FanDuel co-founders getting creative with new NFT-focused offering Vault

Two of the tech veterans that created fantasy sports platform FanDuel have launched an online platform focused on the burgeoning NFT market, saying it helps artists to create works and boost revenues.

Nigel Eccles and Rob Jones are behind Vault, which is billed as a non-fungible token (NFT) platform for creators. They say it makes NFTs – unique digital assets that represent real-life items such as a painting – accessible to a broader base of fans.

Vault explains that it is built on the carbon-neutral Solana blockchain, and allows creators to curate exclusive content – music, videos, VIP invitations, and more – for their fans, who to access each vault must hold a key, each of which is a fully tradable NFT. The new venture also says it offers a “seamless” buying experience, supporting fiat purchases via the likes of PayPal.

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It currently has a workforce of 20, with its product and engineering teams in Edinburgh, and its go-to-market teams in the US,

Vault CEO Mr Eccles explained: “My co-founder Rob Jones and I were prototyping product solutions in the creator economy when NFTs came on the scene in a big way. Instantly, we saw the potential that NFTs offer creators to build more favourable revenue streams and align with their communities using scarcity and ownership.”

However, they also perceived NFTs today not working well for all artists. “Graphic artists, yes, but what about musicians? Writers? Athletes? Filmmakers? Educators? It's clunky at best to share audio and video content via NFTs today, let alone to play and experience that content — and that means a huge chunk of the creator economy is not able to utilise NFTs.

The user experience with NFTs is a “nightmare”, Mr Eccles added. “Setting up a wallet, transferring crypto, buying an NFT, storing and accessing an NFT is far too complicated for the average consumer.

From left: Nigel Eccles and Rob Jones say the want new venture Vault to enable artists to 'share and monetise their creativity in new ways'. Picture: contributed.

"Because Rob and I have spent our careers building high-scale consumer platforms, we saw an opportunity to build an NFT platform that allows artists to create in their medium of choice, and is so user-friendly that all fans can participate.”

Vault has seen a “surge” in interest from musicians, he also said. “We see music NFTs as vinyl for the metaverse — a new way to package, sell, and collect music online — and we're seeing a surge in musicians creating album vaults and tour vaults where superfans can unlock bonus tracks, music videos, and perks like merch and VIP experiences.”

Potential

Mr Eccles also said that given low artist incomes from Spotify, there is “incredible potential in the perpetual royalty streams that NFTs offer”, while he noted that Vault’s lead investor is venture capital firm AlleyCorp, whose founder and CEO Kevin Ryan is “one of the leading internet entrepreneurs and investors in New York”.

Additional board members and investors include Bullpen Capital, TubeMogul, Everblue Management, Amity Ventures, and Courtside VC.

“Success to us is all about creators and their fans,” Mr Eccles added. “Can artists share and monetise their creativity in new ways that excite and reward fans? That's what we're focused on. Ultimately, if creators are able to make a meaningful living with their art on Vault, then we will have succeeded.”

FanDuel started out in 2009, later reaching “unicorn” status, and merging with Paddy Power Betfair in 2018.

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