Digital art has made NFT technology hot, but according to the startup Niftify.io, we have only seen the tip of the iceberg. They predict NFTs and Web3 to play a huge role in the business world of the future, and therefore they want to make it easy for brands and companies to get started with their own platforms.
He is both a husband and a father. The long resume says serial entrepreneur, startup consultant and small-time business angel. And he has sold four smaller companies and raised over $10 million for his startups. All at the age of just 26 years.
Behind the calm and low-key exterior, Emil Sterndorff hides an eternal restlessness. A restlessness that at the age of 16 years made him both flip racing bikes on an online second-hand marketplace and sell trims to the other boys at his boarding school. Which later led to the sale of handmade hats to, among others, Pharrell Williams and a coffee shop at Skejby University Hospital north of Aarhus.
In recent years, the young serial entrepreneur has thrown himself into fintech and crypto. First with The Capital, a publishing platform where crypto and tech entrepreneurs can make money building their personal brands and publishing content. And most recently with the NFT marketplace Niftify, which quickly gained momentum after being founded in early 2021.
“In the first week after starting the company, we raised half a million dollars in investment and hired our first development team – and then we were ready to take off,” says Emil Sterndorff, co-founder and Head of Growth of Niftify.io.
All-in on the latest crypto trend
The digital age has made it easy to copy and redistribute information, images, video and music. Which has, on the other hand, made it difficult to enforce copyrights online. But NFT technology – the latest hype explosion in the crypto world – comes with a possible answer to that challenge.
NFTs, or so-called “Non Fungible Tokens”, make it possible to register ownership of digital goods in a decentralized manner. Initially made popular by digital art in various formats – among other things, the first tweet on Twitter, the Youtube classic “Charlie bit my finger” and a sea of art collections with different animal motives have been sold for exorbitant amounts.
Niftify was founded as a marketplace for the explosive NFT market, and would initially stand out by verifying all buyers and sellers on the platform so that trading the digital artworks could take place in a safe and compliant manner. But already shortly after the launch in October 2021, the team realized that the greater potential for the business lies with another target group:
“Very quickly, the demand arose from companies and brands from all over the world who wanted to enter the NFT space, and who needed a solution that takes regulation and rules within the area into account. There was no one on the market who could deliver a compliant solution like that without costing the individual companies multiple millions, and at the same time it would be extremely time-consuming,” Sterndorff says.
Therefore, Niftify pivoted in January this year. The marketplace for digital NFT art is still active. But during the summer, the company is also launching a white-label solution that gives others the opportunity to run their own NFT Store or Marketplace.
“We give people the opportunity to launch their own NFT store or marketplace on their own domain with our white-label solution. A bit like Shopify, which you can use to launch a store and sell products online. With Niftify, you can sell NFTs on your own domain,” Sterndroff explains.
He believes that all companies can use NFTs in one way or another to build community or add value to their current customers – for example by giving access their NFT-owners special access or as a loyalty program.
“The hype surrounding NFT images is understandable, and it has become clear that the images can also be used as access cards to something more. But we believe that the potential for NFTs go far beyond that,” Sterndorff says.
NFT on its way to mainstream
From Adidas and Coca-Cola to Liverpool. The big brands and organizations are already throwing themselves into NFT projects in various ways, and the thesis at Niftify is to provide a platform that makes it easy for entrepreneurs, creators, and brands to get started – of course on their own domain, so they do not have to send their community and followers to a third-party marketplace.
The NFT-buzz is also felt in the young startup, who raised $3.8m last year and expects to raise between $5-6.5m in their current, ongoing seed round, of which they the first $4m is already secured. At the same time, the team has grown to 50 people, and the interest in the upcoming white-label product is surging:
“We are experiencing huge demand. The goal was 50 customers by September, but we have already got the first 50 on the waiting list in just three weeks. There is a long time until September, and by that time, we will probably have many more onboarded,” Sterndorff says.
Among others, Niftify is in dialogue with an airline about a loyalty program, a youtube channel about a crypto-based membership, and the startup also has suggestions for how game developers and musicians, among others, can use the NFT platform in their work. And that, in fact, is also an important point for Niftify: It’s not so important to them what customers need the technology for. The technology is still young and it’s hard to predict where it’s going to take off. Therefore, they just want to be the platform that makes it easy to experiment:
“We are really just an infrastructure that allows brands to connect with their community in a different way than just social media,” Sterndorff says and adds:
“It can be huge. We are the only one on the market that both focuses on building a whitelabel solution that is easy to handle and also compliant. Businesses that want to start working with NFTs and at the same time want to be compliant must therefore either invest 1-2 years and $1-3m to build it themselves – or they can just come to us.”