NFT Project

How to Market your NFT Project from a Crypto VC Investor

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

In this interview, you will learn how to market and promote your NFT project, and what makes an NFT so attractive to investors. Teppei Tsutsui, the managing partner of GFR Fund was the original investor of RTFKT, a virtual show company recently acquired by NIKE.

Join Teppei, share his insights as an investor and what set RTFKT apart from all the other NFT projects and the community that convinced NIKE. Learn about how Teppei selects NFT projects and what signals he looks for.

Click the play button above to listen to our conversation with Teppei on the Crowdcreate Chats Podcast.

Table of Contents

Who is Crypto VC Investor Teppei Tsutsui?

Teppei is the managing partner of a company called GFR Fund that invests in seed and early stage companies anywhere from game studios, consumer technology, media, blockchain, and FinTech. GFT Fund is based in San Francisco and invests globally.

Why Do We Need a Digital ID in the Metaverse?

When we first started back in 2016, we were excited about XR: AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality). No one was talking about the Metaverse back then. But as more and more people are spending time in the digital world, creating a world for themselves. It’s becoming more natural to think about your digital identity, and how you can find and interact with other people’s digital identity will become more natural.

Tell us About the Nike Acquisition of NFT Startup RTFKT

We were the original investor in RTFKT back in 2019, even before they started the company. The three founders are Steven, Chris, and Benoit. I first met Benoit Pagotto when I was visiting the E3 gaming conference in LA in 2019. He shared his vision of creating a digital sneaker fashion brand. I was fascinated by the concept vision, and we knew that people were spending more time in the digital world. So creating a brand for a new digital generation, this is a huge opportunity.

People are used to getting commercial goods in games and other VR spaces, and a lot of gaming companies are embracing creators to launch new content on their platform. It really resonated with us. So we helped them from the company and some initial funding. It feels like a long time ago, but it was actually just 2 years ago.

How Do You Invest in NFTs?

There are a few signs to look for when determining how interesting or investible a project can be. Look at how much organic content is being generated around the project and where the younger generations are spending their time and money.

For example when you look at VR Chat, there are so many people creating content, AKA user generated content (UGC). When they publish that content in the digital world, it becomes more natural and common.

In the case of Fortnite, people are buying skins for $20 or $30, and this is now a trend with the younger generations who are spending more time in the digital world and are more comfortable buying digital items even though they cannot be worn in the real world.

When companies are building the new “It” brands in the digital world that’s really spot on, and NFTs are allowing people to create these digital contents that are authentic

How Do you Find NFT Projects?

It was truly their team and their vision. There are three founders, and starting with Chris who was a game designer and one of the top content creators for Counter Strike where he designs the skins, guns, and items. He was the earliest one on the RTFKT team. Steven was the sneaker guy in the group where he was designing his own sneakers at an early age. Benoit is the marketing genius who was running his marketing team in an esports team and he had the vision of combining games with these digital items. It was this unique combination of digital creators, sneaker guy, and fashion marketing genius.

Real World NFT Use Case with Nike and A16Z

Teppei reveals the RTFKT NFT sneaker IRL. To watch the video, subscribe to our YouTube channel or scroll down for the interview video.

RTFKT
RTFKT made these A16Z sneakers to celebrate a round of venture capital funding Image: | RTFKT

What NFT Projects Are you Excited About?

We talked about this company before called Jadu from Los Angeles, and they are trying to create a real Pokemon game in the real world combined with NFT and AR technologies. That’s an interesting project to pay close attention to.

Another one that you introduced me to is Divine Anarchy, combining Anime into the NFT world. It’s a really interesting effort to combine Anime into the games, and to create a new game mechanism.

One of the companies we invested in called High Rise, a fashion MMO targeting the younger female generation where the user can buy skins and any fashion items where they will have fashion shows every day. They are converting skins into NFTs and are launching a High Rise creator program.

