Unlock the world of Web3 and its potential to transform investment accessibility with our esteemed guest, Alessandro Venè, Chief Business Development Officer at CellarDAO Society. Imagine a platform where tokenizing prized assets like rare wines and spirits is not just a concept but a reality, bringing with it a cascade of benefits from market liquidity to undeniable proof of authenticity. As we converse with Alessandro, you'll be introduced to the intricacies of NFTs and how they're flipping the script for investors and enthusiasts alike. From the art of explaining complex tech in layman's terms to the cultural impacts shaping the adoption of these groundbreaking technologies, this episode is a goldmine for anyone eager to stay ahead in the dynamic landscape of digital investments.
Embark on a journey with us through the personal growth landscapes of entrepreneurship and the profound insights from Balaji Srinivasan's "The Network State." Here, we dissect the synergy between blockchain solutions and AI, providing not just food for thought but actionable advice for productivity enthusiasts and Web3 optimists. This isn't your run-of-the-mill tech talk; it's a candid discussion filled with practical tips that promise to fuel your drive for innovation and efficiency. So, pour yourself a glass of your favorite vintage, and join us in navigating the exciting confluence of tradition and technology with Alessandro Venne. Don't forget to hit subscribe for a steady stream of thought-provoking conversations that promise to enrich your digital savviness.
This episode was recorded through a Podcastle call on November 27, 2023. Read the blog article and show notes here: https://webdrie.net/web3-wine-and-wisdom-alessandro-vene-on-tokenizing-assets-nfts-and-the-future-of-digital-investment/
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I would explain in a very web-to-way. You are not a crypto-native user. I'm telling you that we are building an investment fund where you can actually deposit your money and enjoy returns on an ex-multi-basis. You get interest and at the same time, you're building a marketplace where you can trade your assets.Joeri:
Hello everyone, and welcome to the Web3 CMO Stories podcast. My name is Joeri Billast and I'm your podcast host, and today I'm joined by Alessandro Venè.Alessandro:
Happy to be here, Joeri. Thanks for having me.Joeri:
The names. It's always a challenge how to pronounce them. I hope I did it well. Alessandro, welcome. Let me introduce you for people that don't know who you are or your background. Guys, Alessandro is a seasoned executive with extensive IT, F and B and digital advertising experience. He has hold senior roles in various companies for public listed companies and worked three startups. Notably, he achieved two successful startup exits pioneering data-driven marketing for global F and B brands like Barilla and Nestle, Tesco, and renowned wine brands. Since 2017, Alessandro has been actively collaborating with Web3 companies such as Immunify and Yellow and been mentoring Web3 startups. Currently, he's the chief business development officer of CellarDAO Society. That's a blockchain-powered ecosystem at the forefront of all chain real-world assets investment. Alessandro, you've been busy and your project actually attracted my attention. Explain a bit more about the project, or what is CellarDAO and how Web3 technologies have to do with it.Alessandro:
Absolutely. Thanks for having me first of all. It's great pleasure. We've been trying to catch up for a while, so finally we made it. Society is actually an entirely new ecosystem that is currently composed of an investment fund which is our DAO, CellarDAO. It's a community-led investment fund which basically democratizes the access to wine and spirits investments. Basically, in short, what we do as Saladow, we are investing in rare and prestigious wines and spirits as real-world assets. Our project is entirely backed by and what we do is basically we tokenize these assets and put them on chain. That's actually the second part of our project. It's going to be an NFT tokenizing platform marketplace where it's going to provide not just the exit for our under-asset management from Saladow, but also we will vet wine, top wine and top spirits maker to basically deploy their assets onto our marketplace. It consists basically into different projects. One is being launched and the other one is going to be, let's say, on Testnet in one month and a half or less.Joeri:
I like the fact how you combine real-life assets of real-world assets, something like wine everyone, lots of people, like wine, I like wine and then you combine these with the advantages of NFTs, because it's not so easy these days NFTs there was this hype with people buying and selling NFTs. You really have a real-life product and NFTs help with that, giving that added value. Of course, there are lots of other things not wine, but other things that could be linked to a Web3 or could be tokenized. Can you maybe give some lessons to learn or some advice if other types of businesses would like to do something like that?Alessandro:
