How the Metaverse Will Enable Self-Sustaining Interactive Platforms: A Meta Talkz with Custom Neon’s Jake Munday.
Jake Munday is the Co-Founder and CEO of Custom Neon (https://customneon.com/), a Geelong-based supplier and manufacturer of custom-designed LED neon lights and signs. His undeterred tenacity and laser focus have seen him at the helm of many successful entrepreneurial ventures, something that was rewarded when he was named Young Entrepreneur of the Year at the 2017 Geelong Business Excellence Awards. In 2018, Jake co-founded Custom Neon alongside his wife, Jess, after identifying a gap in the market whilst looking for a neon sign for their young son’s bedroom. After an initial investment of just $500, Custom Neon is forecasted to become an $18m business in 2022!
What was your journey like to get where you are?
It certainly wasn’t a textbook journey to get to where I am today, however, I often find that most other entrepreneurs say the same about themselves! My entrepreneurial journey first started when I bought a Facebook page dedicated to dogs in my early 20s, this page already had a sizeable following, something that I worked hard to grow further before eventually monetizing it through affiliate advertising. After growing the page to more than 3 million likes, I sold it to a major company and left my full-time job selling mobile phone packages, eventually going on to run a number of local businesses in the Geelong area. The idea for Custom Neon was born when my wife and I were looking for a custom neon sign for our newborn son’s bedroom, something that resulted in us identifying a gap in the market that we could fill. We initially started with an Instagram page called Neon Collective, through which we hired out neon signage for weddings and other events. We soon began taking bespoke orders and were quickly selling $10,000 worth of signage per week. After recruiting the help of a crack team of e-commerce and digital marketing veterans in Western Australia, we scaled up our operations and officially launched Custom Neon. We haven’t looked back since!
In a simpler phrase, what is your company exactly doing?
Custom Neon enables people across the world to create their own custom-designed LED neon signs using our groundbreaking online custom tool. With three offices located in Geelong, London, and Los Angeles, Custom Neon has become a truly global brand. We also work hand in hand with businesses and creative consumers to turn their company logos or unique imagery into neon signage that serves as a great physical marketing tool or statement decor piece. We’re currently working on multiple exciting neon projects, including the largest neon sign in the Southern Hemisphere and eye-catching designs for the upcoming Australian Open. In addition to providing neon signage for our global consumer base, Custom Neon works hard to support numerous charities, both local and international, such as Rivers Gift (which works to stamp out Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and the Offspring Project (an organization striving to rescue women and children from human trafficking).
What about Metaverse are you most excited for in the future?
I’m fairly new to Web3.0 tech and ideas surrounding the Metaverse, however, I’m extremely eager to see the way in which these technologies, as well as NFTs, can enable a whole new generation of creators. I’m particularly excited about how users will be able to supplement new platforms, whether that be in the gaming space or other creative fields, by creating their own unique user-generated content with commercial incentives in mind. A future in which users can be financially rewarded for contributing to their favorite interactive medium (for example, through the creation of an NFT sold in an online video game) is an exciting prospect and one that I believe would result in the self-sufficiency of these creative endeavors.
Why should we be paying attention to the Metaverse?
I think it’s always important to pay attention to anything being championed by those on the cutting edge of tech, particularly something like the Metaverse which has the potential to serve as the intersecting point between social interaction, gaming, creative expression and commerce. All you have to do is take a look at the way in which younger children and teens are interacting with platforms such as Fortnite, an interactive experience that is just as much a social network than a video game, to see the promise of Metaverse-like experiences. I’ve always strived to stay ahead of the curve in my entrepreneurial journey, aiming to identify trends and gaps in the market prior to others. It might be too early to tell if the Metaverse is one such trend that is poised to take over our lives as we know them, similar to the way in which the internet galvanized an entire generation at the turn of the century. However, I firmly believe that the promise of the Metaverse deserves our attention, even if it turns out to become half of what it can potentially be.