What Does NFT Mean in Gaming?

The whole gaming world starting from Axie Infinity and Animoca Brands, there are so many companies trying to do NFTs into gaming. There are still some companies waiting from the sidelines but there will be a lot of big opportunities for artists, creators, and game studios to look into it.

Ivan: NFTs are taking on unique angles and not just art. They have utility beyond just being shown on a wall. From anime mechanics to blending fashion in the digital and world world, it’s a very exciting time.

Are NFTs a Good Investment Opportunity?

When I first saw Bitcoin in 2010 or 2011, I didn’t think it was going to be a big opportunity. I bought a few and sold them right after when Bitcoin was only around $300 or so. I lost a big fortune on the table. That was only one of my early big learning lessons.

When mobile gaming came out, most people thought it was just a tiny portion of the big gaming market. Now the mobile has become ⅓ of the gaming market. We and a lot of people missed this opportunity.

We didn’t want to miss any other new emerging platform. When we first learned about VR, we jumped on it and started investing. When we saw blockchain technology we started investing quickly too. Those lessons are actually pushing me to keep looking for new opportunities. What is happening right now is that technologies like VR, blockchain, NFTs, and metaverse are having a big historical moment that we will realize in hindsight.

Featured on This Episode

Summary

Learn from Teppei Tsutsui as he shares how he first spotted RTFKT, the virtual shoe company recently acquired by NIKE. Learn what marketing techniques separate your project from others, and draw in an organic growing community for your NFT. Before you strategize on how to promote your NFT, you need to listen to this episode.

Are you a Company?

Imagine if you could get these Financial Influencers talking about your project? That’s what we do here at Crowdcreate. We’re rated the #1 crypto marketing agency and have helped with some of the most successful raises in the world. Book a call with our team to learn more.

Are you an Investor or Fan?

Join our private community mastermind of the top crypto investors, influencers, and thought leaders. You can also attend one of our free crypto & blockchain events.​

