Next Level of Celebrity Culture in Asia: Interview with Co-founder of Gemie

Next Level of Celebrity Culture in Asia

Today, the rapid ascension of the Asian pop singles in the music charts can hardly be missed out from the view. Recruiting crowds of new fans with the release of each new single of a famous K-pop band, the distance lying between Asia and other continents, however, served an ill favour for those who give their heart and soul to the Asian pop scene. The recent events of Covid-19 have reinforced the geographical separation to an almost insurmountable degree, thus curbing the armies of fans across the globe from the joy of direct engagement with their venerable celebrity icons. Not so long ago, this fact was causing despair – but today, it became a challenge to be tackled. 

Pinpointing the lasting nature of the problem, the enterprise of Gemie arrived with the idea of raising its own digital metaverse from the ground-zero level – by establishing the virtual space free from any local constraints, it aims to uplift Asian entertainment on the global-reach level. This proposition is particularly relevant for Asia – the land rich in creative production and talent, this is the one that nevertheless lags behind on NFT engagement relative to its Western counterparts. Bringing forth the net of partnerships with the leading figures in business, Gemie effectively creates fresh industry-independent opportunities of global ascension for artists, movie production houses, pop-culture icons realized through the decentralized nature of Web3. Erasing the geographical limitations with the ecosystem of virtual planets in which the fans are free to travel, explore and benefit from valuable perks, Gemie creates an unprecedented NFT-fueled ecosystem in Asia where artists are free to explore their creative drive, and fans are able to satisfy their craving for Asian pop flavours.

Fascinated by the bold promise of Gemie, we spoke with John, the company’s co-founder, and got to learn more details about the transformation project of the Asian entertainment scene.

First and foremost, could you tell me about the mission of Gemie? What are the main values driving the company forth?

Yes, of course. Gemie’s mission is to bring the entertainment industry in Asia to the metaverse by creating a space where users will be able to have meaningful interactions with their favorite celebrities without geographical limitations. The main values that drive our company forward are giving ownership back to artists, celebrating Asian talent and culture, and reimagining the fan experience for entertainment lovers.

Who are the core team members to whom Gemie is obliged with its early success?

Asian culture and trends are deeply rooted in our entertainment space, however more can be done technologically to improve the industry. My background is in entertainment, having worked more than 10 years in the industry and my partner, Sunny, has deep experience in media and gaming, previously founding an award winning gaming company. When chatting about the future of entertainment in the region, we decided to co-found Gemie with the goal of connecting top-tier celebrities in Asia with their fans and identified that the metaverse offered undiscovered opportunities to bring both parties closer together. Once the idea was there, we sought support from our incubator Newman Labs and our investors to bring our dream to the metaverse. In these first few months we have built an experienced team of tech, design, business development, and marketing individuals and have been working on our goals at an aggressive pace to deliver what we believe will be the leading metaverse in the Asian entertainment space.

I’m also interested to hear more about the investors backing up the project. Who stands behind your ambitious plan of creating the prime metaverse of Asia?

In mid-February we announced the closing of our latest $3.8 million fundraising round led by Shima Capital, Infinity Ventures Crypto, and Kenetic. Other investors who also participated in the round include Newman Capital, Soul Capital, NGC Ventures, Sparks Digital Capital, ICO Pantera, SL2, Oddiyana Ventures, Beyond NEXT, QUDAX LLC, and AVStar Capital.

We work very closely with all our investors on the platform. They provide a lot of feedback and support in different areas including marketing, business strategy, connecting us with the right crypto and entertainment industry partners, and so on.

Generally, how would you characterize the Asian entertainment scene? How is it superior to the one of the West – and in which areas does it still lag behind?

I think Asian entertainment – our movies, music, trends – are very closely connected to our values as a collective rather than the aspirational dreams or perspective of a single individual like in the West. I believe this makes our entertainment personal and closely connected to our daily lives. 

As a result, we don’t have many celebrities here leading the charge to embrace the metaverse like we see in the West, one project and name at a time. In this sense the region appears to be lagging behind, however this does not mean we lack the vision or creativity. On the contrary, I believe that when we decide to move, we will do so as a collective, leading as a group of visionaries in ways that speak to our culture. In building this extended reality together, we ensure that the metaverse will not just be a fad, but a turning point, fundamentally changing how we connect, interact, and experience the world.

What is the role of Gemie in bringing Asian celebrity culture to the next level?

We aim to revolutionize the entertainment industry by equipping artists and entertainers with the right tools, resources, and opportunities to materialize their ideas in the metaverse. We believe that Web3 offers a new realm of possibilities for entertainers to have greater ownership of their creativity and earning potential while bringing them closer to their audiences. With Covid-19 changing our everyday reality, the world has accelerated digital adoption of new technologies, and we hope to educate and welcome a new generation of users to the metaverse because entertainment should not be limited by physical distance and barriers.

Could you tell a bit more about each planet composing your metaverse? What are its core features?

Gemie will partner with top celebrities and artists to customise their own planets and digital collectibles. By working closely with them on the items, the vibe of each space, and deciding on tailored online and offline benefits for each collectible, we hope to bring new excitement and surprises for Gemie users. We won’t reveal too much about each planet, but we can say that each will have some core features for our celebrities to connect with fans in interactive ways. There will be concert halls to host events like live concerts, movie premieres, and meet-and-greets. Users can have access to personal rooms that can be decorated with their NFTs and a space to hang out with friends. The idea is to build a galaxy of unique planets that users can teleport between and explore. 

What role do NFTs play within your platform? What are the main perks of using them?

Gemie NFTs represent authenticated digital ownership as well as unparalleled utility and an exclusive fan experience. Our team will work with celebrities to customize unique collectibles that fans can use and wear in our metaverse. Each NFT will also come with online and offline perks for Gemie collectors including, but not limited to the following:

  • Events (ex. Access to live concerts, movie premieres, after parties, meet-ups)
  • Perks (ex. Exclusive waitlist, discounts, priority in ticket sales)
  • Real world items (ex. Purchase of NFT comes with physical movie or music video props and other memorabilia)
  • DAO (eg. Participation in decision-making process regarding collaborations)

Each NFT’s perks will depend on each of our partners so really the possibilities are unique and endless. We are excited about the level of utility our collectibles will bring fans and can’t wait to share more when the time comes.

Next, what are the main challenges you came across while working on the project? How did you resolve those?

The crypto world moves very fast and is changing constantly, so the main challenge for us is time. We want to share our vision and work as soon as possible with the world, but quality and value are very important to us. The Gemie team is working very hard to build every detail of our metaverse from scratch – everything from the avatars to the rooms, NFTs, planet features, and so on. We truly want to deliver a transformative experience for our users. The best way we can resolve this is to really put our noses to the grindstone and create something we’re proud of while sharing as much of the process and elements with our community as possible. The benefit of Web3 is that products don’t need to be built secretly and in silos anymore. We can share and take in feedback from our community while Gemie is being built and implement changes dynamically to build something together as a collective.

Generally, what is the role of virtual reality in the Asian post-covid world? How does Gemie facilitate this trend?

In the past, books, movies, and tv shows envisioned virtual reality as a futuristic or dystopia concept. This is no longer the case and virtual reality is not some distant idea. There are endless possibilities to incorporate VR as an extension of our daily lives, bringing new ways to connect in Asia and the world as a whole. We believe there are strong use cases for creating immersive experiences and environments beyond replacing video calls with metaverse business meetings.

What are your plans for the years ahead?

Our short term goals are to release the Gemie Alpha and continue to meet with different Asian stars and entertainment players to find the best partners for Gemie. As for our long term goals, we have big plans to build out the Gemie metaverse with both desktop and mobile app access. Our intention is to onboard entertainers from across the region to create a diverse and complete galaxy of stars which capture our culture because there is no single identity for Asian entertainment. We want to be the home for celebrating Asian talent in our native countries and act as a bridge to share our singers, movies, and all forms of entertainment with the world.  

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