Frank DeGods is the pseudonym of Rohun Vora, co-founder of De Labs, which issued a collection of non-fungible tokens(NFTs) called DeGods and y00ts, two of the top nonfungible token projects on Solana.
He also serves as CMO of Dust Labs and his deep understanding of the Web3 community has earned him the enthusiastic support of many Degens (people deeply involved in cryptocurrency investing).
Aspiring filmmaker turned startup founder
Raised in Los Angeles, Frank harbored early ambitions of filmmaking, leading him to the film department at UCLA on a Regents Scholarship. However, his path shifted after about a year when he co-founded a grocery delivery venture with his UCLA peers, dubbed NEED. This startup expanded into a last-mile delivery service, serving eight major college towns. The venture, now known as Duffl, reflects his entrepreneurial pivot.
The team gained admittance into a program run by the renowned startup accelerator, Y-Combinator. This platform provided significant initial support, with a special nod to mentorship from Y-Combinator's founder, Paul Graham. Frank credits Graham with shaping his understanding of startup growth factors and strategies for expansion.
After completing the startup accelerator program, Duffl was successful in raising $1.3 million and grew rapidly with five co-founders, including Frank. But at that point, he knew himself wanted to work in tech, and he left the company to start a coding bootcamp.
Frank took on a role called “Growth” at MainStreet, a Series A tech startup, where he helped grow the company's valuation from $5 million to $500 million in less than a year. This was accomplished by growing revenue fivefold through a marketing strategy that leveraged his LinkedIn presence.
Finding opportunity in NFTs
Frank was first introduced to cryptocurrency while working at MainStreet, where he created bitcoinorshit.com. The website was made to “see what your dumbest purchases would be worth if you bought Bitcoin instead.”
After seeing people's interest in crypto, his focus shifted to NFTs, eventually leading to the creation of his own NFT collection on Solana.
He launched DeGods in September 2021 using technology from his other venture, Dust Labs, building software for web3 communities starting with NFTs and related projects. He also launched another project, y00ts, a community of Web3 builders and creators with 15,000 interconnected NFTs, and hosted DeNYC for community members in April of this year.
Emphasizing the importance of community management
In a recent NFT Now podcast interview, he emphasized the importance of meta-stories and community engagement within the ecosystem. For example, after receiving feedback that DeGods' initial collection left a lot to be desired aesthetically, they significantly improved the quality of their illustrations, addressing a major complaint from potential buyers. With this community-centric approach, De Labs was successful in creating popular NFT collections.
The DeGods collection also charges a fee of one-third(33.3%) of sales to sellers below the NFT minting price as a device to protect early participants, as initial minters of the collection may see a decrease in value of their NFTs, should their price fall below the minting price. The DeGods team spends the collected fees to repurchase any DeGods NFTs released to the market to maintain its floor price.
The team decided to extend their presence from Solana, the initial ecosystem of the project, to both Ethereum and Polygon. This strategic move was prompted by the rapid affiliation of brands like Starbucks, Meta, and Nike with the burgeoning Polygon network. "Polygon offers access to a growing slate of metaverse game platforms," he added, noting that many y00ts visual traits were even left blank, “so brands can imprint their logos on there.”
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