Show Transcript

Ivan Kan: Okay. Is everything good? Yeah. And what edit it too. So don’t worry if there’s something that you want me to remove, we can. Okay. Well, welcome everyone. This is Ivan from Crowdcreate, and today we have a really awesome guests. Teppei so if you can just introduce yourself to others, to the people who don’t know you and I’m sure many do, but tell us a little bit about you and what you’re working on right now.
Teppei Tsutsui:  Cool. Yeah. Thanks for, thanks for having me here on this kind of exciting podcast. So my name is Teppei and I’m the managing partner of a company called GFR fund. And we do invest in seed stage companies in the, anywhere from, at the game studio to consumer technology, company, media and FDA blockchain. We also invested a FinTech too. So it’s a San Francisco based fund, and we invest globally in the US and also like in Europe and sometimes Asia too.
Ivan Kan: And where are you based out of?
Teppei Tsutsui: I’m currently in the California, San Francisco.
Ivan Kan:  Must be a great time for a, your fun, because all of these, you know, the metaverse, the NFTs, everything is kind of combining right now and everyone is talking about it. It’s is it a good time right now for you?
Teppei Tsutsui:  Yeah, definitely. So this company, their chat is like our investment it’s now I think learn to be like a biggest beer community. So when we started a farm back in 2016, we are quite excited about the XR VR companies and air companies. So it’s it. They never, you know, never meant, so they people have a message out about the metaverse back then. So they’re just talking about the conditional word VR XR about to now coming full circle, I guess like a lot of people talking about the VR outside, sorry, the metaverse and it’s we never thought about the metaverse then, but you know, like people spending more time in the digital world and, you know, the creating the other for themselves. And I think it’s kind of natural that people are more care about DDR, digital identity, not only that, you know, rewind identity. So I think this, whatever you call it, like, you know, the store you can find out or interact with other people with the, like a digital identity is like a really, you’re like excited about this opportunity to,
Ivan Kan:  Yeah. I noticed because your, your investments into loom loom AI, I mean that integrated into roadblocks, but that was definitely into the, the whole digital avatar recreating yourself in there. And it’s so interesting because yeah, not too long ago, I would say people were just starting to get into VR and just to start to taste it. And now, you know, I just saw, according to Qualcomm, Oculus said they shipped 10 million units OF Oculus, you know, they got purchased by Facebook, which is now Metta. It seems like the entire world is just turning onto what we thought we were really, really early on, you know, when it came to VR and AR now it’s, it is absolutely mainstream now.
Teppei Tsutsui:  Yeah. Yeah. I’m not sure if the ministry, but I’m sure like a lot of people excited about it, I guess to the time, you know, when they a Facebook changed the company named the Metta. I think that’s like maybe we considered to be like maybe the peak of the industry. So, you know, it’s going to have a, but yeah, but I’m sure there are so many opportunity in this metaverse.
Ivan Kan:  Yeah Like when I, I guess when I say mainstream, it’s funny because what is ranking on black Friday feeds right now, people are actually trying to buy the Oculus quest too. It was like a black Friday special. And everyone is talking about that. That’s when you know that the technology is starting to hit, you know, when it’s going to be in the, under the Christmas tree for people.
Teppei Tsutsui:  Yeah. Yeah. I guess that good for the industry, like a little more people, like buying crests less crest, that means the more people getting into this metaverse CR so it’s definitely you’re getting there.
Ivan Kan:  Yeah. And also, so I wanted to bring up the other interesting things. So we talked, we’ve talked before, and you mentioned a really interesting NFT project. Many people know this as artifact and they have this really cool digital shoes. That’s actually just one of the many on their artifacts. So you have an interesting relationship and experience with them. Could you share a little more about that?
Teppei Tsutsui:  Yeah, so we are the, like the original investor in a company back in 2019. So when they even, that was like, even before they started a company. So out there, there are three founders, Steven Kirsten Benwah. And I first met the Benwah when I was visiting the ECB. That’s a big canning conference in LA 2019. And I, he shared the vision for the a creating digital sneaker company, fashion brand. And I was so fascinated about this concept and vision, and that we knew that like, like I mentioned the beginning, like, you know, the people are spending more time in a digital world. So while you’re creating, like creating a brand for just like a, like a distal new generation, it’s going to be like a really huge opportunity. And it’s more like deep, you know, the people like we used to just to getting those commercial goods in games, like other like VR space and also that our gaming companies are more embracing the, the creators to like launch new, like contents on the platform. So that was very like a resonated at us. And we are the, so it helps them to just form the company and get some, like, I just wanna find me. And that was like, yeah, it was a, feels like a long time, little about these actually two years ago,
