Interview With Cindy Jin
Describe your product or service:
“Metapoly is the first decentralized metaverse land bank that helps general consumers drive investment in the metaverse.”
Describe your company values and mission:
“Metapoly’s mission is to expand the virtual ecosystem by providing the infrastructure for interoperability between different metaverses. By creating opportunities for ordinary people through fractional ownership, Metapoly is democratizing the Web3 space for retail investors who feel disenfranchised by the status quo. Users can now have micro ownership of digital land and assets, belong to a community, and make their voices heard in the metaverse.”
How are you funded? I.e. type of funding, number of funding rounds, total funding amount.
“We have raised a pre-seed fund of 800,000 USD through angel investors and community VCs and 200,000 USD through NFT sales.
We are now raising a seed round from bigger VCs.”
How big is your team? Tell us a little about them (I.e. co-founders, freelancers, etc.)
“We are a passionate team of 24 that work remotely all over the world. Half of us are developers, while the other half is in marketing, business development, and management teams.”
How did you come up with and validate your startup idea? Tell us the story!
“In China, we saw how people were increasingly being pushed out of jobs – particularly for people over the age of 35 – due to a lack of new skills to enter emerging technical industries. It’s a lesson we all need to learn: we have to make difficult decisions to move into industries we may be scared of. With Metapoly, there is a space for disenfranchised people to belong to a new community and vote on how the community is shaped. We want to empower people to find their voice in the metaverse.”
How did you come up with your startup's name? Did you have other names you considered?
“Metapoly is the combination of ‘metaverse’ and ‘Monopoly.’ We are positioning ourselves to be the metaverse land bank with an asset-backed stablecoin. Imagine ‘BlackRock for the metaverse,’ but decentralized and owned by a DAO.”
Did you always want to start your own business? What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
“Before I became an entrepreneur, I worked in the fashion, ecommerce, and digital marketing industries for over 15 years, but I struggled to keep my skills relevant in the fast-changing economy in China. Luckily, I was able to stay open-minded and evolve personally by developing new skills, which allowed me to make major shifts in my career.
But I started to realize that I could use my time more wisely and do something more with my skills and resources. I was always trying to work on a few projects and startup ideas on my own and thankfully had my husband alongside me, who was working on his own startup journey. I would say that developments in my career and my personal skills pushed me to become an entrepreneur.”
Who is your target market? How did you establish the right market for your startup?
“Our target markets are investors who are interested in the future of the metaverse. There are two segmented markets. The first includes the ordinary retail investors who want to have investment exposure in the metaverse land aspect with a limited budget. Instead of owning an illiquid plot of land, they can access and experience micro-ownership of metaverse land through Metapoly. The second includes the rich metaverse land owners. Metapoly also creates a market for them to capitalize on their land investment through fractionalization.”
What's your marketing strategy?
“Since we haven’t officially launched our protocol yet, we have been working on getting initial traction by building awareness of Metapoly and the community. These two aspects are extremely important and crucial for any startup to succeed.
Besides the usual marketing approaches of PR and influencer marketing, we have taken a bottom-up growth hacking approach to building our community. We embrace partnership and inclusivity, which are very key features for the Web3 space and will stay central to Metapoly’s marketing strategy as we grow.”
How did you acquire your first 100 customers?
“We presented an Initial Discord Offering (IDO pre-sale) to the early supporters through an NFT sale. Recently, we sold out our 300 Genesis NFTs.”
"The most satisfying part in entrepreneurship is how empowered you feel when you are able to achieve something that you could not have done before."
What are the key customer metrics / unit economics / KPIs you pay attention to to monitor the health of your business?
“The vision is for Metapoly to become a DAO-owned metaverse land bank. The community will have the voting power to decide what happens to metaverse land that is owned by the Metapoly protocol, so one of the most key success factors is having at least 10,000 token holders in order to truly be decentralized.
Another metric is we need to have as many metaverse projects as possible accept and adopt the Metapoly stablecoin, $USM, which will eventually have enough network impact to sustain the protocol.”
What's your favorite startup book and podcast?
“My favorite book is ‘Lean In’ by Sheryl Sandberg. My life partner, and also co-founder of Metapoly, gave me this book a few years ago as a gift.”
Is there a tool, app, or resource that you swear by to help run your startup?
“Since we are a fully remote team, we have had to rely on a lot of communication and project management tools to facilitate our daily operations. The best tools we use are Slack, Zoom, and Monday.com.”
What is something that surprised you about entrepreneurship?
“The most satisfying part in entrepreneurship is how empowered you feel when you are able to achieve something that you could not have done before. This aspect is also what keeps me moving forward.”
How do you achieve work/life balance as a founder?
“I need to work on my work-life balance a bit more. As an early-stage startup, it can be stressful, and there is always more work to be done. But I am trying to enjoy a bit of me-time every day, which goes some way to helping maintain a balance.”
What is a strategy you use to stay productive and focused?
“The amount of information and the fast pace of the Web3 world can be really exhausting and difficult to keep up with. Having a clear roadmap for the medium- and short-term – and being able to communicate it well for your team – is very important. Nobody can do it all by themselves. I like to empower the team to do their part and allow them to grow individually. Everyone can stay productive and focused while feeling motivated at the same time.”
What was your first job and what did it teach you?
“My first job was in fashion procurement and supply chain management. When the fashion industry started downsizing in China, I realized that ongoing self-improvement is essential. You should always be learning new skills so that if you find yourself in a position where your industry is shrinking, you are able to transition. Also, keeping an open mind and attitude is really important. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.”
More on Metapoly
Cindy Jin, founder of metaverse startup Metapoly, shared valuable insights during our interview that will inspire and motivate aspiring entrepreneurs.
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