Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
I’m Sean Kelly, the 25-year-old co-founder of Chibi Dinos NFT. Chibi Dinos is a one-of-a-kind play-to-earn NFT community. Our community is made up of basketball fans, collectors, gamers, and NFT lovers that are excited to take on the web-3 space.
We currently have our predictive basketball game, “Primal Pick’ems”, in beta. In this first-of-its-kind basketball-based game players can predict the results of real-life basketball games! We are also in the works of our play-to-earn basketball game, “Primal Hoop” Our game is currently in beta and will be released in the next few months.
The initial sale of the project brought in $2.4M in revenue 40% of this went to the graphic designer/developer. The remaining 60% was reinvested back into the company to hire staff and run marketing campaigns.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
I had some experience with the NFT industry as I was an early adopter of NBA Topshot and Veve collectibles, the more involved I got the more I knew I loved and wanted to stay in the space.
When thinking of a project I knew I wanted to honor my first company, Jersey Champs, which makes Jerseys. I also absolutely love basketball so I wanted to include that in some way. I was happy to make this the first major project that I started with my girlfriend, Ariel Riveros. Initially, I thought about releasing just jerseys, but when brainstorming with Ariel we realized that Jersey alone cannot move and can be a little limiting, but putting them on a being gave them life.
Ariel loves dinosaurs and as we talked about team names and dinosaur types we grew more and more excited. We had studied and reverse engineered many of the top NFT projects and made notes of the things we liked and the things projects had in common. At the time many animal NFTs were being released so we knew that animals were a good way to go. There were also not any major projects involving dinosaurs at the time so it felt fresh. We had found a medium that included things we both love incredibly.
Before launch, we invested $100k into the project, most of which was spent on marketing. We targeted Twitter heavily, as that is the social media platform that has the most NFT users. We partnered with 10 NBA Players and announced them as team captains for each one of our basketball teams, so people could support their favorite player/team. Marketing is something we have always loved. It is something that has come naturally and has always been fun to me. We are always impressed and actively learning from marketing that companies use. Ariel is a biochemist which I believe helps her get a different view than most marketers. We can quickly see what is yielding positive results and adjust those plans that may not. We were so excited to launch but honestly had no idea what to expect from it all. Our idea was officially validated and we knew we were onto something when our presale sold out in 40 Seconds. A few hours later we were once again shocked to have our public sale sell out in just 18 minutes!
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
Although Ariel and I were able to brainstorm the idea we did outsource the art itself.
It was an awesome process to be a part of as we were able to give the designers our idea and brainstorm with them. The designers had the idea of making the dinosaurs Chibi Dinosaurs. I found the designers through a simple Instagram story post on my page, asking if anyone knew of any good graphic designers that could help me create an NFT project. This is a tactic I still use all the time, as I am one or two degrees from just about anyone when I post a story. I’ve landed some major partnerships/collaborations by just putting myself out there. This is also why I invest heavily in growing my brand. We gave a list of attributes and dinosaurs that we liked and they came back to us with samples and models. We were quickly able to decide what we did and did not like until we came up with the attributes that would then be randomly generated into the 10,000 Chibi Dinos available today.
Describe the process of launching the business.
As we had been closely watching and learning from the NFT community and projects that we're releasing, once we had an idea we were able to get the art, website, development, and marketing all done within 14 days. We put the 100k up out of pocket, luckily we were in a position where we were able to do so without a loan or other line of credit.
When thinking about the business we wanted to do something family-friendly. Our original website was a pastel green color and was very inviting. Dinosaur and basketball lovers come in all shapes and sizes so we wanted it to be visually appealing to anybody. Before launch, I had sent some sample generations to 100 of my friends/acquaintances in the NFT space to gauge their interest level and thoughts on the project. Many of them loved it but some were not fans at all and believed that it was too cute to do well in a market that at the time was predominantly men.
On the day of launch, we were incredibly nervous, although we did everything we could in the period we had no idea how fast we would sell out or even if we would sell out at all. We did a fair launch, meaning that we did not save any dinos for ourselves, we had to mint or buy on the secondary market just like everyone else. We were shocked to see that we were unable to mint during presale as they had sold out so fast that our transactions never went through!
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
I truly believe that our community is the strongest thing we have. We are incredibly lucky to have been able to create and foster a true bond between so many people. After the initial launch, we sourced through our community to find our current team. Our one-of-a-kind community has always been incredibly welcoming to all that enter. I am so proud to be able to send people to our discord and have them be welcomed with open arms time and time again. I think a lot of people come for the idea of the play-to-earn game but I think they stay because of our community.
Incredibly enough after our marketing expenses prelaunch, we have not had any major marketing expenses. We love hopping on twitter spaces and AMAs and getting as much organic traffic as possible. We love the community for what it is and are always looking to expand though we have decided to hold off on major marketing until closer to our game launch!
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
We currently do not run ads. We are in the process of creating two play-to-earn games. Primal Hoop will be an arcade-style basketball game while Primal Pick’ems, our Predictive game is already in Beta for our holders!
To date, we have done 2,005.0453th in secondary sales on OpenSea.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
I have always loved building communities and bringing people together, however, going into this space made me realize how important a community can be. Everything we do is for our community, they have been there with us since we started and we want to show them how much that means to us. In crypto and NFTs, there is always a bear and bull market and they have stuck with us and helped us bounce back no matter what. I truly believe that our community, and the moderators we have that helped us build it, are the most valuable asset we have.
Something hard for us was understanding discord. NFT Servers on Discord became major targets to hackers. They would hack in and do things like sending the community fake mint links to get money from them. Our server was unfortunately hacked twice. Luckily we have an amazing server manager and he got everything back in line and put preventative measures in for us should anything happen.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
For my personal life, I love using Trello to keep me organized.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
Alex Hormozi has been a big inspiration to me. His YouTube provides great content, and his book was the most impactful book I have ever read.
Podcast wise, I recently just got into “My First Million” and like that one a lot. Jim Kwik, Patrick Bet David & Tom Bilyeu have great content for mindset.
Attending networking events has had a massive impact on my life. Surrounding myself with people doing better than me is something I always try to do.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
Learn as much as possible. It’s funny when I was a student, I hated school. But ever since I became an entrepreneur, I became obsessed with learning.
Attend networking events. As many as possible. Don’t go to listen to the speakers. Go to network and provide value to others. It will find a way to reciprocate itself.
Double down on what works. In the beginning, you might have to do everything but once you can I would Outsource tedious tasks. Focus on what you are good at.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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