Ivan Kan:  But that was early. And, you know, in hindsight it made a lot of sense, but back then NFTs were not even, you know, they didn’t exist. How did you have the insight? How did you have the conviction to say, you know, beyond that this is just a cool project, but this is worth investing into.
Teppei Tsutsui:  Right But that was early. And, you know, in hindsight it made a lot of sense, but back then NFTs were not even, you know, they didn’t exist. How did you have the insight? How did you have the conviction to say, you know, beyond that this is just a cool project, but this is worth investing into.
So I see those account. I mean, that’s a trend. And so there, like visual, like creating the new, you know, like the G when you like, you know, the big brand in the digital world, I kind of, I thought that was really spot on. So I guess the, so that, to be honest, NFT & Blockchain comes afterward, it’s still the only thing that this contents like creating a base style, like fashion brown it’s really, it’s going to be an opportunity, but, and if the actually kind of allow them to create data, original contents, it could be, you know, like copying or like authenticate those contents. So we think like the NFT technology, I think the, there kind of like the rainforest, like a vision and also what that artifact can do out of the fact that Kim can do. So. Yeah. It’s, I don’t, I don’t really take credit. I guess the founder should take a credit just to blinging DDA, NFT technology into their vision. So, yeah, that’s a really interesting story.
Ivan Kan:  Was there something special about the team or even the art, because that’s one of the most commonly asked questions from, you know, even people are just trying to get into NFTs, they always ask, you know, how do I know this is one that’s gonna, you know, my event, it could be an investment or some people are just saying, I just want to buy a really cool art so that I can say, no, I have it. What are those indicators? And what did like artifact, for example, was it the creator? Was it the team? Was it the art? What do you look at?
Teppei Tsutsui:  It’s a combination of the Team and the vision. And so like monsoon, I mission, like there are three founders. So Chris, the Striker like, he’s like a game designer, I mean, look up. So he was one of the top content creator for the Counter Strike so he designs the traditional, like, you know, skins and guns and items.
Ivan Kan:  Well That’s from my, that’s basically my entire childhood there.
Teppei Tsutsui:  Yeah. Like a lot of people, I feel that way. So Chris, I kind of like earliest behind the, like the artifact team, Steven is a more like a sneaker guy. So he was, since his high school, he’s been creating the, his own design sneakers and the selling to like other people and, and Ben Weiss, like American genius. So he’s been like running his marketing team after the e-sports team. And he got a vision of like working with the combining game with items. So it’s like a really unique combination of like district creators, Sunita guy, and like a fashion marketing genius. I was like, really like, it’s like a specialty. So I think we just, I just like a fall in love with like each person, like identity and also like what they do. So yeah, the team is like really special to me.
Ivan Kan:  Wow. That’s interesting because there are so many projects that you can invest in artifact is one of those that did really well, but you know, you really dialing in on the team and the vision. There’s a lot of projects. We also hear it’s, it’s truly the art, but, you know, art could change, you know, it may mean, but then what I’m hearing is that, because artifact is, it’s not just a shoe, you know, they have, they have drops after drops and it’s just the life cycle of their, their brand they’re creating.
Teppei Tsutsui:  Yeah I also should have mentioned that. So not many investors actually didn’t see their vision. So in the beginning they kind of like struggled to getting the additional funding. So we helped them a lot. But you know, like whenever I talk to the other investors, they like, they start items like a marae, you know? Yeah. They just don’t even believe that it’s going to be like a big opportunity. So I’m so glad that we can work with them, you know, they chose us to, so it’s a lot,
Ivan Kan:  Teppei You have, I know you’ve famously shared us the actual sneaker in real life,
Teppei Tsutsui:  Right? Yeah. I can show. Yeah. So this is like such, I got it like maybe three weeks ago finally. And I only wear this in the, within the house not the outside.
Ivan Kan:  Oh, wow. That’s amazing. And I just see so many projects where they’re trying to make that, you know, from the digital and they’re even trying to bridge it to real life, like for example, metaverse. So trying to do these 3d printed models for the people that are holders. So a lot of things are evolving, but just like how you saw artifact, are you seeing any other projects right now that you think, wow, like they have, they have the ingredients to be great because you know, you you’ve, you have seen so much in your past that your experience can shine on what’s what’s the next big thing.
