CEO INTERVIEW - Zeeon: A social metaverse for public talks and co-working
Please share with us briefly what you do.
Zeeon is a metaverse for public talks and co-working. When Zoom meets Sims.
What were you doing before this?
Digital & product marketing in tech companies. Besides that, I also used to help our HR team to build employer branding, so I was organizing monthly community meetups for tech people. That is where I learned the value of community management and events and how it affects the company and/or product positioning.
Describe your product. How does it work?
It feels like a video game. Every user is represented by a 3d avatar, can freely move in the environment, can enter a virtual office, and meet teammates there for project discussion or watercooler chats. A user can also attend a virtual conference, explore multiple conferencing rooms in it, explore the expo area with 3d sponsor booths, or simply mingle around to make new connections.
Our main focus is to build it as an open world, so people can explore various locations and events, and meet anyone in the world.
What are the key benefits?
The open-world adds an additional layer of networking benefits.
For companies: besides having a virtual office for your employees to meet and collaborate, all your teammates can go out of the office and meet other people. That means your sales reps can go out and sell, recruiters can go out and hire, and all employees can go out and attend educational events and conferences happening around.
And if we flip that for conferences, it means that besides having a virtual conferencing space for your audience, we can bring new people, as we understand their company/position and what kind of events they usually attend.
Who are your closest competitors?
Purely corporate tools don’t have an open world: Virbela, Showboat, Party.Space
Open worlds are usually gaming-first experiences, not designed for scalable corporate purposes: Decentralend, Sandbox
Who is your first customer and how did that happen? What were they using before this, and why did they switch?
We are still in pre-alpha and have very close communication with our early adopters. Those are usually meetup/conferencing companies, but also a few in the education space.
They are currently using Zoom, Hopin, and other video conferencing tools. But they see huge limitations and low engagement with such products, so that makes them very excited about new possibilities in metaverse. We are constantly sharing our progress with them, and we are very excited to have their impact on Zeeon’s development.
What motivated you to start this business?
As I mentioned before, I used to organize community meetups to build employer branding. So when COVID started, I saw a huge potential for online events. At the same time, it was clear to me that video conferencing tools wouldn’t be able to provide a sense of being present. That’s why building a virtual environment that would replicate offline experience was the key.
What is your biggest sacrifice to make this work?
Loosing a standard of life I was used to, and losing 2 friends who were convincing me to go back to working for companies, having a good salary, and overall giving up big ideas for comfort life.
How did you get funded?
So far family and friends. Currently raising the first round with angels.
What has been your most successful form of marketing?
Networking and social selling, which seem very similar.
Describe a typical workday
Daily stand up with the team, at least one hour of LinkedIn activities calls with mentors, investors, potential customers. The rest for all hot activities.
Who has been the greatest influence in your business and why?
Sounds funny, but I’m thinking of Facebook when they announced Meta. When I started a year ago, I saw a lot of skepticism around the metaverse topic. Now I see how people started getting how big this opportunity is.
What has been your proudest moment in the history of your business and why?
The recent hiring of 4 engineers within a week.
What is your favourite business failure (and what did you learn from it)?
At a certain moment, I realised it was not possible to move on with the team I had, so I found the courage to start from scratch with the right people.
If you could go back in time to speak to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell him/her?
Do what you think is right to do, not what you think others would like you to do.
What’s one productivity hack you can’t live without?
Plan your schedule upfront. I can’t always stick to plan because of emergencies. But at least, I don’t run into a situation when I think “what shall I do next?”.
More about Dima:
- First job - Financial analyst
- Favorite book - Professional: Crossing the Chasm by Jeoffrey Moore and fun: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality by Eliezer Yudkowsky
- Favorite Film - Most of Sci-fi, starting with 2001: Space Odyssey and till now
- Favorite Music - A lot. I don’t like simple music, which doesn’t progress or change anyhow through the song. So country or some old-school techno wouldn’t entertain me. The more complex and experimental the transitions are, the better. Such music can take me on a unique journey through the song. That’s often psychedelic rock like Pink Floyd, some heavy metal, a lot of electronic music. Recently pop singers also started experimenting and I like the trend.
- When you are not at work, where can we most likely find you? Somewhere outside, either outside of the city, or walking in the neighborhood. I find walking/running/bicycling my best activities organise myself.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
ZEEON - https://zeeon.space/