Zoe Chew

April 7, 2022

Web 3.0 for Creators, Travel Apps & Low-Code Tools

⭐️ Premium Post

Issue #04

3 market trends + 3 startup opportunities:

  • Web3 for creators monetization (Blockchain tech)
  • Curate local travel experiences (Travel tech)
  • Low-code tools for team productivity (Collaboration tool)

Trend #1: Decentralizing content creation & publishing

Sapien, the social community platform for creators — built on Ethereum

In the past, writers relied on publishers to get their books published. Musicians relied on radio to get their music promoted. Web 2.0 gave rise to blogs and social media. Creators can create, promote, build audiences, and self-publish books, music, films without relying on institutions.

For a while, content creation was decentralized. However, Web 2.0, as it evolves, is becoming re-centralized. That means ownership is in the hands of Big Tech instead of the creators.

Facebook can censor your comments, accounts, or posts. Big Tech sells your data to advertisers, causing privacy issues. If you leave Instagram today, you will lose all your data or re-create on other platforms since there is no digital inheritance. Content monetization platforms take a cut from your earnings.

The solution? Web 3.0 — a decentralized system that lives on the blockchain. When data is “on-chain”, they are recorded on a distributed ledger. Identities are verifiable. Discovery is censorship-resistance. You can secure/track your own data without giving it to middlemen. Creators can tokenize their work into digital assets.

Web3 creators platform:

  • Mirror.xyz — a crypto-based writers network that is distributed, user-owned, and monetize through the sale of non-fungible tokens.
  • Sapien — an Ethereum-based social network for podcasters, video creators, and writers to build an audience and monetize their work.
  • Stoner Cats — helps animators/creators to tokenize their films in collectible NFTs, fans can buy the tokens to access the content, own the NFTs, and participate in the content production process.
  • Vezt  and Royal—music fans can buy ownership in songs directly from their favorite artists and earn royalties with them.

The future of content platforms:

  • Content has short lifespans becoming investable, tradable & exchangeable crypto assets
  • Data owned by Big Tech users own the data as smart assets
  • Social platforms designed for information consumption→ anyone can participate in the Web 3.0 economy, own a piece of the creators' work and build wealth

🚀 Takeaway

Decentralize the creator economy. Help content creators and consumers to interact, transact and monetize directly without intermediary platform fees. See — Startup Opportunity #1 below:

Startup Opportunity #1: YouTube for short films on blockchain

The future of video content sharing is decentralized and community-funded. Like YouTube but for short film content, on the blockchain.

Problem

  • Gatekeeping in the movie industry. Independent filmmakers have limited access to international distribution because they have to go through movie distributors that usually exert control over this type of access (i.e. genres, languages, commissions, licensing policies)
  • Restricted revenue opportunities. Youtube video monetization policies benefit advertisers more than content creators. Most independent filmmakers are forced to give up a portion of profits through expenses on middlemen, film distributors, broadcasters, and film production costs.
  • Frustrations in the creator platform. YouTube Creator Support is frustrating. A Redditor said: “I have to literally request a review of EVERY one of my journalistic videos, which means I’m making nothing.” Major social sites decide what kinds of content should be surfaced thus creating unfair discovery algorithms and censorship.

Solution

  • Tokenization of video content. Filmmakers can convert short films into collectible items (like NFTs). Content viewers can buy the token to access the content, own the film as NFTs, trade, exchange, or cash out.
  • Fair revenue distribution. Eliminate commission fees to broadcasters and distributors. Film creators receive 100% of sales through smart contracts directly from the viewers.
  • Multiple revenue streams. Short film content can be monetized through pay-per-content access; sell a portion of the content to brands as marketing materials, stock videos, and advertisement videos.
  • Reward users. Content viewers can earn cryptocurrency through social activities like watching, sharing, curating playlists, translating captions, upvoting, flagging, and commenting on videos.
  • Censorship-resistance. Communities participate in upvoting/downvoting to rank high-quality content instead of the organization or algorithms.

Revenue Model

  • Freemium. Watching short films is free except for premium content which the creators decide to monetize. Viewers will have to buy the token to access the short films. The token will appreciate/depreciate in value, which can be converted into a revenue source for the platform.
  • In-platform ads. Creators can purchase tokens to promote their posts for a larger audience.

