Web3 Entrepreneurship: 10 Secrets from Successful Web3 Companies
You probably have in mind a few success stories of Web3 entrepreneurs who managed to create successful Web3 companies. Indeed, we can think about Changpeng Zhao from Binance, Sam Bankman-Fried from FTX, Nicolas Julia from Sorare, etc. However, few resources decrypt the secrets and learnings of the success of these disruptive Web3 companies. Understanding the reasons and secrets of their success is a rather difficult task… Good timing? An incredible team? Special marketing strategies? The reasons can vary and are numerous…
Even though some details may remain private forever, we can still draw some conclusions and learn from successful Web3 companies. In this article, I will dive into the top 10 secrets I’ve heard from successful Web3 entrepreneurs that you might want to try for your Web3 business.
My name is Julian, co-founder of The Secret Company. We have been developing several ambitious Web3 startups for 2 years now (Mobula, StaySAFU, Safetin). We went from 0 to 1M users with our crypto-scanner StaySAFU and attracted more than 50,000 active users on our decentralized data aggregator’s beta version Mobula.
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Let’s get to the heart of the matter. I will share with you a list of the 10 essential secrets of successful Web3 companies. They are shared by their co-founder directly or analyzed externally.
Secret #1: No need to scream Web3 everywhere
I’ve spotted this interesting learning for many successful Web3 startups. If you want to create a disruptive and ambitious Web3 project that will go mainstream, don’t use a lot of Web3 jargon (crypto, nft, blockchain). This would create complexity.
👉 Web3 is still misunderstood by much of the world. People don’t quite understand what it means, and it’s a nice name that covers a lot (too much) elements (crypto-currency, nft, blockchain, decentralized techno, etc.).
For the general public, Web3 and blockchain can be associated with something very unstable, sometimes even scammy or illegal… Yet, most people don’t understand how it works (and aren’t interested in understanding it).
As for projects that rely entirely on their Web3 branding => “the Web3 version of”. I think it’s not very suitable. We started presenting ourselves this way with Mobula.fi before we realized that it created more complexity than anything else. Our way of presenting ourselves is now very different. We’re a next-generation data aggregator, using the power of blockchain & DeFi to propose a better user experience.
🔥 Sorare is a wonderful example of this.
Even though some people know that their game cards are NFTs, they don’t communicate much about it. They preferred insisting on what makes them unique and the benefits of this technology. You won’t read anything about Web3 on their website, yet people clearly understand what they do and their value proposition. Thanks to this, they quickly conquered a global market of Web3 non-initiated people.
Secret #2: Build an offer/product, not a token.
A common mistake for people who start Web3 entrepreneurship is to work first on their token than on their offer/product and thus the usefulness of the token… It’s like building a roof before you have a house! Your token, if you have one, must be an element of your project, of your offer/product, but it must not be the center of it.
👉 For the last two years, the Web3 sector has been a jungle. Thousands of entrepreneurs came up with ideas for crypto applications and focused on launching their tokens. There was a total lack of clarity on these tokens and much speculation. Many entrepreneurs raised money by focusing on presenting their idea, roadmap, and token. As a result, for the majority, the team behind the project did not deliver on their promises and abandoned the project. They took advantage of the fundraising to leave the project with money without building or solving anything.
Today, most consumers don’t even care about the tokens themselves; what really matters are the project holders. Also, launching a token takes a lot of work, so don’t just do it on purpose. First, build something useful, valuable, and trustworthy for people. Then, validate it with a community and try to find some interest. Of course, the token will come later, at the right time.
🔥 Mobula, focused on the product rather than the token
With the Mobula team, we focus on the tool and its use. It is now at 50,000 monthly active users. The token is in testing but is not available for purchase or trade. The token will be officially launched once we have validated the business model around the Mobula ecosystem and significant product usage.
Secret #3: User benefits first!
As I said in my article Entrepreneurship in Web3: The complete guide: Web2 is saturated with offers. Do the exercise yourself, and look for something on the web. You will find several solutions for most of your requests more or less similar to your search. The consumer now wants more than just a solution to his problem/need. You must therefore build your project around a solution to a real problem that brings even more than this solution. Every choice you make must be based on the benefits for your users.
👉 Web3 is becoming a wild place, and there is no lack of entrepreneurs… Tools are appearing everywhere, but few are fully oriented toward their consumers. If you have a long-term vision, most successful entrepreneurs advise being as close as possible to the users’ demands and criticisms. Value creation is the basis of everything that happens in your business: the customer is king, and the more they benefit from your services, the more you will grow. Everything in your project should be designed to benefit the user.
