Introduction to Matteo
I’m a full-stack growth & go-to-market operator with 7 years of experience in SaaS, marketplaces, and most recently Web3 startups. I was born in Rome, lived in Milan, Madrid, and Sydney, and since 2015 I’m based in London.
Since I’ve been in London, I’ve learned how software products are built, packaged, and distributed by executing tens of go-to-market and growth strategies across multiple channels and scales, ranging from seed-stage startups to public companies like Fiverr.
During my experience, I’ve come to understand I’m an early-stage operator — I just love being part of a founding team (eg. the first 10-20 people in the company), wearing multiple hats to make things happen, and focusing on building the foundation of the organization. I’ve also tried the larger mid-market environment, but it was just less exciting for me.
On the other hand, I love the early stage because you get to do much more, and learn much more — not only in your function, but across product, design, and data, which need to work in tandem to power effective, defensible, and sustainable growth. This is a lesson I was lucky to learn fairly early in my career in many of the Reforge classes I’ve taken.
That’s why I enjoy working mostly with seed-to-series A companies and love Web3. Because these environments are uncharted territories, full of untapped learnings, and upside — where only explorers and pioneers dare to venture.
Outside of work, I love reading non-fiction books, listening to electronic music, meditating, or rock climbing.
How did you get started with Genesis Growth?
Earlier this year, I was one of the Growth Leads at On Deck — a series A company famous in startup land for building learning communities targeting tech professionals. Only three months after getting hired last May, I was impacted by their tech layoffs — 71 people including myself got fired that day.
Luckily, I was already freelancing on the side with a couple of Web3 projects. That’s when I decided — instead of looking for another job — to keep freelancing and see where I’d land. I feel blessed to have gone not one day without work.
Three months in, the response of the market has been very positive. I have many requests to jump into projects and help them build growth strategies, so I’ve decided to build a growth studio and brand dedicated to early-stage startups.
That’s how Genesis Growth was born — as a growth studio that focuses, at least initially, on the genesis stage of the organization. On setting up a sound, cohesive growth system that would be easy to scale upon.
I’m currently working with 6 startups — both Web2 and Web3 — in various verticals, from fintech and mindfulness to NFTs and DeFi. For now, I’m thinking of staying solopreneur, but who knows what will the future reserve for me?
How do you help Web2 companies enter Web3?
Web3 is not for every company and doesn’t have to be. However, most companies can learn from the big unlock that Web3 brought to the world — the ethos of ownership and community.
That’s why I strive to study these new models from a first principle perspective, and see how they can be applied to Web2 environments. For example, how can we build a community for a mindfulness app, award the most engaged members roles and badges that give them autonomy and agency, and reward them with incentives that are both intrinsic (eg. can be spent within the app) and extrinsic (eg. outside of the app, like a cash prize).
These are strategies that have been out there since before Web3 but recently got more popular with DeFi and NFTs. And the current generation of users beyond Web3 is expecting more and more of this kind of relationship with brands — one that is based on direct feedback, co-creation, and contribution-based rewards
Just bringing the awareness and educating my clients of what Web3 can do will contribute to growing the size of the pie, and help them collide with this whole-new socio-economic paradigm.
What are your best tips for Web3 companies that want to build in Web3?
I’ve seen many Web3 founders not putting enough effort into building a strong narrative for their project, especially at the genesis stage.
In Web3, you’re most often building a community before a product. That’s because — if you come out of nothing — you might be fundraising for your project with an IDO or an NFT mint, which involves a promise of a future gain.
When that’s the case, community building starts with audience building — and that requires grabbing people’s attention — which is very hard in a world where everyone has a megaphone (on social).
That’s why building a powerful yet clear narrative is so important — articulating not only the problems and solutions of a value proposition, but the vision and mission, the goals of the projects, and the fictional layer that surrounds it. Examples of projects I’ve seen doing this well are Nouns — they have crystal clear goals, a powerful narrative founded in CC0, and a fresh brand fictional layer.
If you’re launching a Web3, don’t discount your narrative — build a strong whitepaper or lite paper, clear goals, and roadmap, and only then share it with the world.
Why did you initially become interested in Web3?
Like many others, I have a friend who almost made it in 2017 — he was evangelizing $BTC and $ETH a lot. So I got lured in by the promise of an exponential financial reward. But he was also explicit about one thing — ”the biggest gain you’ll have from crypto is learning about this new paradigm shift — that, you’ll never lose”. And he was right.
So I dug deeper and read The Bitcoin Standard, which was nothing short of enlightening. While reading I realized that financial gains were just the tip of the iceberg.
What fascinated me the most is how Web3 decentralization and ownership enable whole new ways for people to come together, coordinate transactions, exchange knowledge, and build value — economic and non. All while completely flipping existing institutions upside down, with bottom-up alternatives. For example, how we trade goods, vote as a community, identify each other within that community, and access public goods.
This uncharted territory is what made me jump into the space as an operator — not just an investor — and what still keeps me here.
Where do you see the Web3 market going over the next 5 years?
We’re currently in the fourth crypto bear market. According to crypto.com, this could end around 2024 during the next Bitcoin halving, or if we see big adoption catalysts like $BTC being adopted as legal tender or as part of a spot ETF. Based on this, we could say in 5 years we’ll most likely be in the next bull market.
But Coin Bureau — one of my favourite crypto influencers — suggests a much more interesting view. He quoted Mahatma Gandhi to compare the relationship between Web3 and the establishment:
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
According to him, we’re now in the “then they fight you” stage — where the SEC and US Treasury are cracking downs on many crypto projects (eg. Tornado Cash). In the next 5 years, I hope we’ll be in the “then you win” phase, where the benefits of Web3 will be so evident to the masses that even institutions will eventually embrace it.
What does that look like? I’m excited to see how regulators will innovate on their legislations to adapt to these new paradigms — regulations will help legitimize the industry and attract talent, so that’ll be a key aspect.
Then it comes the user experience, both on the front end and on the hardware side. I hope to see more Web3 alternatives (eg. Solana Mobile Stack, Nothing Phone, or Helium 5G Network) to legacy solutions, and radically easier user interfaces to power DeFi, NFT, and DAO use cases.
In 5 years, I also think we’ll see brand new Web3 use cases, like Web3 social built on Lens Protocol and Real-World assets being traded on-chain. I’m obviously being optimistic, but it’s hard not to be if you believe in the overarching thesis.