go to our Twitter handle and you'll see all the linksand everything you need to find there.

But definitely check it out. Red is my Angelasyndicate and that'll take you everything else. That's where I live on angellist. And you can find me on Twitter at drew us in. Button right now in front ofyou and see that. But yeah, I mean, that's where I spend my time. I'm onTwitter.

I'm on, I'm on all the different messaging channels andplatforms, et cetera, but you can, I would definitely check out the nights ofDJ discord and check out red on the angel syndicates.

[00:42:40] Ben: Awesome. Well, excited to have you ontoday. Really appreciate it. And yeah, looking forward to watching you grow andexpand.

It's been awesome.

There, you have it. Thank you for listening. Reallyappreciate your support. Show notes, transcript links, and more can be found on our website at all. Asset Ifyou'd be so kind, please share this with anyone you think might be interested.Or get some value from this conversation.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out. I'malways happy to hear them. Lastly, if you're on YouTube, please like the videoor subscribe to the channel. If you're listening to the audio version of this,please subscribe to the podcast and, or leave a review. This really helps more peoplefind the podcast.

And I really appreciate it. Thanks again,and hope you have a fantastic day.

Happy investing.

Ben Lakoff is an entrepreneur and finance professional. He has developed strong global finance experience through 10 years of international assignments in the US, Brazil, Afghanistan, Southeast Asia, Czech Republic and through the award of his Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification.