How can you create a positive global impact in the NFT space? Today’s guests are Yam Karkai & Raphaël Malavieille, Co-Founders of World of Women, the leading NFT community celebrating art, inclusivity, and equal opportunities for all. Joining Jeff Kelley, Eathan Janney, and Josh Kriger, they share how they’re bringing more focus on diversity and representation into the NFT world while creating a safe, welcoming space for women, minorities, and up-and-coming artists to navigate the Web3 arena. Yam and Raph discuss their World of Woman Galaxy release and tease more exciting new projects and collaborations currently in the works. They also talk about their vision for the future of the NFT space and their philanthropic efforts to make their vision of inclusivity and accessibility come to life. Plus, Daniel Eilemberg of Lil Heroes joins today’s Hot Topic to share how they’re making big moves in social impact as they introduce new characters in their TV show.
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Yam & Raph, Co-Founders From World of Women – The Leading NFT Community Celebrating Art & Inclusivity, Plus Daniel Eilemberg Of Lil Heroes And More!
I am Yam Karkai.
I’m Raphaël Malavieille. We’re 2 of the 4 cofounders of World of Women.
It is a project leading the charge to expand inclusivity and diversity in Web 3.0 and beyond.
We are here on the Edge of NFT, the show behind NFT LA, the event that attracts and empowers the true diversity of leaders and change-makers from all walks of life.
Stay tuned for this episode and find out how World of Women is deliberate and effective at expanding its reach with the World of Women Galaxy release and the giveback work of its foundation.
Also on why the guests might know each other’s edge quick hitter answers better than themselves.
Additionally, how Lil’ Heroes is about to make a big splash with its TV show and introduce Lil’ Villains to the world, all while making big moves and social impact. All this and more on this episode.
Don’t forget. We put together a little soiree called NFT LA that brought out thousands of the world’s most innovative doers in the NFT space. Head to 2023.NFTLA.live to get on the whitelist for tickets to our bigger, bolder, better, but also just as an intimate and impactful event happening in Los Angeles from March 20th to the 23rd, 2023. See you there.
This episode features Yam Karkai, Chief Creative Officer, and Raphaël Malavieille, Head of Partnerships, who are 2 of the 4 cofounders of World of Women, a community-centric brand celebrating art, representation, inclusivity, and equal opportunities for all. World of Women focuses on bringing more diversity and representativeness into the NFT world while creating a safe and welcoming space for women and minorities, and also supporting up-and-coming artists from helping people who are new to NFTs navigate the Web 3.0 space to creating and sharing inspiring derivatives and cultivating a welcoming environment for everyone. The World of Women community is inclusive, optimistic and uplifting. Welcome, Yam and Raph.
Thank you so much for having us.
It’s such a pleasure. We’re all about increasing the adoption and understanding of Web 3.0 and this amazing thing we call NFTs. You guys have had such an incredible global impact on the industry. It brought so many people into this space. It’s such an honor to have you both. I would love to start by learning a little bit more about the founding story and what inspired you to launch World of Women.
World of Women was created by four friends. All four of us were cofounders. I wanted to make World of Women happen because there was a very serious issue in this space. I was frustrated by it and wanted to fix it. Through the World of Women, we could start the change and the switch in this Web 3.0 space by making it more inclusive and representative of women and diverse people. That’s why and how it started, and who started in a nutshell.
How did you get together with your three cofounders?
I have one of our cofounders, Raph, here. He’s my husband in real life, so this is how we got together to the World of Women because we were literally together. The other cofounders, BBA and Thomas, are friends from real life. They used to work with Raph in the same company. These are people that we’ve known for several years. It was the ideal situation.
At least you know that you’re going to get along and skip some parts of that storming, forming and norming process that new companies have to deal with. That probably has something to do with your staying power and how much you’ve accomplished in such a short time.
It’s possible. We like to believe it. It might have been difficult for Yam to launch the product if we didn’t have this relationship in real life because, at the time, we weren’t too sure how to find the people that would help us develop the asset and develop the website. BBA also develop the strategy behind it because Yam and I were more invested in the single edition artist side of things than in the collectible arts at the time and the PFPs. It was serendipitous. Probably that’s why it’s beautiful.
I think that may be the case. We talked a bit about motivation for launching the project. We had this stat that jumped out to us from 2021 and some of these metrics that are out there. It was that female artists accounted for just 5% of all NFT art sales in the previous two years. This was published at the end of 2021. How has World of Women worked specifically to create more opportunities for anyone around the world to be the owners, creators and contributors to Web 3.0?
The simple reason that World of Women exists and that World of Women gave women and diverse people a PFP they felt related to was already a big help in this switch in the space. What we’ve been doing from the very beginning and that we knew was going to be part of our DNA was giving back and supporting diverse artists from the beginning.
Since we launched, we’ve been collecting art pieces every day and spotlighting those artists, telling their stories, why we’ve collected that art piece, and putting incredible talents forward to new eyes. These are a few ways. We also have our foundation. We’re building our university now. These are the next steps in our journey in education and onboarding the next wave of people.
We’ve also had, from day one, a philanthropic side, where we’re giving back as well to different associations and issues that are close to our hearts. Most of the time, those conflicts, issues or places that we donate to have a lot to do with women, children and minorities because usually, they’re the ones that are the most affected by it. We think that a mix of all of that makes for a very inclusive environment for women to join and want to learn about Web 3.0
I’m going to add something here. It’s something that I realized after asking our community. They kept saying that it’s a very safe and inclusive environment, the World of Women on Discord, notably. I was asking what the difference was, and they feel like they could say something, come, ask questions, and not feel like they were being stupid and pushed back, and that the first step inside the space was enjoyable for a lot of people for whom it wasn’t enjoyable before. That has been a big difference.
We have a number of different giveback initiatives for the company. It’s something we’re looking at, giving a good amount of focus to, and directing our efforts in an even more focused way as an organization. We’ve found as part of our DNA that raising awareness and education is such a key piece of the puzzle for everybody. We feel like we’re in a distinctive position to do that, given our place in media and events. It’s something that we’re looking at and thinking about how we amplify that even more.
At no other point in history that people had as much access to opportunity as Web 3.0 represents. There’s this piece of education and awareness that’s the bridge to even let people know that opportunity is there. Maybe people don’t even know that it’s there and have that initial piece of knowledge that they need to take that step forward. This is an important and special time in history. We’re right at the center of moving us across that bridge to meaningful changes in the world. It’s exciting stuff.
I appreciate this idea of making it unintimidating because it is intimidating. I can think of all the onboarding experiences I’ve had with friends and how much personal touch was required, whether it was someone older or someone that hasn’t been immersed in technology. There’s so much that’s intimidating about Web 3.0 and the idea of collecting digital art. It’s an intimidating concept if you’ve never done it before. With such an ambitious set of initiatives that we can dive into a little bit more, the natural question comes is, how do you measure impact? What are you looking at in terms of your primary metrics now? Where would you like to see these metrics go?
I’m going to take this one. The answer might be disappointing but also transparent. We’ve been going fast in terms of organization. To be fair, until then, we didn’t have time, set up or a good organizational framework to measure our impact. One of our goals in the second half of 2022 is to become a data-driven company. We scale goals and the way to measure the results of what we’re doing. Until then, it has been hard to measure the impact. We’ve seen lots of women-centric collections. We’ve seen way more women acting in the space, but it’s hard to put a figure or number on it. For me, that will be the biggest thing I’ve seen that confirmed me in saying, “We made an impact.”
I agree with you, but we’re getting better at having actual numbers in front of our faces.
With the foundation that you’re doing, you can look at the impact of the grants that you give. Not that you asked for my thoughts on this, but the number of pieces you’ve collected and the number of artists you’ve supported are meaningful numbers.
There have been more than 300 artists that we supported through the foundation so far. What we do is we place or put their art for anybody. It’s not only women. It’s diverse people and artists that are new and artists that are more established. We believe that each one of those has an impact on their life. We know beautiful success stories of people selling a lot after World of Women finally purchased their art. That has been something. Another one that we didn’t mention is we gave a lot of money to charity, more than $1.2 million to date. We are looking in the next few months to reach $2 million.
We don’t like to see the impact of the money we have given. We would like to see the impact more in terms of lives changed, schools built, wells built, or trees planted. In this aspect, one of the biggest impacts we’ve seen was a school being built in Kenya by the NGO to whom we donated as part of the initial pledge of World of Women. It was beautiful to see this school being built.
Since you mentioned that topic, we’re looking at the educational side of things with high schools and elementary schools, but also thinking about principals. If we can educate principals in schools, and they can educate the teachers, and those teachers can educate the students, there’s something powerful about that effect. It’s interesting to think about what it takes from a grassroots level to get this knowledge out to the masses. It’s cool what you’re doing there.
Do you have plans to reach out to principals of schools?
Let’s talk at the end of this episode. I’ll share some of the things we’re working on.
The key point in there is not just measuring the dollars you give, but the impact of those dollars. You’re thinking about that as you build partnerships, measuring the outcomes of them, and seeing the tangible outcome like building a school. That’s special. You’re seeing that ROI on the back. For others thinking about structuring the giveback program, that’s a key element that is often overlooked.
It’s also even more important for us to see that it has a positive impact, not only on artists in this space but on the world because we are in a business that consumes a lot of energy. This energy has to be done not only for business. It also has to be done for good. That’s why it’s important for us to figure this out. Until the energy consumption of the business and the industries slows down, it’s very important for us.
