Justin Fuisz Octi Founder and CEO joined Yahoo Finance to discuss the new metaverse focused app that’s reached the top of the app store in its first week.
SEANA SMITH: The metaverse– we’re hearing a lot about it these days, especially after Facebook renamed its company Meta. But we want to bring in one of the rising stars that actually already are a star in this space, Justin Fulsz. He’s the founder and CEO of Octi. Now, this has been explained as a social media, gaming app that’s described as a metaverse meets AR meets virtual currency game.
A lot to digest there, Justin. It’s great to see you. Thanks so much for joining. I’m still trying to wrap my head around this whole concept, but you’re doing something right because you’re the number one free app, right now, in Apple’s app store. How should we be thinking about Octi in this space? And do you view yourself as a competitor to one of the bigger names that people might be more familiar with, like Facebook?
JUSTIN FULSZ: Sure. Yes, we do think of ourselves as a competitor, in a way, but not directly. We have a totally different business model. We’re thinking about the space in a new way. We’re thinking about the creator in a new way. We’re thinking about how people are rewarded for creativity in a new way.
So as much as the description had a lot of different words, it’s accurate. It’s a little bit of everything, a whole ecosystem of this beautiful content creation where you can be anyone, be anywhere, with all of your friends. And you can be rewarded with this coin economy that you can then take to buy both digital and physical goods.
ADAM SHAPIRO: That was the key that got this middle-aged, curmudgeon Luddite interested because I’m still a little reluctant to have my image out there in the metaverse. But it’s the cash. It’s the coins and the tokens that people will earn by generating the images that then get shared. Tell us more about that and how big, potentially, that stands to be because I imagine that’s where you’re going to be making your money, is you link people to things they can buy.
JUSTIN FULSZ: Sure. So when you think about a typical social platform, you have a pyramid of value. And most of the creator funds and things like that that you hear about really reward the tippy top of that pyramid, the top 1%. But the platforms are built on the middle of the pyramid.
And so what we do at Octi is we found a great way to reward the people out there who are creating content in the middle of that pyramid and give them this fabulous coin loop where they create a content. If it’s good and people like it, and they engage with it, it gets likes, they get these coins. And they would call it a coin drips. It’s coins start coming in and they start coming in, a lot like likes used to do back in the day. And the more of those you get, the more you can take them and go to town. Go buy a pair of Nikes. Go buy a pair of Adidas, your favorite toys, whatever that is.
We have about 25 retailers right now. We’re going to have 100 by the end of the year. And so it’s really great to have this warm reception for the platform and really awesome, all the excitement that we’ve had. Thank you.
SEANA SMITH: Justin, when it comes to who’s using Octi, is it mostly Gen Z’ers, I would guess? And how do you work then– if that is the case, how do you work then to expand that demographic?
JUSTIN FULSZ: Sure. So every great platform tends to come from the younger demographic, first. And then, as you get that critical mass, as you get that scale, you start to slowly age up, right? And I’m sure you’ve heard the expression of aging out. And so what we’ve been able to do is we’ve been able to build something that it actually works seamlessly for Gen Z, but also, as we add new products and new challenges, we’re able to attract in an older demographic.
ADAM SHAPIRO: Would there be potential for my gen, which is Gen X?
I mean, we approach these things with some apprehension. I mean, I was going to ask you, if I were to create something to use inside Octi, would it be there forever? Or could I remove it, so that nobody else could use it? But how do you get Gen X? I mean, we’re a huge cohort. Why not try and get us?
JUSTIN FULSZ: So as the economy becomes more refined, as the type of content becomes more mature, you’re going to start to see things that appeal to you. Maybe that’s a retro toy or something that you had an affinity for when you were younger. But you start to bring in more and more people by touching those interests and also by making more sophistication around the economy, itself, for the Octi coins.
And so the priority, to be very clear, it is the new user. It’s Gen Z. But over time, we should be adding features and things that would solely appeal to everyone. And that’s just the lifecycle of the platform. Yeah.
ADAM SHAPIRO: My generation, it’s Pufnstuf. You get Pufnstuf in there, and this 50-year-old-plus crowd will be back in there.
JUSTIN FULSZ: I will make a few emails in our Slack messages, and that could happen by early next week.
ADAM SHAPIRO: [LAUGHS]
SEANA SMITH: Well, there you go. Just gave him an idea there. And Adam kind of alluded to this, when he talked about the fact that he is a little bit hesitant. I’m still trying to figure out what all this means. But for people who do put their information out there, people who do create these things on your platform, how are you addressing customer data and customer privacy because that’s been a huge issue within this space?
JUSTIN FULSZ: Yeah, it’s been a huge issue. And it’s actually one that our business model solves really well for us. We’re not advertiser supported, so we don’t need to monetize you and your data in the same way. We don’t need to share that with third parties. Everything is happening on our platform.
And so we really have a unique position where we can emphasize quality over quantity. I don’t need to keep showing you things for hours and hours. I can actually just show you seven great things, and you go and you buy a digital item or real item. And we just had a great interaction, and I haven’t had to share anything. So it’s actually the business model helps support the safety and privacy of our platform.
SEANA SMITH: Justin Fulsz, thanks so much for joining us. The founder and CEO Octi, we hope to have you back on Yahoo Finance soon.