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In the realm of entrepreneurship and metaverse advertising, few names resonate as strongly as Nodari Ivanidze. With a visionary spirit and a passion for innovation, Nodari has been at the forefront of revolutionizing the advertising landscape through the untapped potential of Web3. As the CEO and Co-Founder of MetaViu, he has taken the company from humble beginnings to establishing the largest metaverse advertising network across virtual worlds such as Decentraland, The Sandbox, Spatial, Somnium Space, Roblox, and Fortnite.
With over a decade of experience in advertising and co-founding successful tech startups, Nodari’s journey is one defined by resilience, learning, and unwavering dedication to his craft. Today, we have the privilege of sitting down with Nodari Ivanidze to delve into his childhood inspirations, the driving force behind his fascination with metaverse advertising, and his vision for the future of brand experiences in the ever-evolving world of Web3. Join us as we uncover the insights and stories that have shaped the trajectory of this visionary entrepreneur.
Nodo, can you share a pivotal moment or event from your childhood that sparked your interest in advertising and marketing?
It all started when I got lucky to have the chance to study in the US when I was 17 years old back in 2009. I originally come from Eastern Europe from the Republic of Georgia. And there I saw how Facebook and other digital media were taking off, and I thought, “Okay, let’s bring this into Georgia.” I created a digital agency and started offering companies help with creating Facebook pages and running digital ads. That’s when I got interested in advertising. The influences I saw in the US inspired me to do it very well and be one of the first ones to bring it to my own country and region. By the time I was living in the US, I was working at the Berkeley farmers market, showcasing organic products and I found that sales and marketing were something I should pursue in my life. So, right away from the age of 18, I started my first digital agency, and since I was young, people would call me Harry Potter, which led me to name my agency Potter’s Digital Agency.
Looking back, is there any advice you would give your younger self or other aspiring young entrepreneurs based on your childhood experiences and subsequent successes?
The first and biggest advice I would give is to always look for people who are more experienced than you and have mentors as startup founders. It’s an amazing thing that provides guidance. I learned after three years of operating my businesses that having mentors and advisors is one of the most valuable things for a startup founder. You can get advice from others. Also, never give up. This is a major thing I always follow. I would tell my younger self to never give up on your vision and be persistent. If you want to be successful, nothing should stand in your way.
Over your 10+ years of experience in advertising and co-founding tech startups, what have been the most significant lessons you’ve learned about personal development and self-improvement?
Personal development is crucial. I always love getting an education, but I’m not very fond of formal university studies. I prefer researching, attending conferences, taking online courses, and going through training. Studying together with other people helped me grow personally as well. Also, while running my startups, I tried to teach others, and that helped me learn even more. So, learning and self-development are crucial for a startup founder. If you’re too busy with day-to-day operations, delegate some tasks to others, because personal development is essential for long-term success.
As a co-founder and CEO at MetaViu, what were some of the key moments or experiences that pushed you to step out of your comfort zone and embrace growth on both a professional and personal level?
Before co-founding MetaViu, I had both failures and successful exits with previous startups. I had raised more than 3 million US dollars for my previous ventures, and things were comfortable. However, I felt the need to make changes and jump into the web3 space. In 2020, I bought my first digital land in Decentraland, and I saw the huge potential for marketing and advertising in virtual worlds. I realized we were lacking proper advertising in these new immersive worlds. So, I started MetaViu, using my experience in the advertising world and as an investor in web3 projects. It was a challenging road to create something new in uncharted territory, but I always had a vision and the drive to make changes, and that’s what kept me going.
MetaViu has come a long way since its inception in 2018. What were the key milestones and strategic decisions that played a pivotal role in the remarkable growth of the company’s metaverse advertising network?
The main factor behind MetaViu’s success was our ability to see opportunities and quickly adapt to changes in the metaverse space. We started with a billboard marketplace, but within a few months, we added an experiences marketplace. The ability to pivot and quickly move in response to market demands was crucial. I always kept myself and my team on top of the latest news and trends, and that helped us uncover new opportunities and stay ahead of the curve. We were constantly testing and iterating to find the best solutions for brands and creators. Our focus on education, both for ourselves and our clients, also played a significant role in our growth. We educated brands about the potential of immersive experiences and guided them on how to integrate metaverse advertising into their marketing strategies.
The journey of an entrepreneur is filled with highs and lows. How do you handle setbacks and failures, and what have these experiences taught you about resilience and perseverance?
As an entrepreneur, I face ups and downs like everyone else. The key is not to let setbacks bring your mood down for too long. Acknowledge the setbacks, tackle them head-on, and keep moving forward. It’s important to envision yourself in the future and keep your long-term goals in mind. I always envision where I want to see myself in a few months or a year, and that helps me stay motivated and focused. Resilience and perseverance are essential traits for any entrepreneur. When facing low points, you have to envision how you want your future to be and keep pushing forward with determination.