It’s obvious. We want to dive even deeper into your giveback program in a moment. Let’s also take a celebratory moment because the World of Women one year anniversary is upon us. It’s coming up on July 27th, 2022. Congratulations on that. It’s a major milestone for the company.
Thank you. We’re very excited. We can’t believe it has been a year.
It flies by. We wanted to take this moment. We talked about some things you’ve already accomplished that you’re very proud of, but let’s look back over 2021 and talk about other partnerships, initiatives, and programs that stand out to you as the most impactful on your vision. You guys have done a ton of work with Christie’s, Hello Sunshine, Monopoly, World of Women Foundation, Billboard Women and Music Awards, the NYC Madonna Party, and the VINCI Airports exhibit. The list goes on. It’s crazy that it has only been a year, and you’ve got all these things rolling. What stands out to you? What are the things that get you most jazzed about that happened over in 2021?
I keep saying that this is the most difficult question people can ask in an interview because it’s impossible for us to just choose one or the top three or something. Overall, for me, the people we’ve gotten to meet, work with, and partner with have been one of the highlights for me of the journey. I’ve gotten to connect with people I probably would have never connected with if it wasn’t for World of Women and what we’re trying to do here. That has led us to incredible opportunities such as Christie’s. For me personally, as an artist, that was a big highlight of the World of Women journey.
It was an unbelievable moment. Many of us were together while that was happening. It was exciting and moving. We’ve been talking a lot about giving back. For me, it was special to see that for the first time in my life, something that I built was allowing me to help causes that I was never able to support before World of Women because I simply couldn’t afford it. I couldn’t do it. That was huge for me on an individual level.
Talking about meeting incredible people along the way, we’ve built special relationships with a lot of the members of our community. Not only the people that have been there since day one but also others that came along. Those relationships have ended up opening doors to different partnerships like Hello Sunshine with Reese Witherspoon. She was an incredible supporter since early on. Meeting Reese led us to Eva Longoria, Huda, Marge, and Gwyneth Paltrow. We then ended up meeting all these amazingly strong women that are doing great things. It has been very inspiring in our journey. They motivated us along the way to keep doing what we’re doing because it’s an approval from the outside that what you’re doing matters. It has been a lot.
We met them after they had already helped us so much as well online with their platforms. It has been very centric, all of these causes. It guides out from the support they provided to us online, even when we met them in real life, which was a bit crazy for people we looked up to a lot in our lives.
It’s amazing. It’s a great testament to what’s possible in this space and how fast things can move if you do everything with intention, commitment and vision. You’ve inspired so many people. I’m happy for you guys. When I heard all this stuff, I’m enrolled. I don’t know any other way to describe it from an emotional perspective but it’s cool.
Thank you so much.
We’ve experienced a pretty wild year in a lot of ways too. When we started the show, we didn’t necessarily anticipate we would have a conference with almost 4,000 people in less than a year. This is the magic of this space that we’re in. As we talk about all these impact initiatives and the DNA that guide you, I would love to understand a little bit more about how you look at giveback in your planning. For example, with the program of the World of Women Emergency Fund and the Art Fund, how does that fit into your planning process?
We were lucky to meet with Inna, our Head of Philanthropy. She was building with a partner a company called CODE GREEN to help support real-life projects which have Web 3.0 initiatives. She has been involved since day one with us in this philanthropic aspect. That’s why we pledged a big amount of the earnings to them. We trust them to find the best way to allocate those funds to the best people to make sure they have the maximum impact and to avoid just pledging money to the organization while we’re not sure where the funds are going.
We had this call to make sure to put a stamp of approval on the allocation plan for this whole year. There are going to be ten different schematics that we’re going to be covering. We’re probably going to be talking about them each month, but we’re going to be donating the money as soon as possible so that it can have an impact as soon as possible as well. The way we do it is we have someone plus their team dedicated to this in-house. That’s the way we do it. It’s not just a side gig.
Our recommendation to folks that have tried to incorporate giving back as part of their companies is that you have to put it front and center. It has to be part of the planning process. Otherwise, it becomes an afterthought. That’s unfortunate, especially when you have that authentic desire to give back and incorporate it into what you do. If you don’t put it front and center as part of your planning process, that’s where we’ve seen it go. It ends up being secondary, and then it’s an afterthought. The impact is way less than you ever intended it to be out of the gate.
There’s also a bit of being proactive about it. It is not just we’re giving away money. There is an aspect of challenging the organization to give money or to give back and to show what they are doing. It’s challenging them to do something with the money and go all the way. Maybe it’s presumptuous, but it’s needed. From what we see working with Inna, they are doing a great job at making sure the money is used to help people and also the planet.
As you continue to release projects, form partnerships, and fund things, your latest collection, the World of Women Galaxy, we wanted to know how this particular collection is taking things to the next level for World of Women. How is it different from your original collection? Where should we expect things to go from here with that project?