Venture Scale

  • Industries: Video Sharing, Entertainment, Blockchain, Cryptocurrency
  • Market potential: (1) Indie film is a $4.8 billion market. Video editing technology and apps will continue to give rise to short films creation. (2) More than 5.3 billion views on TikTok #shortfilm hashtags, which can be a potential vertical market. (3) The rise of the creator economy is driving the demand for creator monetization tools. (4) More capable of making a profit than Hollywood blockbusters since short films cost less to create and have access to social media distribution rather than cinema.
  • Execution strategy: (1) Blockchain tech is geared towards tech-centric audiences. Content marketing can focus on educating industry enthusiasts on technical content, helping them understand the technical development and innovation of the platform. (2) For non-tech users, educate them on alternative monetization as a viewer and creator. (3) Distribution channels for crypto audiences include CoinDesk, CryptoNews, Reddit, Slack, Discord, and Telegram. (4) Host online meetups to seed early adopters and build a community.

Trend #2: Reinventing the travel industry

Getaway — cabin vacation rental

The hospitality and tourism industry is set to bounce back as vaccine doses have been administered worldwide.

Venture funding in travel tech during COVID-19 has signaled investors’ attention in the travel space:

  • Getaway — offers “tiny cabins” vacation rentals in nature within a two-hour drive of major cities in the United States. The company has raised $41.7 million Series C funding in 2021.
  • Numastay — offers room and apartment rentals in the world’s greatest neighborhoods. This Germany-based travel company (formerly known as COSI) has closed $24.1 million funding in 2021.

Consumer travel habits have shifted. New opportunities for entrepreneurs:

  • International → Local. International travel restrictions and border closures force people to look into local tourism without leaving their countries. Providers: Getaway, Glamping Hub, Tiny House Vacation.
  • Group → Solo. Solo-traveling is on the rise due to remote work. Because now everyone can work from anywhere, not just from home. Providers: SoloTraveler, Travello, NomadHer.
  • Lengthy trip → staycation. Increasing needs for shorter trips or “weekcation”.

New companies that cater to the shift in travel habits will be able to meet customer needs and become profitable businesses.

🚀 Takeaway

Make money as a business by curating and delivering memorable local travel experiences and unforgettable weekends trips. See — Startup Opportunity 2 below:

Startup Opportunity #2: Cameo + Airbnb Experience for personal travel hosts

Think of it as Cameo + Airbnb Experience for personal travel buddies. Experience weekend trips in a different way by having conversations with influencers you admire, learning from them, and creating unique vacation memories.

Problem

  • For travelers — it takes time to manually research travel destinations, create a travel checklist, and find recommendations (hotels, foods, best things to do) for weekend trips. It’s also hard to take great photos or videos when you are traveling solo.
  • For influencers — building a community and engaging with fans is crucial to growing their brands. Collaborating with brands is often handled through DMs and it takes time to negotiate contracts and payments on branded campaigns.

Solution

  • Travel with an influencer. Travel with your favorite influencers, content creators, or celebrities who have experiences in the destination you want to explore. Submit your video pitch, profile, and personal details. Influencers will go through selection based on similar interests.
  • Travel activities with hosts. Influencer travel hosts will become your travel buddy, personal driver, tour guide, or food guide throughout your trip.
  • Monetize as a host. Influencer hosts can charge booking fees by day rate. They can offer a range of services depending on their talents. For example, food tours, exploration at museums, cooking classes, singing lessons, photo shooting, acting tips, etc.
  • Social good contribution. Influencer hosts can choose to distribute a portion of their booking fees to a charity or raise funds for a good cause. Brands can easily partner with travel influencers for social good marketing and corporate social responsibilities.

Revenue Model

  • Commissions, 5% to 10%. Percentage cut from the influencer hosts earnings for each booking.
  • Advertising. Monetize through in-app advertising by promoting local restaurants, shops, destinations to visit, professional photography services.