The creation of the Metaverse Experience Marketplace is an exciting initiative. What challenges did you face during its development, and what impact do you anticipate it will have on MetaViu’s business growth and the broader metaverse ecosystem?
So, I believe that our largest billboard network is leading the Metaverse. Platforms lead us to the idea of creating an experiences marketplace, which additionally is creating a 3D content creator’s economy. I have personally talked with my team members, many landowners, builders, and 3D animators who are building amazing games in the space. They said they were always waiting for the brands to come to them, give them custom tasks, and build custom gamified experiences in Roblox or Fortnite. We all heard about Nike Land 2421, the Forever 21 experience for Roblox, and a McDonald’s experience in Sandbox, but there were many more cases. These people were sitting around and waiting for these brands to come. However, not many brands are able to pay $200,000 or $100,000, or $500,000 to build a custom experience. Only 1% of the brands in the world are doing this. I thought, “Okay, let’s look at the digital content creator economy and how it works.” If you’re an influencer or content creator and you don’t have enough followers or views, no brand will be coming and doing product placement with you. So, I tried to create an experience marketplace, similar to the economy for immersive content and experiences. Rather than brands going to the experience builders and giving them exact briefs, we motivate 3D creators and experienced builders to create different types of experiences about fashion, beauty, collaborations with welcome conferences, and many types of activations. Those experience builders can bring traffic into their games, and we help them productize brand placements into their active games through custom quests, custom wearables, and also branding of the venue. This way, brands will be integrated into actual gamified experiences in different leading platforms affordably. They can try out many other platforms at the same time and get the analytics estimator view in one place. On the other side, experienced builders will be receiving many brands and, as a promise, they will be receiving the majority of the revenue share. It’s a win-win solution for everybody. Experienced builders are motivated to push building and making sustainable gamified experiences for them. On the other side, brands are able to tap into this space affordably, try out different platforms, and decide if they want to build a custom experience and which platform to choose. This situation creates a whole huge ecosystem, which will unify at least 15 Metaverse platforms and more than 200 plus experienced builders at this moment, which is still growing on a daily basis. So, this is my mind and my team’s huge motivation to push through the content creator economy and enable many creators to create nice games and enable brands to integrate affordably in those games, right, and populate virtual worlds with amazing, engaging games. Our experience led us to create the experiences marketplace. And by the way, it will be launched in about two weeks. Before that, we were testing it manually, creating presentations, and working with experienced builders. This is very nice advice to anybody, right? When you have an idea, don’t wait to create every single webpage or whatever, start testing it out manually right away with the people around you. And then, that helped me also with MetaViu, the experiences marketplace, right before building the web, before building the product. Actually, we were testing it out for three months, and we got very nice results from major brands and major experienced builders, and now we are launching the experiences marketplace.
As a regular angel investor and advisor, you undoubtedly come across a diverse range of entrepreneurs and startups. How has interacting with these individuals influenced your own personal growth and approach to business?
This is a very important point. Two years ago, I became an angel investor, but I was still young. I was 29 years old, and I had the energy to build, right? But I wanted to be on both sides. It gave me so much personal development and experience. I’m building at the same time, and also I’m investing in other startups and helping them with my network and funds, and also advising, right? When you have different types of startups in your portfolio, like agri-tech, FinTech, and AI startups, you learn so much together with these founders, and you are able to look at their businesses from outside and give them valuable advice. So, it was a very good decision for me to become an angel investor at this stage. I’m using my experience both as a startup builder to give back advice to the startup founders where I’m investing and also getting valuable insights from them. So, I just want to push everybody to become angel investors. They can join angel clubs, they can invest with syndicates, as low as $5,000 per investment. So, for most people, becoming an angel investor doesn’t mean that you should have millions saved. No, actually, you as an ordinary person can be a kind of angel investor and get valuable education and knowledge working with so many interesting founders around the world. So, it helps you also to grow personally a lot.
With your impressive track record of co-founding successful tech startups and your current role as CEO of MetaViu, what are your long-term aspirations and vision for your entrepreneurial journey?
So, this is a very important question. I’ve been thinking a lot about myself. My bigger vision with MetaViu is to be a game-changer in immersive experiences. We should go to any web or website through brands to try their foot into the metaverse platforms and start campaigns. And at the same time, uniting so many experienced builders from various platforms and busy industry experts in this field to be the go-to place for experienced builders and brands when they are thinking of creating experiences in the virtual world. I have bigger visions with MetaViu, and I will be pushing it harder, pushing the limits to the end. In about one year, I envision to be hosting more than 1,000 plus gamified experiences and working with many top-leading brands, as well as medium-sized and web3 brands. I would also love to continue supporting startups and increase my investments. For the next year, I would love to invest in 10 more startups. Currently, I have only invested in five and slowly move from active building into active advising and strategy planning for my companies. So, that’s my short-term goal in the upcoming years.