First of all, it has allowed us to onboard a lot of new people into our community that were not able to join us before for many different reasons. One of them being that it was not accessible for them financially speaking. We got a lot of incredible people on board which has been great. I don’t know the exact numbers. Raph, what are the numbers now that we have of unique holders?
World of Women: The difference was feeling like they could say something, like they could come and ask questions and not feel like they were being stupid and pushed back and that made the first step inside the NFT space enjoyable for a lot of people for whom it wasn’t enjoyable before.
It’s more than 17,000 at this stage.
That has been impactful for us and a very positive thing. It’s also the fact that the World of Women Galaxy collection is so different from the World of Women, thematically speaking. The theme is all about the future, sci-fi and some fantasy. There is entire lore behind it that we have been building since 2021. The World of Women Galaxy collection has allowed us to dive deep into the lore and its retelling of the World of Women overall. It has been inspiring and fun for us in that sense because many of us at the company are big fans of video games, sci-fi and fantasy books. It has been a fun journey to be able to develop the storytelling for all of this based on that collection. Those are three things that have been great that we’ve achieved through the second collection.
We started working on the story in November 2021, which is the expansion of the brand. What we meant is it’s a very classy and universal brand around women and diversity. It’s good for us to have an IP that is more gaming-oriented, more fun-oriented and a bit crazier. Even the Art of Yam is way crazier in WoW Galaxy. Those are two IPs for us to have available for partnerships because brands are interested in partnering with the IP we’ve created, and stand behind the same values as we do. It’s great, for that matter. I’m looking forward to the story and different activation we’ll have, and leveraging WoW and WoW Galaxy and the relationship between those.
Here’s one of the cool things in terms of IP ownership and usage of those rights for these holders and the NFTs themselves. We had Marta Belcher from the Filecoin Foundation. She’s the General Counsel there. She has a tremendous background in copyright and intellectual property. She has some interesting ideas on that.
If you guys ever want to explore creative ways to leverage that part of the original collection World of Women Galaxy in any future collections, she has a distinct perspective on this and an amazing background on how to structure things in a way that works well legally from intellectual property and copyright perspective. It’s hard to get attorneys to share distinct perspectives like this in this space because there’s so much legal liability and so on. She’s a special person and someone at some point I might consider talking to if I was in that spot that you guys are in.
I would love to get in touch.
She’s the Chairwoman of Filecoin Foundation as well now. She’s at the top of the food chain over there and doing some amazing stuff. We had a show with her not so long ago. It’s one to check out. You’ve talked a lot about your broader vision for the new collection coming out, which is exciting. I wanted to go a little deeper there in terms of what 2023 has in store for you. I know you wanted to pledge capital over the next few months and get into metrics. Are there any brand partnerships on the horizon? Is there anything else that we didn’t cover that’s on your roadmap for 2023?
For 2023, as far as we know and what we can tell you is that there are new partnerships ahead that we’re excited about. We’re going to keep on exploring the World of Women and WoW Galaxy IP as this is a very important part of our business. On the other hand, we’re going to dig deep into digital identity. I cannot talk much about that now because this is something we’re developing. It’s a top secret if you want to call it like that. We’re working on the future of WoW and the other side that is not related to our IP. We’re excited about that. I know that sounded cryptic but I can’t say much more about it.
We’ve given a lot of clues about the vision that the community gave us and the vision we had for the brand. There’s a star map that we produced in April 2022, which is a big visual of the different aspects and peripherals where we can go. The licensing is a big part of seeing it within the context of physical goods. The community and the foundation are key and are one of the pillars of what we’re doing. We are working on the Web 3.0 innovations there on how to integrate NFTs into people’s daily life without people having to see them as financial devices or as investments and speculative stuff without value. We are working on making NFTs logical for everybody.
Also, to be accessible. We believe that in the long-term, NFT has to be something that’s financially accessible to everybody. This is something that we’re going to have in mind as well in the future.
Looking at your Galaxy collection, you’ve doubled the number of owners of pieces. The price points are more affordable for someone entering the market or who wants to be part of the community and whatnot. That’s great too. That seems like another benefit of that additional collection.
Increasing accessibility allows you to reduce that purchase price so you could reach more people and still generate the value for the users and capture some of that to redeploy. There’s a virtuous cycle there, and we’re so early in this whole process.
The acquisition has to come from something different than Twitter, where you have to learn and understand how it works and what’s happening on the website. It probably has to come from more mainstream places where people are already used to acquiring things. That will help.
It’s a very good point and agreed. Here’s the last question of this segment for you. We like to ask all of our guests this. What else is inspiring you these days, Web 3.0 projects, concepts beyond this space, individuals, and advisors? What is it that drives you forward that inspires and challenges you outside of your day-to-day work in World of Women?