Venture Scale

  • Industries: Travel, Influencer Marketing, Social Network
  • Business model: Marketplace
  • Market potential: (1) Capitalize on millennials and the Gen Z market that has an increasing representation of 38.8% of the global population by 2030. (2) Millennials take more trips over weekends, they are frequent travelers who take shorter trips, prefer solo travel and local destinations, love to spend on unique experiences, and make travel decisions based on what their peers share on social media. (3) Increased demand for digital nomad lifestyle due to remote work.
  • Execution strategy: (1) Start a curation site that ranks the best local destinations in the neighborhood. (2) Launch a campaign — exclusive “personal travel concierges” by working with travel influencers, YouTubers, and bloggers to build the hype for the app. (3) Leverage TikTok for travel-related content since Gen Z spends more than 5 hours per day on the platform.

Trend #3: Low-code/no-code for team productivity

Retool: build internal tools without code

Low-code & no-code tools allow non-developers to build software and apps. Many companies have started to hire visual developers that can build websites using Bubble and Webflow without depending on engineers, and automate business processes using Zapier and Airtable to increase operational productivity.

For engineers, low-code solutions reduce custom coding on software development, speed up deployment and iteration. Engineering teams can use Retool and Autocode to create instant endpoints and connect databases and APIs; Power Apps for creating professional-level applications; Quickbase for building workflows with real-time visibility.

The rise of remote work will continue to drive the demand for solutions that focus not only on low-code automation but the emphasis on uniting information and enabling cross-functional teams to collaborate easily:

  • Internal collaboration. I.e. reduce blockers, allowing engineers to work with data and insights, and communicate smoothly with product managers, customer support, sales, marketing
  • Break down technical barriers. Solutions that help developers and no-code developers to collaborate on projects effectively.
  • Reduce manual documentation process.

🚀 Takeaway

Automate customer feedback collection. Help product teams to discover the right problems to solve, build the right products/features, and iterate faster. See — Startup Opportunity 3 below:

Startup Opportunity #3: Clubhouse + Otter.ai for customer support & feedback

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning. — Bill Gates”

Problem

  • Communication silo. Customer service teams have the customer insights but don’t communicate enough with the engineering team. Engineers can’t directly learn about customer's pain points and build the wrong features.
  • Gaps in the customer feedback loop within an organization often cause a lack of attention to customer needs and slow down the product development and iteration process.
  • Struggle to capture all customer feedback, survey, and interview in one place. Manual process to document, transcribe, categorize, analyze and interpret these user feedbacks for actionable insights.

Solution

  • Audio-based customer support tool. Users can see who’s online via a website widget, start an audio chat, speak directly with the support team, get support in real-time conversations, prompt questions to get customer feedback.
  • Generate voice notes. Like Otter.ai but for customer support & feedback. Voice conversations are recorded for training and quality purposes. These conversations will be automatically transcribed, then generate text-based notes for customer research insights.
  • Team collaboration. Cross-functional teams can easily bookmark, share, comment, highlight and review feedback notes. This will enhance asynchronous collaboration.
  • Automate product roadmap. Use artificial intelligence to categorize customer feedback, identify similar statements, generate insights, and create automation workflows to send these insights to the product roadmap (i.e. integrate with Trello or Slack) for engineers and product teams to prioritize important features to ship.

Revenue Model

  • Subscription, $25 to $50 per month. For business users and teams. Charge users by the number of user account available on each plan, duration of voice recording, number of transcription, collaboration features, AI-driven automation, and app integration.
  • For pricing inspiration, check out Otter.ai, VideoAsk, Talkative

Venture Scale

  • Industries: Customer Service, Artificial Intelligence, Collaboration
  • Business model: SaaS
  • Market potential: (1) The U.S. transcription market is valued at USD 21.5 billion in 2020. (2) The rise of remote work and asynchronous collaboration is driving the adoption of video/audio transcription note-taking tools — TranscribeMe, Trint, Threads. (3) Audio-based social app like Clubhouse is familiarising user behaviors in communicating through voice calls instead of video-based conversations with strangers.
  • Execution strategy: (1) Bootstrap initial adoption and user base by launching a Chrome extension and have users sync their email addresses for audio chat usage with their internal team. (2) Using a product-led approach such as launching a free web-based widget and then upselling the core functionality of the app. (3) Content marketing can focus on addressing the use cases of customer support, user interviews, and internal collaboration.