In an era of technological innovation, Walmart and Outlier Ventures have unveiled an exciting collaboration – the Store Nº8 Base Camp. This 12-week virtual incubator program has handpicked five pioneering companies specializing in web3 marketing, advertising, and payment technology enhancements. These startups, hailing from the U.S., Italy, Poland, and the United Kingdom, are set to redefine the future of commerce. This article explores the groundbreaking endeavor, shedding light on the potential it holds for both consumers and retailers.
Embracing the Virtual Frontier
Web3, a term that’s been buzzing in tech circles, enables customers to purchase virtual goods and real-world counterparts, bridging the gap between the physical and digital realms. Walmart, through Store Nº8, recognizes this as an opportunity not just to connect with customers but also to innovate in commerce. Thomas Kang, VP and GM at Walmart, is enthusiastic about this venture, stating, “You’ll see us test a variety of experiences in virtual worlds that connect to commerce at stores and vice versa.”
Decentralized Commerce: Transforming Retail
The Store Nº8 Base Camp program is focused on “decentralized commerce,” which envisions improving experiences for both retailers and consumers through web3 innovation. Pudgy Penguins, known for its 8,888 NFT collection, recently launched its toy line in over 2,000 Walmart stores, illustrating the potential of decentralized commerce. Benjamin Meyer, CPO at Outlier Ventures, affirms, “This shift aims to enhance efficiency, trust, equity, and the overall user experience.”
Protocol-Agnostic and Innovative
This program isn’t tied to a specific blockchain, making it protocol-agnostic. The participating teams are actively exploring various blockchains, fostering an environment of diversity and innovation. Each project has received a $200,000 stipend from Synergis Capital and the valuable expertise of KPMG U.S. Furthermore, these startups will benefit from the vast network and support offered by Store Nº8 across various sectors, including e-commerce, retail, marketing, media, web3, gaming, and venture.
The Resilience of Startups
Despite the ongoing challenges in the crypto market, the incubation arm of Walmart and other accelerator programs remain optimistic about the future. Ruth Galvin, program manager at Outlier Ventures, notes that these challenging times are opportunities for founders to refine their core value proposition and gain market traction, fostering a culture of innovation and efficiency.
Meet the Innovators
Now, let’s meet the five innovative startups participating in this pioneering program:
What it does: HypeLab specializes in web3 advertising.
Founders: Joe Kim, Edward Weng
The pitch: HypeLab aims to simplify web3 advertising, helping companies put their products in front of web3 users. Their “self-service advertiser portal” streamlines campaign asset creation, offering on-chain and off-chain ad placement options. This startup is supported by investors from Coinbase Ventures, Shima Capital, Dispersion Capital, OP Crypto, and others.
What it does: Reveel provides programmable payout infrastructure.
Founder: Adrien Stern
The pitch: Reveel is an on-chain payout infrastructure and creator tool that automates accounting and payout processes for startups. It supports a variety of applications, brands, and networks, including Ethereum, Polygon, Alchemy, and Zora. Binance Labs, Moment Ventures, Anamcara, and Pixelynx are among its backers.
What it does: Tide Protocol is focused on data-driven web3 marketing.
Founders: Silvio Busonero, Vincenzo Manzon
The pitch: Tide Protocol offers a marketing and analytics suite for web3 startups, making it easy to create and customize marketing campaigns. It’s backed by Outlier Ventures.
What it does: Tokenguard is an analytics platform for web3 growth.
Founders: Kamil Gorski, Jakub Rojek, Damian Rolek
The pitch: Tokenguard is dedicated to helping web3 projects grow, supporting various blockchains and crypto projects. Its platform provides decentralized applications, on-chain and off-chain analytics, ecosystem growth tracking, and crypto APIs. It is supported by Outlier Ventures and NCBR Investment Fund ASI S.A.
What it does: Unblock facilitates cross-border payments.
Founders: Bivu Das, Rémi Tuyaerts, Alastair Preacher, Didier Baclin
The pitch: Unblock’s portal simplifies business payments in web3 through a free API infrastructure. It streamlines the on-and-off-ramping process into crypto, ensuring user KYC compliance, risk monitoring, and more. Backed by Outlier Ventures, Celo Ecosystem, and others.
Fostering Web3 Innovation
This accelerator program is a testament to the growing trend of initiatives aimed at supporting Web3-related innovations. Startups, even in the face of market challenges, continue to push boundaries, refine their value propositions, and drive innovation.
In conclusion, the collaboration between Walmart’s Store Nº8 and Outlier Ventures in launching the Store Nº8 Base Camp is a significant leap in the world of web3. With the participation of five innovative startups from around the world, this program promises to reshape the way we approach marketing, advertising, and payment technology in the digital age. The future of commerce is evolving, and these startups are at the forefront of this transformative journey.
What is web3, and how does it differ from web2?
Web3 refers to the third generation of the internet, which is characterized by decentralization, blockchain technology, and cryptocurrencies. Unlike Web2, which is more centralized and controlled by a few major companies (e.g., Google, Facebook), Web3 aims to give users more control over their data and online interactions. It promotes trust, transparency, and peer-to-peer interactions, making it less reliant on intermediaries.
How can decentralized commerce benefit both consumers and retailers?
Decentralized commerce, often associated with web3, offers several benefits. For consumers, it provides increased security and control over their data and transactions. It can also lead to more personalized shopping experiences and reduced fees. Retailers benefit from improved efficiency, trust, and equity in transactions. They can reach a global customer base with fewer barriers, making commerce more inclusive and adaptable.
What are the key challenges and opportunities in the current crypto market?
The crypto market faces challenges like regulatory uncertainty, market volatility, and security concerns. However, it also presents opportunities such as financial innovation, decentralized finance (DeFi), NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens), and the potential for global financial inclusion. Startups and investors are actively exploring these opportunities despite market challenges.
How are startups driving innovation in the metaverse and web3 space?
Startups are at the forefront of metaverse and web3 innovation by creating new applications, platforms, and technologies. They are exploring virtual reality, augmented reality, blockchain, NFTs, and decentralized applications (dApps). These startups are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in the digital space, from gaming and entertainment to education and commerce.
What role do blockchain and NFTs play in the evolution of commerce?
Blockchain technology underpins the security and transparency of transactions in web3 commerce. It allows for trustless, immutable records of ownership and transactions. NFTs, a type of digital asset on the blockchain, enable the ownership and trading of unique digital items, which can be applied to collectibles, art, virtual real estate, and more. They provide a new way for creators and businesses to engage with customers and monetize digital assets.
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