It has always been a lot about looking at what everybody else does that’s successful because I tend to always think, “Why didn’t I think about it? Why didn’t we do that? This is a great idea. They’re doing great.” I’m looking at all those collections that are doing great. What you guys have been doing has been an inspiration since the beginning. It’s obvious. The show is successful and does great stuff. You do very impressive stuff in NYC. It’s always good to look at the best in class and the people beside you doing great things and get inspired. You all have to be inspired. You can’t just go from scratch and always do something amazing from scratch.
That’s not realistic. It’s also a selfish way of thinking about things. We’re all inspired by others. We all learn from others. There’s always going to be someone better than you. That’s good because you get to learn and improve what it is that you’re doing or building. We’ve always had this mentality of learning from what works since the beginning. That’s how we decided what we were going to do and not do when launching World of Women. For example, we were analyzing, learning, doing homework, and taking notes of what works and doesn’t work in different areas, like marketing, social media, or the way people were structuring their collections. It’s always important to stay humble about that and always be open to improving and learning. That’s what we tried to do.
Even at the very beginning, I remember even before thinking about World of Women, it was just this single edition art we would attend every Saturday, the collections round table, where collectors in the space would collect an art. We would learn there and be inspired like, “They are so successful. They are doing so well.” We would take notes and share with the community the meeting minutes of those that people learn and try to grow.
I remember there were doing a lot of market research. I was looking up to the Bulls on the Block, The Wicked Craniums, the Deadheads and the House of Goats. All of those inspired us as well. We’re like, “They’re doing so well.” Since we launched, we are probably more focused on ourselves. As we go, we’re going to have us people, community members and moderators to help us add this overall vision of the market and tell us, “You should look into this.” In real life, I’m also very inspired by our dog that’s always happy, so I’m trying to be inspired by it.
Let me zoom in on one point to elevate it even further for our readers. That is being humble and willing to learn from those that are doing great things and those that have come before us. There’s such a focus on being disruptive, innovative, and doing something new in the world of Web 3.0 that we forget that there are a lot of folks that have been here and done that for a very long time in the core business, technology, and already in the world of blockchain. We don’t want to discount that. Sometimes, folks do, “That’s Web 2.0 thinking.” There’s a lot to learn from that to take forward into this next iteration of what we’re doing.
It’s things like the fundamentals around copyright and intellectual property. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There are smart people that have thought of this for a long time like Marta that we mentioned before that are now applying it to what we’re doing in this next iteration. I appreciate you highlighting that point.
That is the end of segment one. We appreciate you giving all the background on World of Women and all the fun things that are happening, and so much more to come that we’ll be waiting on the edge of our seats to hear about.
Let’s move on to segment two. This is the section that we call Edge Quick Hitters. It’s a fun and quick way for us to get to know you a little bit better. These are ten questions that we ask every single guest of our show. We’re looking for short, single-word or few-word responses, but we may dive in a little bit deeper if we get the urge. We’ll work our way between you guys for these questions. Let’s start with Yam. Question one, what is the first thing you remember ever purchasing in your life?
It’s a Michael Jackson CD. I was a massive fan as a kid.
That’s maybe the first Michael Jackson appearance we’ve had on the show so far. That’s great. Raph, how about you?
It’s probably sweets when I was 4 or 3 years old.
Question number two, Yam, what is the first thing you remember ever selling in your life?
This is a weird one. When I was 7 or 8, I thought I could do a rose perfume. I tried to make rose perfume in my backyard. I went to my neighbors to try to sell that. That was my first attempt at selling the product that I made. I sold one, so I would say that’s the first thing.
You made a sale, which is good. You had at least some product market fit. It’s very innovative. That’s cool. Raph, how about you?
It has to be a Magic: The Gathering card. I was eight years old, probably.
There’s a thread there. Magic: The Gathering has inspired a lot of people. Question number three, Yam, what is the most recent thing you purchased?
I bought a simple watering can. That’s the last thing I bought.
Raph, how about you?
I believe it was a hammock that I have yet to receive.
Do you have some trees you’re going to put it in? Do you need a hammock stand?
We have some trees.
Question number four, Yam, what is the most recent thing you sold?
It’s the World of Women NFT in the NFT market.
That sounds about right. Raph, how about you?
I probably sold some USD for some ETH. I don’t know if that counts. It’s a trade.
It’s good times either way on the ETH acquisition front, no matter how you cut it. Question five, Yam, what is your most prized possession?
I’m going to say my dog but it’s not an object.
World of Women: We’re going to keep on exploiting the World of Women and WoW galaxy IP as this is a very important part of our business. On the other hand, we’re going to dig deep into digital identity.
We had someone give us a legal opinion on that. Cats and dogs are actual legal possessions.
I don’t worry too much unless it’s very important. I’m chill. That was going to be mine.
Yam, how about you?
I care a lot about people. It’s caring.
Question seven, Raph, if you could eliminate one of your personality traits from the next generation, what would it be?
I can’t do something that doesn’t have a purpose. I have a hard time just going for a walk. I need to have something to do with my walk. I like to have my time always be efficient for something with one of my goals, which can be annoying for people around me.
Is this confirmed, Yam? How do you feel?
Yes. You can’t pass that to the next generation. I don’t know what the word is for this.
How about you, Yam?
It’s either my lack of patience for certain things or maybe my obsession with order. I would give that away so I can be more chill.
Moving on to question number eight, Raph, if you could buy anything in the world, digital, physical service, and experience that’s for sale, what would it be?
It would probably be snowboarding or windsurfing with someone that’s a legend and that I’ve looked up to. That would be one of those. That would be something money cannot buy. I don’t know if it’s for sale or not, but it’s the experience.
That has come up a lot. Gary Vee and those guys were doing a bunch of stuff at the beginning of COVID. They had a lot of giveaways and givebacks where they would sell experiences like that. We’ll put that on the list, Yam, for his next birthday. Yam, how about you?
It’s weird because he buys time with a specific person. It’s like you’re putting that person on a pedestal, and then it’s like, “Why? It’s just a person.” I would buy the Amazon Forest so that no one would be able to cut trees down there. That’s something I would do. I would buy the entire thing. Anybody that tries to get in, gets eliminated.
That went dark pretty quickly. Theoretically, most of it is. It would be expensive.
Maybe if they don’t agree to those terms, they have to plant a tree there, and then you kick them out.
By eliminating, I didn’t mean eliminating like I’m a robot or droid, and I’m eliminating people that go in. I just meant they’re out.
I understand. I assumed as much but thank you for clarifying. Question number nine is a little easier. Raph, what did you do before joining us on the show?
I hugged Yam for certain minutes before and did a lot of paperwork. It’s not fun. It’s terrible.
Yam, how about you?
What I was doing was not interesting, so I will say what I was doing right before that. I was on a weekly call. I wouldn’t say I was peeing because that’s what I was doing right before the call.
It’s way more interesting than the call. Last one, question ten, what are you going to do next after the show?
You’ll know that she wasn’t hugging me. There was no hugging on the other side.
I went to the bathroom right before I came here. That was after the hug.
That’s a good clarification. Last question in. What are you going to do next after this interview?
I’m looking at all the cardboard boxes here. I’m going to close some cardboard boxes and prepare them for stuff. We are moving lots of things in the house.
Yam, how about you?
I have an interview with a potential candidate for World of Women.
That is Edge Quick Hitters. Thanks so much for sharing with us. We appreciate it. It’s a lot of fun. We’re ready to move on to segment number three, which is a sponsored hot topic. It’s all about Lil’ Heroes. A world-renowned artist, Edgar Plans, has entered the metaverse with a bang. Edgar’s art, which was once breaking records in auction houses like Christie’s, is now breaking boundaries in Web 3.0 and beyond.
It’s an NFT collection of hand-drawn Lil’ Heroes that are playful and mischievous, all while raising awareness around heavy sociopolitical issues, such as gender violence, racism and climate change. In other words, these Lil’ Heroes are on a mission to make the world a better place. Lil’ Heroes was launched in January of 2022 with 7,777 NFTs and sold out in 45 minutes, which was super fast. It raised $12 million and has since seen over 18,000 ETH traded in a Discord community forum with almost 100,000 members. We’re joined by Daniel Eilemberg, Founder of Lil’ Heroes, to give us a hot take on what’s popping up with the project. Daniel, welcome to the show.
Thank you for having me.
Tell us a little bit about this. How did the concept come together for Lil’ Heroes? How did it form?
The idea of Lil’ Heroes came at Exile Studio, the parent company of Lil’ Heroes. We are an entertainment studio. We produce films, TV, music, and so on. A friend of mine who’s a collector told me about this artist that we have to check out called Edgar Plans. As soon as I saw Edgar’s work, and if you take a look at his paintings, you’ll see the same, we thought it was perfect to create an animated series and an animated franchise around these characters. They’re incredibly sweet, digestible and friendly.
We started those conversations with Edgar a couple of years ago. As we saw the NFT develops with amazing projects like World of Women come up, we realized that the right way to start this project and build a community and a fandom around what we were hoping to build in the future was through the launch of the NFTs. That’s where we started.
You can’t have heroes without villains. This is part of the hot take here. What’s happening with Villains now coming up in 2022?
As we think about expanding that entertainment brand and franchise that we’re building, we couldn’t have the Lil’ Heroes without the Lil’ Villains. We are building a new collection. It’s called Lil’ Villains. It’s coming out pretty amazing. We’re also thinking in terms of utility. It will bring new utility into the collection. We’re minting 7,777. If you have a Lil’ Hero, you’ll be able to play Lil’ Villain for free. The surplus of those, we’ll make available to expand the community.
