The CEO of Fanzee Labs, Ajay Jojo discusses the rise of decentralized fan engagement platforms, the current state of the market, how clubs and teams can engage their fans better and more.
Blockchain technology and crypto have been explored in almost all industries, from decentralized finance and funds security,to digital identities and art. The sports and games industries are no exception. Over the past few years, fan engagement tokens have taken over the scene with top basketball and football teams launching their own tokens to get closer to their fans.
With the sports industry welcoming crypto, more projects are launching their own fan tokens and engagement platforms. One of the leading projects in this space, Fanzee aims to offer sports fans a direct engagement platform with immersive quests, quizzes and puzzles about their favorite clubs, teams and athletes with a possibility of getting rewards.
Ajay Jojo, CEO of Fanzee joined us to talk about the rise of decentralized fan engagement platforms, Fanzee becoming the first mass-market retail project to feature on the TON blockchain, the current state of the market, and more.
Welcome to Techbullion Ajay, we are glad you could join us. Can you tell us what Fanzee is all about?
It is lovely to be here, straight to business then. So Fanzee is at its core a fan engagement platform that leverages blockchain technologies to create immersive fan journeys for sports and entertainment. A big part of what drives Fanzee is our belief that the connection between fans and the clubs they have supported all their lives is sacred. Everything we have created at Fanzee is to foster that connection and help it grow.
How will Fanzee improve the fan engagement scene and what separates the platform from its competitors?
Great question, like I mentioned earlier, we firmly believe in the direct connection between sports organizations and their fans. This connection has outlasted many technological innovations and will outlive many more. In keeping with this idea, our platform exists within the club’s digital ecosystem and all interactions take place using assets and journeys created by the club exclusively for the fan. The fans and the product delivered to them remain within the club’s sphere of influence and don’t migrate to a third-party platform.
Additionally, we are not wedded to any particular class of digital assets, we incorporate digital assets in the fan journeys to create a rewarding and immersive experience. Our focus is solely on creating engaging experiences for fans of the clubs and organizations we partner with, not a conveyor belt of digital assets bereft of utility. Beyond that we also have additional features in development to provide a 360 degree solution to clubs to manage and support their digitisation efforts.
Fanzee Labs is chosen to be the first mass-market retail project to feature on the TON Blockchain. Why are you launching on the TON blockchain instead of Ethereum or Solana or any other blockchain?
Besides being a cutting edge blockchain, the inception story of TON is incredibly fascinating and aspirational. The community is central to the evolution of TON over the years and this is something we can totally get behind. It was from the very beginning aimed at mass market adoption through its integration with Telegram which has over 700 million users. That presents limitless opportunities and no other ecosystem currently has that potential. It has been an absolute honor to be chosen to be the first retail project to be launched on TON, a real testament to the work we are doing at Fanzee. We couldn’t be more excited.
When do you expect the mainnet version of Fanzee to launch?
Our mainnet is ready to launch and we are in the process of onboarding our first few clients which will be completed in the coming weeks. We will be coming out with updates on our channels very soon.
What are your thoughts about the current state of the market? Does the raging bear market raise any concerns about your projected launch date?
This might sound counterintuitive but the bear market to me and each of us is an opportunity. While the astonishing numbers that came with the rise of digital assets helped bring it to prominence, it also attracted a lot of poor projects in search of a quick buck which earned digital assets a negative perception. This period gives us time to build with a concentrated focus on creating value for everyone involved and this applies to the industry at large. We didn’t create Fanzee because of the market but rather because we believed that our platform could provide real value to clubs and their fans. The fact that we are launching during such a time highlights our mission of being a fan and product-first company.
E-sports gaming and play-to-earn games are gradually becoming the primary source of entertainment, especially for younger generations. What role will Fanzee play in the growing blockchain gaming space?
Play to earn has its place in the space and is potentially a great go to market strategy. While Fanzee has elements of play to earn, the foundation of the platform is fundamentally about having a fun experience. There has always been a financial angle to sports but at its core it has been about the game, the players and their fans. At Fanzee we remain true to this tenet. Our mechanics such as quizzes, puzzles and the like are universal and something that traditional sports fans have engaged even in print form. We are confident we can drive adoption through evoking a sense of familiarity but packaged in a highly immersive and rewarding experience.
Most of the current fan engagement platforms focus on offering fan tokens and growing their own platform but rarely is there any collaboration with the clubs or teams past that. How does Fanzee aim to solve this issue?
This is exactly what we want to solve. Digital assets in sports have been labeled as cash grab schemes by a large number of sports fans and I can understand why they might think so. There is precious little in terms of utility backing those assets and moreover they have very little connection with the club besides being licensed by them. The fans have seen past this. If digital assets have to be adopted by fans there has to be a concerted effort to provide value from those creating it. By creating fan journeys linked to real world club events, we aim to take fans on a season-long journey of interacting with their club on and off the pitch through different types of digital assets. Digital assets are just the means to achieve a tangibly more interactive fan experience. This we believe will go a long way towards mainstream adoption of these assets and experiences.
What are your future plans for Fanzee?
Besides growing our partner base by onboarding over 50 clubs by the end of the year, a big focus is to offer new features to enhance the user experience on the platform by providing more avenues for users to interact with digital assets such as PvP betting challenges and games, and working with our partners to provide greater real world benefits to their fans . We have envisioned the growth of Fanzee as a gaming platform based on the interconnection of the different assets which the user could gain through the different fan experiences. Staying true to being a sports platform, we want to create social features where users can compete, collaborate, create fan clubs and guilds for social gaming. Our marketplace will also promote social commerce and p2p trading. We also aim to offer an embedded CRM system to our partners that will provide them with an in-depth digital profile of their fans and use those valuable insights to shape their offerings and sponsor interests.
Any closing words for the Fanzee community?
Sport has always been a great equalizer and we would love for you to join us on that path to create true, accessible fan engagement.
CEO of Fanzee Labs, Ajay Jojo is an MBA Candidate at Cambridge Judge Business School with past experience as a program manager for Just for Kicks, India and a director of strategy and operations at Midas Construction. Ajay is currently the CEO of Fanzee, leading the team to build the biggest fan engagement platform on the blockchain and doubles up as an MBA consultant for Roblox.