1 — You are a browser and wish to integrate ads to make your product viable. No worries, put ads but your users must benefit from a part of what their activity will generate thanks to the ads => Brave browser
2 — You want to launch a telegram & discord bot to create brand awareness of your product. Ok, launch a completely free and Whitelabel bot that will be twice as efficient as the paid bots that can be found on the market => Mobula.fi with is Mobula bot to grow passively Web3 communities
🔥 STEPN user benefits strategy
They wisely focused on the value brought to their first users and made a very powerful product from this. Everything in their app is made to help their customers: they enhance their lifestyle, earn money for doing it, and can be granted special contributions.
Secret #4: Best UI/UX, for everyone
The design always participates in the experience and therefore in the adoption. Any user struggling at first use of the product can be considered lost forever… The rule is wild, but if a user doesn’t understand your product, he might simply leave it!
👉 Web3 remains quite difficult to understand for some people, and the technology behind it evolves very quickly. That’s why Front-end (basically your product interface) needs to be as simple as possible to use !!
Talking both about the UX and the UI, a good product is a product where a user that is completely new to blockchain technology can understand the basic features of your product and navigate through it without any problems.
To fluidly progress in your product, I highly recommend using a data-driven approach based on hot maps to identify and correct any friction in the user flow. If you’re interested in learning more about these techniques, you can check out my recent article about them! 🚀
🔥 Mirror experience
Mirror is a great example of a company that created a clear user experience. Their interface is both simple and attractive. Moreover, no need to be a blockchain expert to understand the main features and benefits of the product.
Here is a great resource on how Polygon tries to solve UX/UI problems:
Secret #5: Bootstrap!
I know that we see daily articles about huge fundraisers everywhere, but raising funds is a very long process. And sometimes it’s useless and even constraining in early-stage.
👉 I’m not saying you shouldn’t raise funds in any case… Every situation is different, and some projects can need funds earlier. But as a business, we can sometimes postpone our fundraising and still have very good results, focusing on the product & organic growth. Moreover, it will enable you to validate your Product market fit before throwing anyone’s money out of the windows. Never forget that funds are only a way to accelerate, not to validate. What matters is that you’re building something valuable and creating high value for your customers.
🔥 Mobula, in the spotlight
We tried to raise funds a few months ago to accelerate our early growth. But it was super long, very energy-consuming, and we felt like we didn’t do the right thing. So we decided to stop and bootstrap for a few more months… And guess what? It was maybe one of our best decisions for now! We could spend way more time focusing on what really matters: our product and our first users. And all the time we did earn made it possible to acquire hundreds more users within a few weeks without spending a single dollar.
If you want to learn more about bootstrapping and try it with your own business, you should check my dedicated newsletter, where I give weekly insights on our strategies and build in public with YOU!
👉 Check it Out Here (100% FREE)
Secret #6: The importance of branding
Once again, in a booming industry that is still misunderstood by much of the population, the design and branding of your project will be a major point for mass adoption. Most Web3 enthusiasts are passionate about technology, which is why there is a lot of futuristic and highly tech branding. You have to get out of this spectrum to create a visual universe that doesn’t scare and speaks to everyone.
People are very attached to modernity. It creates confidence, a sense of expertise, and professionalism. Web3 still relies heavily on a kind of imagination of freedom, modernity, and infinite possibilities for the future. Your brand must therefore convey the same emotions. However, you should not fall into too complex and deep branding, which is the case of most Web3 projects today. In most projects, you should try to make your project understandable for someone who has never heard of Web3.
Of course, the design depends on your project. If you are developing a Web3 protocol for developers, you don’t necessarily have to be understood by everyone. The rule behind this is to avoid trying to reinvent every brick of your project if some bricks are already solidly integrated.
This is the case for example with Sorare which disrupted fantasy games (online simulations that let players assemble fictional squads of actual players from a particular sport) but didn’t reinvent all of its elements like for example the design of its fantasy card which uses a classic card game format (but modernized and digitized)
🔥 Ledger and its futuristic branding
I share with you a short video of Ledger sharing his vision of the brand:
Secret #7: Build in public
This advice started to be very famous in blockchain-led companies, but still, it’s not really applied correctly… Concretely just tell anything about what you’re doing and let people build it with you as much as possible.
👉 The idea is to take your future users along for the ride as developing your product. Your close community should be able to try out any new features as soon as it has been created. Share as much as possible about your product and your vision for it to get lots and lots of concrete feedback. You can ask the community for new features and make daily/weekly reports on the decisions and milestones achieved. If you can do it open-source, it’s even better! The god level is to attract users to develop new things with you!