As you continue to make a mark in the metaverse advertising industry, how do you envision your role as an industry leader and influencer, and what do you hope to contribute to the broader entrepreneurial community through your experiences?
I already envision MetaViu becoming one of the main players in the web series industry as I continue to make my mark in the metaverse advertising industry. As an industry leader, I envision myself traveling around the world, educating many people on how to use these technologies. I will continue doing this whenever I have the opportunity. I am always happy to meet new people and provide advice or share my knowledge about immersive experiences in different metaverse platforms. I will continue spreading whatever I have learned and at the same time, learning from other people. I want to showcase to everybody that advertising and marketing can be a good thing. In this new era, no advertising provider or platform should be maximally extracting from creators. Most importantly, I want to empower individual content creators or companies who are creating these immersive experiences. We share the majority of whatever revenue they are generating with them and empower them to push more and do more. Delegation and mentoring play a crucial role in this process. I trust my team members and give them full independence and leadership in their roles. This helps them become more creative and come up with innovative ideas.
Scaling a company requires a strong team and leadership. What steps are you taking to develop and empower the next generation of leaders within MetaViu to drive the company’s future growth?
Okay, this is a very interesting and important question. Because I found it very hard at the beginning to transfer and delegate tasks I was doing best to other people who were joining my company. It took me forever, and it was unimaginable. I think every startup founder goes through this, right? So, I thought I was doing sales way better than my employees, and I could negotiate better than my colleagues. However, I realized that if I continued to do everything myself and didn’t learn how to delegate, I couldn’t scale my business. I cannot be the front runner forever, nor can I be tied down to operations, right?
Two years ago, I was fortunate to delegate many of these tasks to my amazing colleagues and partners in my other companies, and now I’m in the process of doing the same at MetaViu. My approach is to hire top players, that’s my first rule in the industry, because they can handle the workload of three or four people and drive the company forward. Moreover, I grant them full independence – that’s the key. I never go deep into the operations and allow them to lead with full independence. This approach has proven to be successful, and they become more creative, come up with ideas, and take on leadership roles.
I only review the results at the end of the month or quarter. They even set their own sales goals, marketing goals, KPIs, OKRs, etc. Additionally, I invest time in educating them personally, not just by giving them books. I send them to different conferences as speakers and connect them with industry leaders and mentors. This helps me delegate a lot of my responsibilities to my team members. It is very challenging, but trusting your team members is crucial. Right now, we have a team of 25 at MetaViu, and they are all working exceptionally hard, taking on initiatives actively in every field. I am thrilled to be able to delegate tasks and learn how to do it, as it’s a huge challenge for many startup founders. Remember, if you can’t delegate your knowledge, you won’t scale anywhere – you’ll be stuck doing the same thing forever. Delegation, mentoring, and granting leadership independence to your top players are essential aspects of growth.
Collaborating with major brands like Coca-Cola and Rémy Martin indicates a strong market presence. What criteria do you use to select brand partners, and how do you ensure that the experiences offered align with their unique marketing goals?
We have a clear understanding of which metaverse platform suits different kinds of brands and target audiences. For instance, Roblox mainly attracts teenagers from 13 to 15, with the majority being females. Fortnite, on the other hand, also targets teenagers, but the majority are males. When it comes to disenthrall, the audience is more tech-savvy. The sandbox represents a slightly different case. Based on this knowledge, we choose the appropriate metaverse platform for each brand.
We also consider which type of brand can benefit from immersive experiences. Not every brand may need it at the moment, but for industries like healthcare, beauty, food and beverages, consumer products, electronics, and automobiles, immersive experiences offer an amazing space to explore. However, it takes time to educate web two brands about the potential of immersive experiences before proceeding with sales. Patience is essential in this process, but it pays off eventually.
For web series brands, the process is somewhat easier as they are more familiar with the concept and readily jump in. We avoid overwhelming web two brands with talk of web three, Blockchain, NFTs, etc. Instead, we explain things in their terms and then assist them in trying out different approaches and showing them the results. This approach helps us turn them into long-term clients.
It’s essential not to make false promises about the metaverse or immersive experiences. They are not merely transactional campaigns but rather experiential ones, providing users with an immersive and engaging experience while interacting with the brand.
