INNOtalks: When doing an ICO, quality and transparency are everything!
On the second Innotalks event in ABC accelerator, we ate breakfast with Jaka Mele, who was the editor of the Moj mikro magazine for almost two decades, where he also led their lab. As a guest expert, he lectured at one of the universities in Slovenia, and for the last 10 years, he is working in digital marketing – he’s seen as one of the first growth hackers in Slovenia. At ABC’s Innotalks – the second in a series of monthly talks with successful startup entrepreneurs – Mele told nearly 50 attendees about his experience with CargoX, which plans to transform the logistics industry with implementing a smart bill of lading based on blockchain technology, where their contributors have bought over 7 million US dollars of their tokens in less than 8 minutes.
Jaka Mele has been following the blockchain space and ICOs (“Initial Coin Offerings”) since his days at the Moj Mikro magazine, where he has learnt to quickly distinguish between utopic and realistic projects. He also advised the crowdsale of Iconomi – the first in Slovenia – which aims to develop the first asset management platform for the decentralized economy, which raised over 9,5 million EUR of funds in late 2016. He also advised SportyFi (now SportyCo), which uses blockchain technology to directly financially connect sportspeople and sports clubs on one side and fans, sports enthusiasts, and investors on the other. He especially saw great potential in CargoX, a company which develops a solution for the freight shipping industry, where bills of lading are still done on paper, and faxed around the world – and CargoX will translate that into a safe, digital form.
Jaka Mele on the beginnigns of the crypto world
Iconomi was happening in the middle of 2016, and the only people who knew crypto were geeks, enthusiasts, whereas today, entrepreneurs who want to make it in crypto must pretty much fight for attention, so that any door opens at all. On the other side, however, there are numerous marketing channels today, but they’re very expensive. Some sites charge 15.000 EUR monthly for a single banner ad.
Since marketing channels are so unrealistically expensive, it is necessary to know this new crypto world, which we’re entering, well – he said, saying that in CargoX, they deliberately limited the amount they were looking for – since – to give a bizarre example, even a hair salon can raise a good amount, if they “make their product crypto”.
What is the formula for success, then? Mele says that a fantastic project with a great, yet simple, pitch. He, for example, was able to explain the whole SportyFi idea to his two daughters – “and they got it”, he smiled. “Absolutely, every project that wants investment, must have a good amount of hype. This is the best way to impress the influencers of the community, which are – without a healthy amount of hype – almost impossible to reach.” As Mele adds, there are influencers “out there”, who get 100.000 EUR or more just to mention a project on social media.
For example, they had external experts to handle their social media presence, and found blogs to be very efficient. “On LinkedIn, for example, the ROI on sponsored blog posts is much higher than with ads themselves,” Mele said, and added that it makes sense to take time for researching influencers on LinkedIn before approaching them, as well as the organisations, from which they come.
Jaka Mele on the cryptobubble
Is crypto a bubble or not? It has some signs of being one, however it is also the first truly global bubble, and it seems to still have some reserve, since nobody really knows where we are. This is a world, where one fact stands true: If you’re not ready for a 20-percent drop, you’re not worth the 200-percent growth. Slovenians are relatively active in crypto investing, despite some being in because their neighbour is, and some are investing only a few cents.
On the whitepaper, he said that it needs good design (and the project in general must have a good website). CargoX paid special care to stressing out the benefits for the contributors. They need to get a clear answer on why to contribute to this specific project and startup in the whitepaper.
Lessons learned at the INNOtalks event:
- The whitepaper must have great design, and a clear answer why contributors should give their money to this exact project and startup
- On Linkedin, sponsored blog posts have much better reach than ads.
It’s worth taking time to research interesting people in LinkedIn, and their connections and organisations. That’s how it’s possible to get influencers, who will spread the word of our project.
- We must be able to pitch the project clearly and simply!