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Name: Eugene Mintsevich
What are you building, and who benefits most from it?
Our product, UNIKA, is a decentralized anonymous identity protocol that provides privacy-preserving user verification for Web 3.0 products via SDK. Lightweight ZKP technology will be integrated. In this way, UNIKA checks the eligibility of end-users while also keeping them private thanks to delivering only eligibility proofs (yes/no answers) about the user to Web 3.0 products.
UNIKA’s use cases are quite varied as we offer a universal solution for anonymous user identification for Web 3.0 services that could require it. Among the most common ones are:
DeFi (like DEXs and lending dApps) benefits from integrating UNIKA as we ensure anonymity for its users and, at the same time, eliminate risks such as Sybil attacks and protocol and governance scams. This way, we could stimulate further development by safeguarding the protocol against attacks from malicious users.
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NFT platforms could benefit from partnering with us because we ensure anonymity for their users, at the same time eliminating risks such as plagiarism and listing or bidding scams. Thus, we could eliminate the scam and make it the safest NFT platform to use.
Web 3.0 games take advantage of integrating UNIKA because we ensure anonymity for gamers, allowing the transfer of gaming assets from one game to another while also eliminating the risk of Sybil and bot attacks and making the playing experience much more enjoyable for the gamers and safer for the game itself.
DAOs can utilize the UNIKA protocol to uphold the principle of “1 user=1 vote,” ensuring anonymity for their members and preventing the DAOs from unfair vote distribution and fraudulent gain of control.
Airdrops can ensure the distribution of tokens to unique and verified users, preventing Sybil attacks and increasing the effectiveness of targeted marketing campaigns, thus enhancing trust in the platform.
What is one of your startup’s most impressive accomplishments?
We’ve got some pre-commitments and community interest without the proper MVP, and after the release, we’ve been improving even faster. This shows that we’ve matched the market’s needs and expectations and have a solid strategy and really cool tech behind UNIKA. It makes me immensely proud that the team is able to create such complex products in a bear market and yet make them perform well, perfectly aligning with the planned roadmap.
What has been the biggest challenge so far, and how did you overcome it?
It’s definitely challenging to build a Web 3.0 business in the global crypto winter. It’s obvious that when the market starts to slow down, getting traction, investments, or even partners becomes much harder. Despite all that, we still manage to keep up, attract partners and customers, grow our community, and negotiate investments.
What helps us move forward steadily? Our team’s expertise and hard work, proper previous research, and, of course, the product itself. Persistence, creativity, and deep tech expertise are the factors that lead a startup to success.
What tool or app could you not live without and why?
Notion, for sure. It is the most flexible and easy-to-use app that can be modified in so many different ways. Need company wiki? Here it is. Need a task manager for the whole team? You can build one. Need to embed any service? There are bookmarks and embeds available.
The whole team loves a good versatile product that adds value to numerous businesses, and that’s the approach we take in creating UNIKA. Integration opportunities for UNIKA are endless for the whole Web 3.0.
What marketing strategies have worked for you?
We are a Web 3.0 startup, which makes us a community-oriented company. So, the main marketing strategy is growing, nurturing, and reconnecting with our community.
As for marketing tactics, we use a mixture of Web 2.0 classics and Web 3.0 best practices—content marketing (blog posts, guest posting, etc.), PR (press releases, interviews, and podcasts), SMM (Web 3.0 native ones, like Twitter), and lots of cold and warm outreach.
What has been your biggest business failure to date? What did you learn from it?
I can say that our biggest business failure to date was not having a thorough customer development process and not conducting market research from the outset. Although we did conduct some research, it was not comprehensive enough to truly understand the current problems in the industry. Instead, we focused more on future problems and refining the technology.
This lack of thorough research resulted in us spending a lot of time building a full product before realizing we needed to pivot. This made the pivot process very difficult, requiring us to reimagine the brand, remake the technology and product, and find new partners.
The main lesson we learned from this experience is that you should put in place a proper customer development process before investing too much time and resources into developing a product. It’s important to focus on current problems and pain points and seek advice and feedback from potential customers. The more research and feedback we can gather upfront, the better positioned we will be to build a successful product that addresses real customer needs.
What’s the best specific piece of advice you have for other entrepreneurs?
For an entrepreneur, the road to success is never easy. My top piece of advice is to never give up, no matter how tough things may seem. Building a business takes time, so take your time researching and ideating to ensure that you’re addressing the right problems. Prioritize building relationships with your customers and partners, and don’t be afraid to seek out feedback and advice. Remember to take care of your mental health and well-being, and take breaks when needed. With hard work, perseverance, and a clear vision, you can overcome any obstacle and build a successful business that makes a real impact.
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