🔥 Build with Immutable X
You can help them build new things and be granted for it or even contribute to their documentation! But the best is that you can build your own NFT project or Web3 product directly thanks to Immutable. They ensure security and scalability, as well as a full developer kit. You just need to start building with them…
Secret #8: Think Interoperability
Contrary to former thoughts that the world would be propelled only by a few huge blockchains, we are clearly moving toward cross-chain systems that operate with hundreds of different chains.
👉 Connecting to other tools and networks is a very important feature to consider when building a Web3 business! Interoperability will be a synonym for freedom of mobility for users since it’s supposed to enable accessibility to many other applications across different chains without leaving DeFi. So that’s important to build your architecture or APIs that can be prepared to connect with other chains and open to new markets if you want to keep a long-range perspective.
What’s so powerful with Opensea is that they can connect with so many chains and offer cross-blockchain compatibility to their customers! Basically, their marketplace first relied on game developers to drive business; new categories were continuously added to keep their market growth. They managed to focus on a niche at first and prepared to connect progressively with any interesting blockchain.
Here is an interesting resource for those who want to learn about it:
Secret #9: Start by creating a community
There is no easier way to sell a product than already having a community. Most entrepreneurs start with the product, then struggle to sell it or find early adopters…
Beyond disrupting technology, Web3 might have impacted our society in the way to market a project. Handling marketing in cryptocurrencies is really different from the common practices in web2. One main rule: community first.
Everywhere in the web3 ecosystem, you will hear people talking about how their communities were developed. This could be associated with the cultural change related to decentralization. People are willing for more transparency, security, and ownership. They wish to be involved in what they invest in. They want to bring a commitment to the technology they believe in. That’s why we observe such devotion to building communities around disruptive web3 projects.
I talk in detail about the importance of communities in the success of a Web3 project & how to develop them: Inside Web3 💎 | Creating a community in Web3
Several reasons to start with the community:
- You’ll have many insights on the product for free (building in public). It will help build your features faster and get efficient reviews to improve them. The best reviews come from the users themselves.
- It’s also a way to validate your business idea and highlight new pains after discussing them with your future users. When we start building a product, we have many ideas and want to build everything before the release. But sometimes, some features can be useless or a bit different from reality, so it’s important to discuss with a community and see their reaction to your business idea early.
- Finally, it’ll make it really easier to start selling your product at launch. Federating a community ensures you get your early adopters “for free” rather than spending huge amounts of money on launch strategies.
I recommend you create your community as soon as possible to create a sense of belonging and co-creation among the community members. This sense of co-creation will strengthen the commitment of your community members and create a kind of army, super motivated to help you grow your project.
By the way, we’ve created the Mobula Telegram & Discord bots to help you grow your community passively. You can gain members and engage your community passively with a self-rewarding bot based on the contribution of each community member, send personalized push notifications to your community members directly through the bot, and much more.
I have several free lifetime accesses to Mobula bot. If you want to reserve your free access to the Mobula Bot (lifetime + white label), you can fill out this form: https://forms.gle/VNBqZapjNw6kx5vY6
🔥 Avalanche (AVAX), leverage N1 = community!
They built a huge community of fans while building their product, and we can feel these people's attachment to the brand. Using local events, community projects, and a solid network propelled by social media in up to 20 different languages, they created insane proximity with their users and could federate them under their project.
Secret #10: Be transparent
Most people are tired of Web2 because of a lack of transparency. Transparency on data, on their money, for instance… Telling them the same things you would tell your mom about the project is the best way to create a trustful spirit around your company!
👉 In Web3, more than everywhere, people expect you to be honest about your results and give them as many insights as possible on how you use their data or their money (for further development purposes, for instance). Transparency is one of the pillars of Web3 and what makes it so powerful.
To do so, feel free to share your results publicly with your users. Be close to your customers and tell them how their money will be used to improve their experience on the platform for instance. Share a coherent and powerful vision of your brand. There are many ways to do it, but I think it’s really necessary anyway! Telling almost anything to your users is the right way to create sincere trust and love.
🔥 Mobula, fully transparent
Tell anything to customers… that’s the bet we decided to take at Mobula. And for now, it’s really working. People contact us to thank this transparency, and we try to give they more every time. To do so, we published a lot of documentation on any aspect of the project so that people can understand how it’s built and works… We make a recurring announcement on new decisions and changes in the team and on the product. Also, don’t feel confused about problems; people know that a company can make mistakes and they will appreciate it if you explain them in public.