Includes the story of how ZooVerse began.
Final base characters for the ZooVerse animals
I started planning ZooVerse in November 2021, I got a small team together consisting of people I had met in the space, one of which being Josh (Got milk) who is still with us today ! I loved the idea of having gangster animals as the art, I thought the irony of them smoking and drinking with what was and still is going on with the environment was clever. The idea was to allow people to own an animal, without any real animals being harmed in the process. At the time most projects were one base character with different traits, so we decided to go with four. I sent some ideas to our artists at the time, and the first drawing she sent back was the croc. I was at the gym when I first saw it and couldn't stop smiling to myself, it was exactly what I envisioned and i knew we had something special brewing. At this point I had art, a small team and a vision for the project, but no idea how to build a community in the space. I figured the best people to ask were the ones who had done it. I created a script and messaged as many people as I could find (A lot of people in the space message me now with screenshots of my dm to them early on, which is always humbling to see) I messaged well over 250 people. At this point I was working 16 hours a day on ZooVerse and whatever time I had left doing graphic design, it was hard to explain to my girlfriend why I was spending so much time on these ideas, there was no clear benefit and so it was a big risk to take, but I was having so much fun doing it. Then I got a reply to one of my DMs on my twitter, it was Mr_Hmmm, at the time the founder of one of the biggest projects in the space. He mentioned how he liked the idea and my business acumen and wanted to get on a call to discuss consulting further. We set up a meeting for the next day, I was very excited but very nervous, as soon as we got on the phone we clicked, he still loved the idea and wanted to consult on the project ! This was one of the biggest moments in the development of the project. I now had someone who had built a successful project to guide me through the process and to make sure I avoided any pitfalls. The next call we got on was the first consulting session we had, it was about an hour long and was H talking through the main points of building a strong community. I wrote 9 double sides of A4 paper down and still have them today, they are like the bible to me. Everything started to make sense, I created the discord and we opened it to the public. Around this time was when I met Shan, he was just about to launch "Godjira" and wanted to meet. We got on a call and he loved the idea too. The first week of the discord was slow, we had 10 or so people inside, but networking and building connections with them was amazing. Josh is in Australia so there was always someone for the community to talk to, it wasn't easy for a project with no "hype" to gain attention, hype on twitter, opening a locked discord for 5 mins, minting the next week and then disappearing the week after was the norm, people made their money and left. On the 26th of December (My girlfriends birthday) ZooVerse was shilled into a Singapore alpha discord, around 600 people joined in one night, I was celebrating with family and started to get hundreds of notifications on my phone from people joining, I ran to my car, got my laptop and started speaking to the new people who had joined, we finally had some growth and needed to make sure we maintained it. Over the next month we kept growing and growing, we locked our discord at 2K members (about 4K on twitter) and started to create one of the strongest communities in the space. Anything anyone needed we were there, we would talk all day and night in chat, explaining our vision for the project and the art. Our core value being Community before team, team before founder. People loved how different it was, how close everyone felt and how people genuinely cared about each other. Of course there were people who didn't believe, why should they ? All odds were against us, but we were having too much fun to notice.
On the 7th February 2022 we sold out our 444 genesis collection. At the time we had around 6K followers on twitter and 2K members in the discord, no one knew about us, we instantly hit a .7 ETH floor and within minuets were above 1 ETH. I cant describe the feeling, after 3 months of 16/18 hour days, hundreds of DMs, being completely disregarded, we had finally done it. Over the next week we had close to 500 messages asking for collabs, the team was around 6 people at the time and it was impossible to keep up with, we hired a collab team from the community and I set up multiple discords to systemise everything as much as we could. We began a trading competition between all four animals, each team was given 3 ETH to trade with. As the community was so small, it tore everyone apart too much, we loved the idea but it wouldn't work at the time.
Once we got the collab team running we had a full system for collabs to go from reaching out to our holders minting. It was incredible. Shimmy joined the team and ran the giveaways, ensuring everything worked correctly. The market at the time was bad, people were unsure where crypto and NFTs were going and no one knew what we had planned for the future. We had given away close to 3,000 WL spots to a 444 collection, which was insane, but I wanted to test our community. People would preach about strong communities, but no one had proof. We mentioned nothing for 3 months, holders had to purely base the value of the NFT on the community. We never dropped below a 1 ETH floor, we never had more than 6% listed and over 45% of holders held and never listed since mint.
As soon as we started announcing what we had been building, people couldn't buy fast enough, we went from 2 ETH to 6 in three days and held the floor, unfortunately (Writing on 15th May) the market crashed massively, we were set to launch our second collection and had to postpone due to the market conditions, however this has given us time to clearly communicate our vision for ZooVerse to the space. We have been tested through some of the worst market conditions the NFT space has seen, and always held our ground. As the space matures, people are buying into teams and proof more and more, which is what we have been planning for. I'm extremely excited for whats to come, and im so proud of the team and community we have. Turning ZooVerse from an idea to a well known name in the space has been one of the best experiences of my life, through the good the bad, I wouldn't change it for the world.
Thank you so much for the constant support, I cant tell you how much it means to us. The potential we have is mind blowing. To everyone with us now, thank you, I hope you enjoy the journey to becoming the best brand, in not only this space, but any space we decide to move into in the future. This is only the beginning and I promise we will not stop working until we are the best. Thank you for reading - Written by Ollie Owen
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