In our case, we have specific verticals that we target, and we invest significant time in educating brands about the potential benefits of immersive experiences within their own context. This approach has proven successful in fostering brand partnerships aligned with their unique marketing goals.
The future of advertising is undoubtedly dynamic and rapidly evolving. What emerging trends in Web3 and the metaverse excite you the most, and how do you plan to capitalize on these trends?
So, most of the trends and things that motivate me are related to how quickly we are moving towards the adoption of these worthwhile worlds and mixed reality. Especially with Meta Quest Three launching with a $500,000 sticker price, April Vision Pro will be launched, but it won’t be massively adapted after the surge generation. It happens with every Apple product; most people get iPhones when the third generation comes out, right? Additionally, with the EDWINS tools of generative AI, 3D models can be created very quickly. Right now, the biggest friction in adopting these new technologies is that not many people have access to VR headsets. Also, the work of 3D modelers takes a lot of time, and you need to compensate them generously. That’s why we don’t have too many 3D virtual experience worlds, right? It’s still very costly for many brands. How many? I know so many brands that don’t even have 3D models of their logos. With generative AI, just by using text inputs, you can quickly create any type of immersive space or experience. It will boost energy adoption, and we’re going to be integrating these tools in the MetaViu.
My goal is to transition from active building to active advising and strategy planning for my companies. That’s my short-term goal for the upcoming years. I already envision MetaViu becoming one of the main players in the website industry while continuing to make its mark in the metaverse advertising industry. How do you envision your role as an industry leader in the USA? And what do you hope to contribute to the broader intrapreneurial communities through your experience? A very interesting question. Personally, I started building my personal brand almost five or six years ago. It’s crucial for every startup founder to build their own personal brand and be active in the industry. Last year, most of my time was spent educating other people, brands, agencies, and many others by speaking at conferences about how to use these new advertising opportunities and immersive experiences. Everybody knows about advertising Easy Web toothpaste, but not many people understand how this new virtual world can be used for brands. Everybody is experimenting at this stage. I try to dedicate 80% of my time to education and 20% to sales. I travel around the world, educating many people on how to use these technologies, and I will continue doing this, seizing every opportunity and dedicating time to other founders while also learning from them.
Looking ahead, what are your long-term visions for MetaViu? How do you see the company evolving over the next five years, and what impact do you hope to make in the world of metaverse advertising?
First of all, our vision is to make advertising not seem bad, as people hate it in the gaming industry or web series. I’m trying with MetaViu to change this view and showcase to everybody that advertising money can be used to motivate amazing 3D creators to develop incredible games on various leading Metaverse platforms. At the same time, brands will also get maximum effectiveness. It won’t be about billboards or preroll videos anymore. Brands will be seamlessly integrated into gaming experiences. That’s what excites me a lot in the next five years; MetaViu will be able to change this view and show everybody that marketing and advertising are actually good things. In this new era, no advertising provider or platform should be maximizing extraction. I really want to empower individual content creators in this measurable use case.
With your expertise and experience, how do you envision MetaViu contributing to the broader adoption and integration of the metaverse into mainstream marketing strategies?
As you mentioned before, currently, it is very costly for brands to try out things in the Metaverse platforms. They don’t know which avenues to explore and what results to expect. Moreover, they are not ready to invest significant funds into untested platforms. With MetaViu, I aim to address these challenges by enabling brands to experience immersive experiences with an investment ranging from 1000 to 10,000 US dollars. This allows them to understand the potential of these platforms without committing substantial resources upfront.
Many brands lack awareness of suitable platforms to begin their journey into the Metaverse. At MetaViu, we assist them in making informed decisions. By recommending appropriate games and integrating existing immersive experiences with their brands, we eliminate concerns about visitor traffic and analytics. Drawing from our extensive experience in working on numerous projects, we provide personalized guidance, ensuring they choose the best path to start their journey affordably and easily. Once they become familiar with these experiences, they can then proceed to create their custom, large-scale marketing activities.
I firmly believe that in just a couple of years, web technologies will evolve to the point where distinctions between Web3, Webs 2, etc., will no longer be significant. Most companies will integrate virtual spaces into their web pages, making the entire web a 3D immersive experience. Currently, we are in the early stage of educating people about these possibilities and conducting experiments, but in the near future, we expect mass adoption of these technologies.
How can people find out more about MetaViu and connect with you?
Discover more about MetaViu by visiting our website. For further insights, feel free to explore our LinkedIn page, Twitter profile, or join our Discord community. Connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter as well—I’m thrilled to connect with new individuals and provide assistance. Whether you seek advice or want to delve into immersive experiences across various Metaverse platforms, I’m here and eager to offer my full support. Let’s embark on this exciting journey together!