Today, I am talking to Gagan Palrecha, the CEO of NFTSTAR, a new Bay Area startup in the NFT sports space. Palrecha is an engineer by training and has been fascinated by sports & music since his youth. We cover some of the stops across his career, the build-up to his current role, including time at Dapper Labs as VP of Operations. We go deep into the blockchain, crypto, NFTs, Web 2.5 to 3.0, the metaverse, digital stadium, play-to-earn, and many more current buzzwords and of course, his vision for NFTSTAR.
- Palrecha grew up playing sports & had a passion for music. After studying computer engineering and science, he was attracted to the startup scene in San Francisco in the early 2000s.
- Palrecha joined Loudcloud, a startup backed by VC company Andreessen Horowitz, before moving to a few other startups.
- As his first entrepreneurial exploits, Palrecha started First Time Records.
- Palrecha helped develop a space for artists and creators at the following businesses:
- Zattoo -- live streaming, the first virtual cable operator
- Peekok -- a platform to help artists and labels create a direct retail relationship with fans, via social and interactive marketing (early days of NFTs)
- Chirply -- fundraising for design marketplace
- 2013: Blockchain and Bitcoin
- The concept of a distributed ledger that governs ownership without government interference fascinated him.
- Palrecha’s experience at Dapper Labs:
- Crypto Kitty was the first big project for Dapper, before it was called Dapper Labs.
- The NBA took a risk and jointly created NBA Top Shot in 2020. By the end of 2020 and early 2021, NFTs took off and NBA Top Shot lead the way.
- Over 1 billion worth of trading volume with NBA Top Shot.
- What worked and didn’t work at the height of NBA Top Shot:
- Dealing with backlogs and regulatory issues.
- Blockchain challenges and issues with bots.
- Challenges of the virtual trading card model.
- NFTSTAR: Palrecha’s vision as CEO (website: https://m.nftstar.com/)
- NFTSTAR is building the biggest sports stadium in the Web3 metaverse.
- The company is working with athletes to build a direct relationship with fans.
- Current projects with:
- Neymar Jr, Luis Figo, Son Heung-Min (Soccer)
- Giannis Antetokounmpo (Basketball)
- Christian McCaffrey (American Football)
- NFTSTAR is currently in its startup stage, with its first collection coming out in the fall of 2022
- Beyond the usual NFT headshots, NFTSTAR will include mobile gaming elements, as well an interactive and immersive fantasy world around its athlete partners.
- Prioritizing a meta stadium and virtual stadium vision, NFTSTAR rewards the fans and viewers with avatars and more.
- NFTSTAR is funded through private investors, not through a token raise.
- Play-to-Earn discussion:
- There are many current challenges early play-to-earn games are facing—taking a look at Axie Infinity for example.
- NFTSTAR is looking at the game and user experience first before focusing on play-to-earn business strategies.
- NFTSTAR is not building a speculative platform. Instead, members are rewarded for participation with special privileges or items.
- NFTSTAR athlete engagement:
- Upcoming Neymar NFT drop, where Neymar and his team are heavily involved.
- NFTSTAR is all about the athlete and how they grew up, where they come from, and what shaped them.
- The company helps build a community around the athletes by prioritizing experiences.
- If you’d like to reach Palrecha, contact him at email@example.com.
Gagan Palrecha joined NFTSTAR as COO in September 2021, and is responsible for business development and operations, strategic partnerships, and product strategy. As the former Vice President of Dapper Labs, creators of NBA Top Shot and the Flow blockchain, Palrecha brings extensive experience and expertise in the NFT startup space. He has held several leadership positions in business development, product and operations and has done extensive work in Europe and Asia. He is also an active angel investor through his investment fund, Palrecha Capital. Palrecha is a graduate of the University of Michigan, and currently resides in the Bay Area.
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