ICO Start-ups: Meet the CEO of Verasity
MLG Blockchain Consulting is committed to supporting unique and upcoming ICOs on their journey towards successfully integrating their blockchain technology. And we know many of you are curious to dive deep in the minds behind these novel blockchain projects.
That’s why we decided to kickstart ICO Start-ups — Meet the Founders Series. In this series, we aim to support your learning progression of upcoming and current ICOs by asking insightful questions to the founders or CEO themselves! In today’s edition, meet the charismatic Executive leading the Verasity project — David Orman, a well-rounded global professional with experience in the worlds of venture capital, start-ups, marketing, digital media, entertainment and sport.
- How did you first get involved with the blockchain century?
I first became an investor about 6 or 7 years ago. As you can imagine, as soon as you announce yourself as an investor, you’re presented with a ton of new technologies that require funding. And of course, each of these is backed by a team. So over a short period of time, I had the rare opportunity to connect with an amazing network of entrepreneurs.
As an investor though, my main focus was on the ‘real-world’ applications of these technologies. I was always presented with so many projects every day that I had to develop my criteria, and for me it always came down to whether it could be applied to the real world.
Throughout my travels, I was introduced to a few different uses for blockchain but Verasity, and the team behind it, was the one that really piqued my interest. My background in sports and media, allowed me to spot an opportunity that was led by a game-changing team, and I immediately wanted to get involved.
And so, while I was having lunch and a Bloody Mary, I was asked to come on board of the Verasity team. I’d say that’s when I officially joined the blockchain century.
2. What inspired the idea of launching Verasity? Was it spontaneous? Was it an idea you had for a long time?
I first became involved with video technologies when the founders of Skype launched Joost in 2006–2007. Joost had put together a brilliant team. At the time, the proposition for Joost had attracted the attention of many top media owners and advertising brands. However, developing a peer-to-peer video network proved to be extremely problematic. I learned a lot from this experience, which prepared me for a project like Verasity.
After finishing my work with Joost, I’ve advised on, consulted for, and invested in several video tech companies where I continued to develop my knowledge and expertise around video platforms. I eventually realized that the challenge always revolves around how to deliver a great user experience that allows viewers to see the content that they want to watch, while ensuring that the platform can be scaled profitably, despite streaming and infrastructure costs.
At Verasity, we’re lucky to have the existing knowledge to deliver high-quality videos on a massive scale. But, we are also fortunate enough that our team has the knowledge to develop proprietary blockchain technology. This is what allowed us to truly reimagine how video platforms should operate.
3. What did you do before joining Verasity? Did you demonstrate prior expertise in blockchain?
The first half of my career was in the advertising world. I mostly worked with international brands and international sports federations; I was around 28 when I became head of Eurosport’s London office and took responsibility for the US and the Scandinavian markets. Nine years later, I got on a plane to New York for an interview at Massive Incorporated where I stayed until we sold to Microsoft. It was after this point that I got the startup bug and joined Joost.
Then, I managed to live the dream. Or so to speak… I became one of a four person management team running Queens Park Rangers Football Club; a club that I’ve supported since I was a kid! In my time there, I learnt so much about many different aspects of business. I was involved in everything ranging from sponsorship, to digital, to retail, to community programmes. I even participated in making a movie. On reflection, I think we were more successful off the pitch than on it…
Having worked for many acclaimed entrepreneurs, I decided it was time to build a startup. I took my business plan to a private office to raise capital, and after thirty minutes, I left with an offer to help build a Merchant Bank. It was an opportunity that altered the way that I look at building and sustaining value in businesses. I learnt so much there under the mentoring of some of the most brilliant people I have ever met. From Merchant Banking, I moved into a family office and raised a small fund of our own. Again, it was a new experience but I’ve gotten used to new those over the years.
Over the last 3 ½ years, I’ve been running a Venture Consultancy called Hatch-House. We advise and support businesses from startups to corporates across media, sports, AI and eSports. Recently, we also incorporated blockchain and cryptocurrency companies, which explains how I originally got involved with Verasity.
4. Who is the team behind Verasity and why are they awesome?
I’ve been lucky in my career, having worked with some incredible entrepreneurs and teams. But, across all this experience, I can safely say that Verasity has something special. The speed, the work, and the dedication that is at the core of the team at Verasity is second to none. Just ask anyone who knows them and I’m sure they’ll tell you the same.