It sounds like some similar thinking with World of Women Galaxy around what you’re doing more accessible to more folks and increasing the amount of IP you have to offer to brands and partnerships. That’s cool. You’ve got this training camp, which is an initiative in the space. Can you tell us more about it?
In training camp, the way we think about it is a gamified version of what other projects are doing as staking. In this case, we don’t want to tie it to a yield or a financial return. These are not financial instruments. They are art. We’ve built this gamification around that, where you’ll send your Lil’ Heroes and Lil’ Villains to training camp. You’ll receive rewards, access to Edgar’s art, and something we’re excited about evolving trades for the NFTs. We’ll reveal a little bit more about that in the future.
One of the other distinctive things we saw here about the project is the massive growth of your Discord community in a relatively short period of time. Many people strive to craft communities and inspire engagement. Can you tell our readers a little bit about how you created such an immense community in such a short period of time?
I would be lying if I didn’t say that we weren’t also surprised by their response. It was a combination of things. Long before we launched Lil’ Heroes, Edgar had a long career as an artist. He’s well established in the contemporary art world. His painting sells in the secondary market for about $500,000. There was a large following around his art and the opportunity of owning a piece of art by Edgar at a completely different price point from where his art is at now. It was a combination of that. Plus, we had a strong roadmap with a long-term vision of building an entertainment franchise. The project is backed by a studio and people that have done this in the past that have a lot of experience building brands and IP. That set us apart and gave people confidence in the long-term vision of this.
It’s an amazing one. It’s hard to build a community like that. It sounds like all the pieces came together, and this is the result and it’s still growing to this day.
Looking at the art, it’s so distinctive and interesting. From the facial expressions to the attributes and colors, it’s cool.
World of Women: We’re all inspired by others. We all learn from others. There’s always going to be someone that’s better than you and that’s good because you get to learn and you get to improve what it is that you’re doing or that you’re building.
People responded to characters when we launched them.
You mentioned that the TV series is coming up. Thinking about what these ingredients of cool stuff come together to inspire the following and community. Carmelo Anthony, the soon-to-be Hall of Fame NBA player, is going to executive produce. He has support from all people like J Balvin, the Nobel Prize winner, Maria Ressa, DJ Khaled, and will.i.am. It’s an amazing mix of people supporting this thing. Tell us a little bit about that TV series in more depth.
We’re starting to develop that TV show. From the inception of the project, we thought hard about a couple of challenges that we see traditionally in Hollywood. One is the creation of IP. Hollywood is good at finding IP elsewhere and adapting it for TV shows and series. It’s not so great since the early days of Disney, with a few exceptions at creating brand new IP. We wanted to test these new technologies and opportunities to create fandom and community to build a television show in a different way.
One, starting with the fandom and building that community around it, but also making that development process a little bit more participatory and bringing our community into the development process. When you watch a film, usually all of these things are built in an ivory tower away from the public’s eye and you only get to see the final product. We thought it would be a lot of fun to build this with the community in a more participatory way and bring them into the process of creating a show. That’s what we’re building.
We have some incredible partners along for the ride. As you mentioned, Carmelo Anthony is an Executive Producer. We also brought the former President of Hasbro Studios, Stephen Davis, who led GI Joe, My Little Pony, Transformers, and the creation of some meaningful pop culture franchises as we build this. We’re now finalizing the negotiations with a well-established Hollywood showrunner. We’ll be opening up a virtual writer’s room for a community to participate very soon.
That’s exciting. I love that we have two incredible projects with some incredible IP on the show, and at the same time, both are committed to making a bigger impact in the world. It seems like you’re focused on bringing awareness to some pretty heavy issues like sociopolitical issues, including gender violence, racism, and climate change. How are you going about that?
First of all, we have a lot to learn from World of Women. The work that they’ve done in that space is commendable and something that we look at and we’re learning. We saw that they made their collection carbon-neutral. It’s something that we are looking to do as well. So far, we’ve done a couple of things. We did an auction with Phillips in Hong Kong to raise funds for Save The Children in Ukraine at the offset of the war.
We also launched the project with a foundation called Project Hiu that teaches shark fishing communities in Southeast Asia to train those communities to make a living, not out of killing the sharks, but with shark tourism, diving, and so on. They run these amazing training programs to prevent or help shark conservation. We partner with them to fund a bunch of those programs around ocean conservation. It’s something that’s very important for us at Lil’ Heroes that we think about a lot.
At the end of the day, especially in virtual communities that are not just determined by a location but these digital communities that come together, communities tend to come together because people care about an objective and a common goal. They share some commonalities. We won the commonality around Lil’ Heroes to create real real-world heroes. We have a community of people that want to have a net positive impact on the world that we live in. That is core to everything we do and are looking to do in the future.
We all need a hero in our lives, for sure. Raph and Yam, any thoughts for Daniel?
