Halsey Minor’s new business, Vivid Labs, a platform allowing anyone to launch multimedia NFTs, is in many ways a recap of his previous successes. In 1994, he created the tech news website CNET and later sold it to CBS for $1.8 billion. Minor is also the man behind GoogleVoice, Salesforce, and other companies.
“We were still early in the market in the ‘90s to build our own software,” he said. “This is basically what we’re doing today, kind of a publishing solution, that lets any company create NFTs.”
In February, Vivid Labs partnered with Shopify to let Shopify merchants create their own NFT marketplaces. “Right now, all is around large marketplaces, primarily art,” Minor said. With a decentralized solution, people could sell any NFT-enhanced products on their own websites.
“An impressive number of businesses run on big e-commerce platforms: Shopify, for example, has 1.3 million users worldwide,” he added. Minor explained that his new venture started from video NFTs, because “it’s the major area of application.” Vivid Labs customers range from sports to music and e-commerce. “NFTS will become a part of every product, providing ownership information.”
Smaller brands should have the ability to run their own NFT marketplaces, Minor said. With bigger platforms, such as OpenSea, it’s difficult to promote less recognizable content. Smaller brands’ NFTs tend to get lost on OpenSpace.
“There will be tens of thousands of marketplaces,” he believes. According to Minor, turnkey solutions, such as the one he is building, would allow brands to create and sell NFTs on their own marketplaces in just 2-3 months.
“You don’t have to push your content on OpenSea: you can do it yourself, so it’s great for entrepreneurs,” Minor said. He believes NFTs now are like web publishing in the early days of the Internet, when companies realized times were changing and they’d need a website to stay relevant. “There’s a gap in the market right now: you have big marketplaces, and then there’s nothing in between.”
As a tool, NFTs are great for marketing, particularly in luxury. “For the limited-edition product, NFTs are a great way to tell consumers how it’s made, and why it’s special,” he said. “Eventually, every expensive sneaker will come with its own custom NFT.”
More opportunities would come with the emerging metaverse too. As a way to collect data, NFTs have the potential to become a new tool for self-promotion. For example, athletes could store their data and promote themselves to different clubs.
“People are buying assets, hoping that, when the world gets more mainstream, they can resell some of them, but there will be winners and losers,” Minor said. “Just like with any investment, it’s a risk. When it comes to digital collectibles and the metaverse, people should approach their investments the same way they’d approach the stock market.”
Minor recommends considering entrepreneurs’ personal qualities — their background, ideas, and passion. “I’d rather put my money into someone who’s been experimenting with NFTs on the weekend than a business school graduate with Goldman Sachs on his resume.”
In the fast-paced NFT environment, a unicorn could emerge at any point. “I think for the big companies, it’s very hard to keep up the pace,” Minor said. “I was confident buying companies because I couldn’t move as fast as a hundred entrepreneurs working out of their basements.”