In addition to their energy, the team is experienced and competent in both media and technology. Between all of us, we also have experience in launching, growing, monetizing, and exiting businesses.
But of course, we can’t know everything. So, for the things that we don’t know, we are building up a network of advisors and partners from Canada to Seoul. We recognise the challenges we face, but we have a desire to build our own technology and apply it to benefit all the players within a video platform ecosystem.
It’s what we know. And we are totally dedicated to building something hugely ambitious and very exciting.
5. How did you bring this idea to life?
The idea came to life after one of our investors sold a blockchain server business. The investor began chatting with some of the tech guys and a few people who were into blockchain, and we eventually realised we could take some of the video technology and use blockchain to solve many of the problems faced within the media and ad industry today.
Soon after, we started bringing together a team of people across the world. Within a matter of weeks we had developed a prototype — our video player with an integrated wallet.
If you’re not sure what I mean by that, you can check it out here.
6. What problem does your company plan to solve?
With the current ad-based model, video-sharing platforms fail to effectively balance between their different stakeholders including their Viewers, Creators, Advertisers and their own Shareholders. In fact, 96.5% of people chasing video frame on Youtube will never make enough money to crack the U.S. poverty line. Meanwhile, breaking into the top three percent would mean gaining advertising revenue of over $15,000 USD.
At Verasity, our goal is to put the power back into the hands of viewers and content creators, and build a video sharing platform that is fair to all actors.
7. Please walk us through the user experience of someone who would use Verasity.
There are two main sides to using Verasity: the creator and the viewer. The platform itself will simply be a user-friendly high-quality video platform on which creators can upload content and viewers can enjoy content.
Let’s start with the experience for creators.
On Verasity, content creators will be able to choose how to monetize their content whether it’s by donations, pay-to-watch (pay-per-view) or by offering subscriptions. Therefore, creators will be able to have a say in how their content is monetized and they will be able to take a greater share of revenues generated. Creators can also invite the community to help fund their channels within our ‘Spark Marketplace’, which will allow viewers to become part owners of channels and share in the channels’ future success. Any revenue generated by creators will be paid out instantly with VERA tokens within the ecosystem.
Viewers using Verasity will no longer be passive; they will be rewarded when they watch and share videos. There will even be an option for viewers to be paid in VERA tokens to watch advertisements. Viewers will then be able to directly reward content creators in real-time by rewarding creators with the VERA tokens they have bought or earned by watching ads.
8. How big is the market you are addressing?
Let’s see… We’re talking about people watching video, so it can basically be boiled down to everyone everywhere. Or, something like 80% of all internet traffic, which is an industry that generates over $300 billion.
Currently, our main focus is to support content creators who spend time and money creating great material and publishing it across platforms such as YouTube, Vimeo, and Patreon, but who are still unable to make ends meet. These creators just don’t make enough money from advertising or from subscriptions models to earn a livable wage. It’s been well publicised recently that only a tiny percentage of the creator community can make a living from these platforms.
Soon, we’ll be inviting that community to join Verasity. Content creators will have much more freedom in terms of how they can monetize their channels and generate revenue.
9. Who are the major investors behind Verasity?
We’re backed by Black Green Capital who have been instrumental in the launch of Verasity. Plus, we have a few private investors who bring seasoned expertise into what we are doing.
Since the end of last year, we’ve also been building an advisory team. This team has experience in everything from blockchain including building out influencer communities, data centres, Cryptoeconomics, and in video technology.
Our relationship with Akamai is also hugely valuable in supporting the technical delivery of video distribution.
10. Where is Verasity registered? Which country?
We did a huge amount of research and received advice from many different lawyers and experts. We all came to the same conclusion that we should set up a not-for-profit foundation in the crypto-friendly Cayman Islands.
11. What is your favourite blockchain that was created and why? Do you use it yourself?
Let’s wait and see. There are thousands of teams working on blockchain technologies that may be game-changing or even life-changing in the near future. I think we need to wait 18–36 months to see the true impact of the different blockchains. There are so many different applications for blockchain across every industry, and we’re just now beginning to grasp the potential impact of the technology in certain sectors. So, I’m still waiting before officially declaring one the blockchains as my favourite.
12. If you had the opportunity to meet the mysterious Satoshi Nakatomo, what is the one thing you would want to ask him?
Why didn’t you call me and tell me what you were up to sooner….?
If you want to know more about Verasity and stay updated with their ICO, make sure to download their whitepaper and follow them on social media:
Join their Telegram: https://t.me/verasitychat