Yeah, definitely, of course. Rwa, as we call it, or real world assets, it's going to be like 30 trillion, that's protected 30 billion dollar industry by 2030, according to a Boston consulting revolt. And not just. The thing is that the power basically tokenizing assets and putting them on chain. It just doesn't provide more liquidity, like 24-7 market liquidity, but also provides features such as, in our case, for instance, wine, but that could be for real estate or TB or trash bonds, for instance, proof of authenticity, proof of provenance. In our case, even having parts, if not all, the supply chain on chain would basically give a better, not just understanding of the product, but also fights the counterfeited products, which is absolutely relevant, for instance, in industries like luxury industry. You could have watches industry, and this is or we already seen that some big brands making leaps into blockchain, because that's actually something that provides value and, again, authenticity as to what you buying is actually real and it's not being counterfeited. So that's very relevant in our industry, of course you have many counterfeited wines that are like sort of mining the credibility of the markets. In our case, we are making it like more transparent and not correctable and all the pros of being on chain. So absolutely there's more than value and the having in the in the back, the investment fund, which actually allows investors to participate in market which is normally very exclusive to a high net worth individuals or wealthy people. Actually tokenizing and fractionalizing the ownership would actually allow more people to participate in this market, not just wine connoisseurs but also like people who are willing to have a stable return from what is considered one of the best alternative asset clouds that out the phone traditional markets in the past decade. So yeah, that's very exciting, very interesting.Joeri:
Yeah, so the audience is indeed like people are passionate by wine but maybe don't have this big of budget to invest in, but they can like, be able to Because it's tokenized. They can be with a small, that's a. Just because they're passionate, they can do it. It's not they should be big investors to be investors Like, like you with this, with big girl, big buildings, for instance. We're talking nice. Here it is wine and people. Everyone loves wine, a lot of people of wine, let's say it like that. I remember when I did a social media campaign for a company in Belgium they said so, italian wines, and this really worked well, because that's not something like if you want to sell a product, like Accountancy, for instance, that wine is on the other side. Also, you explained a bit already, a bit about that. But for startups is not always easy to get funding, and now today in the web 3 year old and then I Even this morning, was approached by someone telling me that project run out of money and now they cannot do marketing anymore, and so you have a lot of experience in in this space. Can you share some insights on how in the early stages of Web3 started you can position yourself or To attract, or to, I would say, increase the chances of attract capital.Alessandro:
Yes, absolutely. First of all, I've been there, like many, going to projects that's right out of cash, basically, and this we all witnessed that, especially like during the winter. We don't know exactly if this is a beginning of the bull run, but that doesn't really change much. What I normally advise startup founders, especially where free, is to have consistent go to market strategy and Reliable tokenomics that does not rely solely on the listing process but actually the tokenomics has to basically provide consistent Revenues. And this is where many founders fail to see that Basically, the token is not just a means to raise capital but it's a means actually to provide not just the utility but actually provide revenues. Ocean protocol when they launch, they actually talked and explained a lot about tokenomics and how relevant is that in order to create this wet, free, sustainable business model? So I I'm strong about that. You know, when I was mentoring as the top sets Axel venture, the algorithm foundation, we were always stressing on that key element which is called business plan and the business where it's web to or another startup, like nothing to do with weaponry, but even we're free. All the more it's relevant because it makes your project more sustainable, number one and not heavily depending on fundraising now, how to make a project more attractive. As he said, gtm go to market strategy is key. Of course, organic as much as possible, and you know now the space is getting Little bit saturated. Now that we have a big enough bull run, everyone is really excited and fighting for a spot in the Sun, and that is where you need to look for your audience. Who's really interesting in your product? Who's going to use your product? Are you going to address web-free specific issues or is your product going to solve real world problems? In our case, for instance, it not just it's not just a product or a Marketplace or even investment fund for web-free native people. We we we want to expand, actually want to broaden the audience and reach to web to and not just what actually Investors people. So to do that, it's very important that the product that you build it's back at nox stick, so it's transpiring, that it's just a means. Blockchain, in our case, is a means to basically Prove that the product is not counterfeited, for instance, but it's not the buzzword. Let's stop using buzzwords. Less build products are that have scope and solve problems, in our case, having more people to enjoy this Very different asset class.Joeri:
I love what you say that it's a means, like it's often with technology. People like to these hypebers, but most of the world doesn't have a clue about Web 3 and so on. If you Need to explain that to your neighbor, who is probably not into Web3, how would you explain them what you are doing right now with CellarDAO in some easy words?Alessandro:
That's the best question that I'm receiving, because we are actually testing as we're talking. I'm onboarding, for instance, angel investors. When web preprojects normally are looking at angel investors, they are looking at Web3, native people. They understand the annex and necks of technology. In our case, we have that type of audience. We have those like bestos, and not just when they say investors. We're talking also people who are generally interested in our cast-off. For instance, we are talking to people that have no idea what a wallet is. They have no idea how to exactly participate into this web free project. To put in a better context, it's a learning curve and it's a steep learning curve because we need to adapt the lingo now from web free but actually to the average man in the streets that wants to buy just a bottle of wine using NFTs and understand why that is better than buying from a web tool platform that doesn't have traceability, for instance. We are adapting our language to make it less tech type of lingo and more solving the problem. That's that this way you are able to participate in this ecosystem. Again, this is not simple. As I'm saying, we are A-B testing different strategies at the moment, but, as I said, we have different audiences, so we adapt our language to the specific audience that we are addressing.Joeri:
Yeah, it makes total sense If I would be with you, like in an elevator, Alessandro and I don't know Web3, and ask Alessandro, I'm Joeri, what are you doing with CellarDAO? How would you explain it to them?Alessandro:
I would explain in a very web two way. You are not a crypto native user until you know that we are building an investment fund where you can actually deposit or put your money in and enjoy returns on an ex let's say, quarterly basis. You get interest out of that and at the same time, we are building a marketplace where you can trade your assets Like videos, or there could be other type of assets like wine and spirits Simple as that, and you can redeem the products at your doorstep.Joeri:
Great because you didn't use any Web3 lingo now, so I like that. It's not always easy because I also try to avoid it when people but when you ask this to a guy or they will always use complex words to explain a complex thing and then it stays complex. So I love how you did that. Now there are also quite some experience, I would say cross culture. There are some differences too, of course. How do you see these culture dimensions playing a role in the adoption of Web3 and implementation of Web3 technologies?Alessandro:
When I see DAO's, in particular the DAO's, it means to basically put people together. I don't know if you read the Balaji book and that's called the network state. It's a must read in my opinion. It's. Of course, it's all about technology, but it's what we as human beings are going to be empowered by using this technology, and I think it's not just visionary, but it's how we can actually solve social problems. A while ago, I was writing about what would have been the outcome of Brexit Would have been a DAO, or actually the referendum would have been a DAO. Of course, there's no answer to that, but putting different perspectives and cultures together in a more of a democratic way of participating into a specificness of the DAO, I think it's going to be something very exciting and, culturally speaking, a blend of different cultures bringing their own uniqueness in an ecosystem I find it absolutely interesting. I've been working and traveling, mainly working in many countries, from Asia to Europe, and now I'm based in Europe again, and I can tell that when you are actually interacting with different cultures, you have so much more not just to learn but to grow as a human being, and this I see web-free as a means, actually as a technological means to get together in a very different fashion.Joeri:
I love it. It seems like all these possibilities and indeed by traveling and seeing these different places and different people, Web3 opens up a lot of possibilities, also the community aspect and so on, which I love. But it's also an interesting standard and more for a personal note, because you did already two successful exits and you are an entrepreneur with a lot of experience, so can you share something that you've learned, maybe from a failure or a setback, or maybe something that has propelled your grout, and if it's been in Web 3, even better. But I would like to. Maybe you can share a lesson for our listeners.Alessandro:
There's no such thing, in my opinion, as a successful startup founder. It's actually. You learn by doing. You wear many hats and you need to be ready to give up on lots of free time, especially when you're familiar around. You need to factor that in. You learn more, of course, like all humans your reptilian brain. We learn more from failing, learn from success. You learn, as I said, by doing, and don't be shy in putting yourself in a learning curve. It's also exciting. Of course, you need to have your growth mindset. You need to keep yourself with open nets, that being totally open to failure. I've been lucky actually to exit two startups. It wasn't easy to build from the ground up. I decided to bootstrap the first one, whilst the second one was like more chasing this money and public grants. There are no pros and cons. There are two different types of growth. What I've learned is that it's the people that you surround with that makes your startup successful, rather than how better or how well is your startup capitalized since, since? So it's more important that you find yourself with like-minded people that can potentially grow together.Joeri:
Yeah, and actually that's now what I love also about Web3. Like, the community aspect is more and more present than people, because it's still a niche. You have like-minded people that you meet at conferences and so on, which I was already the case when I was one to social media marketing, but now it's even more focused with that and I see, yeah, with some people it's like you mentioned it with the bear market and so on. Even I see the projects that are successful are those that have really a really business plan, some really tangible, like in your case it can be wine. Any advice for people that are a bit more pessimistic right now looking at where is the world now going to, Is web3 still a thing? Obviously, you are having projects going on. Any advice or tips for people to stay on the positive side?Alessandro:
From a builder or, as that's a founded perspective, stay away at the beginning from VCMA and stick to organic growth and traction. That's your metric, that's your KPI. Stick to that. Of course, those KPS need to be clear. But chasing VC money, institutional money it's a hard job, let alone if you use buzzwords like AI or blockchain. We can definitely be a stick. I'm an optimistic type of person and I can see loads of our untapped potential by using blockchain and AI. I'm actually working on an R&D group about that. It is great actually to see that some decentralized storage or competing power companies are actually using that to propel, basically, growth for KPS, though, stick to those to use and it's going to be a success anyway. Even though you fail, it's going to be a personal success in terms of growth. From a customer perspective, no, I can't say much. Probably there's less of a buzz talking about Web3. Everyone is all about AI, but it's not about technology. Again, it's about solving real-world problems. As a customer, as a consumer, as an investor, just stick to those projects that they are really solving problems rather than feeling that we're buzzwords.Joeri:
You just mentioned that AI is there. How are you now looking at, maybe for your personal productivity or for CellarDAO, or maybe for something else? Are you integrating AI now in your life professionally?Alessandro:
maybe. Yes, I'm really using it. I use different tools, as in marketer and even operations as well. Sometimes it isn't legal. We just use the tools that we all know about Not going to mention them, but there are more tools actually. I mentioned for decentralized storage and it's something very interesting and I'm already exploring that for CellarDAO, but also you can unify the other company that I'm advising. They both have different angles as to AI as a feature to integrate in their product offering. We especially unify. It's basically in itself, healthcare. Laugh on. That is basically using blockchain, gathering medical data from on field on specific disease like HIV and malaria, and using AI on top of that, once you have gathered enough data to basically supply meaningful outcomes from this huge I called it database, but partly gonna be on chain. So, definitely in all the companies can explore AI in a sort of way, but Data is king and you need to make sure that the data that you're producing with your startup Makes sense to output in some form of AI.Joeri:
Yeah, yeah, indeed, and what I okay without mentioning everyone is it's not like AI, that's a term that now everybody, everyone knows. It's not the same like with Web 3, but all of these technologies come together and that's what makes it interesting to even offer better personalized Experiences for the end customers. Alessandro, it was a really pleasure to talk to you. If now people you have so many things going on and want to learn more about you or the things that you are doing, where would you like to send them?Alessandro:
My LinkedIn profile and definitely you can reach out to me anytime. I'm quite active there. So yes, that will be the channel, the channel.Joeri:
Okay, you mentioned also a book. All of that I will put them in the show notes. There is always an article, blog, article with all the links to that. People can Follow up with you or follow up with a bit Saladah or other stuff you have going on. So thanks, Alessandro, that's really pleasure to have you same here, dr.Alessandro:
So, guys, again and, yeah, an insightful episode today with Alessandro About organization and so on. All these possibilities With really good tips. So if you think this is really useful for people around me, share it with them, share this episode with them, share the podcast with them. If you're not yet subscribed to our podcast, this is a really good moment to do this and, of course, I would like to see you back next time.