Teppei Tsutsui:  Next big thing. That’s interesting creations. There are so many interesting opportunities. Hard to pick one. Let’s see. Yeah. I guess the, Yeah, sorry. It’s like a pick of just the one.
Ivan Kan:  What are the NFT space? Are there any really interesting and it’s the projects that you’re, that you think are going to do really well?
Teppei Tsutsui:  It’s going to be really well. So, you know, kind of, we talked about this company Jadu from LA, so they’re trying to create the like real PokemonGo game in the real world, combined with NFT and AR technologies. So that’s an interesting project to, you know, just to pay close attention to. Yeah. And what else? Like the one that I kind of introduced to me, like a divine define anarchy, so like a more combining animate into like a nifty world. That’s also cool. Same following the project since that I was, you know, spoke about. And it’s, it’s really, it’s an interesting, like different to combining those anime into the games and also creating a new graphic again, ecosystem on a mechanism. So, yeah, that’s also honored an interesting one. What else? Our company, one of the, our company invested the comparable high-rise, high-rise just did like, they call like a fashion MMO. So they’re targeting the younger female generations and they are so user can buy skins and, you know, any like a cruise or a fostering items. And they will organize like a fashion show, like every day. So they are converting all the skins into NFTs and they’re launching, they launched at Florida, what is called the creator high rise creator for our program, like a few weeks ago. And they’ll, they’re launching the first NFT in next week. I think. So I think it was like something interesting to not take all their as well.
Ivan Kan:  We’ll share the links to those projects and then description. But every single project that you mentioned, they kind of have a different angle as opposed to just an art, just a digital, they have, they have utility beyond just showing out on a wall. But like, from what I’m hearing, like the, the anime mechanics, or let’s say, you know, this fashion show and you can have high fashion in the real world and also an NFT that’s, it’s, it’s pretty amazing to see that kind of innovation coming right now.
Teppei Tsutsui:  Yeah, it is. It is. Yeah. It’s definitely to And I think the whole gaming war, you know, like starting from like brands, I guess that there are so many companies are trying to do with the NFT & blockchain. And they are still like some company like still like awaiting from Sightline, but I’m sure like, that’s going to be the, I dunno, I shouldn’t say like main stream, but it’s definitely like a, something that we should be, you know, have a little bit like a big opportunities. So all the like artists creators game studios, it’d be like a looking into that.
Ivan Kan:  So teppei, I know we’ve been talking future, but I also want to talk about your, your history and your experience because you know, you come from different backgrounds where a lot of these, you know, NFT, collectors and investors, this is the world. They know they are digital art collectors. It is. I mean, that’s, they started in the crypto, they started with the crypto block, you know, big Bitcoin, Ethereum, and then now they got into NFTs. But you know, from where you have experienced, you know, back at, I know you, I know you had experienced in like Morgan Stanley, you had experienced in Tokyo acquisition side. Tell us a little bit about that and like how you saw this, you know, this new trend coming around, what did you see?
Teppei Tsutsui:  Sure. Yeah. So I was born and raised in Tokyo. I came to the U S for high school and I spent like, it’s, it’s also a really interesting experience for, you know, teenage like me and I spent like almost a few years in like nowhere in Iowa state, then back to Japan for college. And I came back here for graduate school too. So, and yeah, like you mentioned, I studied the carer indeed, like a big corporate and eventually get into banking. So I spent like a few years in Morgan Stanley just to working on the, a lot of the MNA projects. And after I joined a gaming company called agree, it’s, it’s like a mobile gaming company from Japan. And so, yeah, I spent like most of my career, more on financing side or creating the financing side. So I had like traditional, like corporate finance, like a theories, like a background. So then I saw the Bitcoin like plenty Tamra, 29 11. I didn’t, but I didn’t want like, you know, I, I saw it, but I didn’t think that it’s going to be a I bought a few and I sold it like right after that, it’s going to be like, you know, yeah. I think I still liked then the Bitcoin was only like a $300 or so 60,000. So I lost a big, you know, first time I had a table I guess, but that’s that’s okay.