First, I want to get back to what Daniel was mentioning before. I love the concept and idea of a virtual writer’s room. It has been in our minds for so long, but we have been struggling to implement it and make it work. Every time we think about it, we’re like, “That would be amazing. If we do that, this might not work.” A virtual writer’s room that is open to the community is something we have in our minds as well. We’re all for the brand, franchise and storytelling as a whole, but also our relationship with our own production company, Hello Sunshine, in developing IP. That’s a great idea.
We completely agree on the fact that our community, much like the one of Lil’ Heroes, is aligned with a common goal. I like what you said about being aligned and letting everybody be heroes in the real world to have a net positive impact. Our communities are like-minded in this matter. It’s the feeling we’ve had since the beginning.
We share with you guys. We’re part of the same company as Hello Sunshine. We were acquired by Candle Media, which owns Hello Sunshine, so we’re cousins somehow.
This is an amazing project. We want our readers to be able to follow everything you’re doing, Daniel, and support you and cheer you on. Where should folks go to make sure that they are staying abreast of everything you have happening?
Do we have a date for Lil’ Villains?
Not yet. We’ll be announcing it in the future. We’re in the audit now. We want to get over that to have a definitive date.
The word on the street is that we have a little giveaway plan for our readers as well. Do you want to give us the scoop on that?
We’ll be giving three Lil’ Heroes NFTs, which in turn will give you the ability to claim Lil’ Villains. We’ll also be giving 150 preferential allow list spots. To enter, follow @LilHeroesNFT on Twitter and Instagram. Join the Discord and retweet this episode with #LilVillainsMint, and you’ll be able to get on the list.
Keep an eye on our socials. We’ll give all those details out there and give everybody out here a chance to win those sweet Lil’ Heroes and Lil’ Villains. Daniel, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it. It’s exciting stuff.
Daniel, it is an honor to have you at NFT LA. We’ll look forward to having you back on March 20th through the 23rd, 2023.
Count on it.
All right, brother. We’ll talk soon.
Thank you, guys.
Thanks again to Daniel for coming on and sharing with us some serendipity in there around relationship and commonalities between the projects. It’s very cool. Let’s take a moment here and do something we do every so often. Let’s give a little shout-out also to one of our audience. That person is @SissaLovesBeingAlive. She has been super-duper engaged on our social, spreading the word throughout the community about what we’re doing here at the Edge of NFT, as well as NFT LA and lots of other things that we’re involved with. I wanted to give her a little shout-out here.
We also know her boyfriend, Ben Yurcisin, which is from BeYu Labs. He joined us out of NFT LA. He’s someone we also featured on the show previously when we were at NFT NYC. Those are cool, fun members of our community that we wanted to give a little love to. Much love, @SissaLovesBeingAlive. We are pretty much at the end of this episode, but before we break, we want to give all of our audience an opportunity to know where they should go to follow World of Women and what Yam and Raph are up to individually as well. Where should we send them?
You can find this on Twitter, @WorldOfWomenNFT. You can find us as well on Instagram. We have the same name. If you want to dig deeper into what we do, you can go to our website. It’s WorldOfWomen.art. You can learn all about the theme, what we’re up to, what we’ve done so far, and who we are.
We are @WorldOfWomen.NFT on Instagram. In Discord, we have a cool URL where our community lives, which is Discord.gg/WorldOfWomen. Go to Twitter to find the link. Yam, what is your personal Twitter account?
Follow these folks, guys. There are so many amazing things going on. I’m sure you’ve read throughout the episode about their authentic vision and how much it’s impacting the space. If you want to stay up to speed on all this stuff, follow them and don’t miss out. We’ve reached the outer limit of the show. Thank you for exploring with us. We’ve got space for more adventures on this starship, so invite your friends and recruit some cool strangers that will make this journey all so much better. Go to Spotify or iTunes. Rate us and say something awesome, and then go to EdgeOfNFT.com to dive further down the rabbit hole. Lastly, be sure to follow us next time for more great NFT content. Thanks again for sharing this time with us.
Thank you for having us. It was a pleasure.
- World of Women
- Discord – World of Women
- CODE GREEN
- World of Women Galaxy
- Filecoin Foundation
- Marta Belcher of Filecoin Foundation – Previous Episode
- Lil’ Heroes
- Save The Children
- Project Hiu
- @LilHeroesNFT – Twitter
- Discord – Lil’ Heroes
- Instagram – Lil’ Heroes
- @SissaLovesBeingAlive – Instagram
- BeYu Labs
- Edge of NYC, June 2022: Josh Leidof (TRAN$PARENT) and Ben Yurcisin & Miles Colon (BeYu Labs) – Previous Episode
- @WorldOfWomenNFT – Twitter
- @WorldOfWomen.NFT – Instagram
- @YKarkai – Twitter
- @RaphFac – Twitter
- Spotify – Edge of NFT
- iTunes – Edge of NFT