Ivan Kan:  Wow. That’s incredible. Yeah. But now you see it and I know it sounds like, you know, you’re making the most of it, even though you missed a Bitcoin, but now, you know, you’re early on the NFT side, early on many of these like AR VR. So it’s, I mean, I think you see things from a different perspective because of that experience.
Teppei Tsutsui:  Yeah. Yeah. So I guess like maybe, I guess like a big learning that, you know, when I sold do like a Bitcoin, like much earlier so, yeah. It’s where I also excited about VR because as you know, long be in the mobile gaming company, we sorta, so the mobile, the remember the, when the iPhone came out, nobody was really paying attention to it. And the mobile gaming is like a really, like, a lot of people think that it’s like a tiny, tiny portion of that big gaming market. And now like a bowl of ice, like becoming became like one third of the total gaming market. So we missed the, like a lot of people missed opportunity and mobile. I mean, you know, that being a degree, we still have the, you know, big opportunity really taking off. So we didn’t want to miss like any other like new platform, like emerging platform. And when we started the VR, we just jumped on it and I’ll try to start every investing. And we saw like blockchain and we just started investing too. So I guess the, like those, yeah. You know, there might be some like a learning in the back in my career, but it’s actually pushing me to, I can look up the, more of shooting a new opportunities right now. So it was a good learning.
Ivan Kan:  So a lot of our listeners, they also try to catch technologies before everyone else does. So since you specialize in emerging tech, are they new and emerging tech that you’re watching on the horizon that you think, Hey, keep it, keep an eye on these,
Teppei Tsutsui:  Right? Yeah. Like the, you know, blocked, still like, excited about the production. So I think, yeah, it’s, it’s not like a piece of the technology, I guess I think what’s happening right now is like a VR,AR blockchain, like an FTE, more like play to earn kind of like technology also like other stuff, like a coming like a conversion into like metaverse. So metaverse, you have like a bill you need like a, some certain like the basic technology to just to make that happen. And it’s not only like a VR, it’s not on the blockchain, but all things have to be like coming together. So I guess those integration, I think it’s like, yeah, I guess I could really becoming the, seeing like a big moment for, you know, like maybe like a new, really new platform is like emerging. So after the internet, maybe like some people like to call it web 3.0, but it’s like, it’s going to be like, yeah, really interesting opportunities. And we are going to that direction. And it’s maybe like one of the historical moments, like when we looked back with, after the years ago or 10 years after,
Ivan Kan:  Wow, this is like the three-tier web 3.0, that that’s what you think is going to be The future.
Teppei Tsutsui:  Yeah
Ivan Kan:  I think more and more people are going to live in web 3.0. it’s so funny because the joke is people leave their nine to five in web 2.0. To enter a 24/7 and web 3.0. Since it’s really funny.
Teppei Tsutsui:  Right, right. Yeah. I guess the, yeah, maybe like there’s some, like, you know, like a rubber disc optics, but I think it’s the direction that are there. You know, we cannot like avoid, I guess, like more ownerships too, you know? I mean the, one of the good things about 3.0 is the, so you can, as a user, you can take the ownership of the dose, like contents, where I can project and you can be, you know, both users and owners and economic like profit share. So I think those are pieces like really changing the, like the like old economy, I guess. So, yeah. I’m really excited about this new opportunity.
Ivan Kan: Wow. Great insights step day. And thank you as always for joining us and sharing your insights and wisdom of our community.
Teppei Tsutsui:  I don’t know. I mean, hopefully he has something that I can share with the other, like, you know, the rest of the community.
Ivan Kan: All right. Thank you. All right. So I’m going to stop recording here.

Author

Connect with the best investors, strategic partners, & influencers to grow your business in seconds

Save yourself hundreds of hours of manual research and get what you need to tap into our network of experts.

Follow Us On Social Media

Join our Network Of Investors, Influencers & Thought Leaders

Subscribe to our blog so you can get ahead. Access insider secrets and get notified when new posts, interviews, and events go live.

Featured Articles

Connect with the best investors, strategic partners, & influencers to grow your business in seconds

Save yourself hundreds of hours of manual research and get what you need to tap into our network of experts.

GET CONNECTED WITH INVESTORS, INFLUENCERS & USERS

TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR PROJECT.

Some of the world’s largest companies choose Crowdcreate to raise more investor funds and grow their sales. We’re experienced marketing experts and have the case studies to prove it.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Want to learn our growth marketing secrets and how we’ve raised/generated sales of over $133 million across 80+ successful projects for our clients?