Small Business: Former All Black Dan Carter and Tim Harper on starting an NFT business

Former All Black Dan Carter. Photo / Supplied

Former All Black Dan Carter and Tim Harper talk to Rahul Bhattarai about new digital art business, Glorious.

What does your business do?

Tim: Glorious is a creative studio and marketplace, where the world’s finest
artists can create and sell their digital art online in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). [NFTs are virtual tokens that use blockchain technology to record proof of ownership of unique or scarce items].

We are currently working with artists, musicians, athletes, and copyright holders, including Six60 and Dick Frizzell.

Why did you name your business Glorious?

Tim: When four of us co-founders Scott McLiver, Murray Thom and Dan Carter met on our first zoom call during the 2021 February lockdown. Murray instantaneously named the company Glorious.

What was the motivation for starting it?

Dan: As I approached the final stages of my career, what drove me initially was the understanding of a new commercial opportunity for athletes.

Because professional sport is the space that’s been driving me for the last 18 years it was nice to be back at the start line learning new skills. The more I learned about blockchain technology the more I realised its potential and different ways to create rare but desirable content for our fans to own or even trade if they wish.

There have been so many examples in the NFT space recently that have caught my eye – from NBA’s TopShot, Tom Brady’s NFT platform to even the legendary Lionel Messi doing his NFT project last month.

Glorious CEO and co-founder Tim Harper. Photo / Supplied
Glorious CEO and co-founder Tim Harper. Photo / Supplied

Tim: We were intrigued by this idea that a content creator can now upload something online and prove that they are the original owners of their work using blockchain technology. We also loved that NFTs enabled artists to earn perpetual royalties whenever their work is sold on the secondary marketplace. This is a revenue stream that until now hadn’t been unattainable by artists.

Soon after our first meeting, a digital artist called Beeple sold an NFT of his work for US$69 million ($100m) at Christie’s auction house. And this sale gave us confidence about the market and the potential appetite for people to own original, authenticated digital art.

What kind of experience or background do you have that made you good co-founders for this gig?

Dan: Like any sports team, for any good business, you will also need a culture, vision, and values we live by day to day, that is something I worked on in the early days with the Glorious team. With my experience of being a professional rugby player, having worked with a lot of commercial partners over the years I hope to be able to connect with the right people to join us in this Glorious journey we are on.

Tim: I have a Masters in Science from Otago University and have spent the past decade working as a creative director and producer across music, publishing, and film production. I co-created The Great New Zealand Songbook with Murray Thom and together we created The Great New Zealand Cookbook – including various spin-offs – and more recently, the Offering project where we raised over $500,000 for The Salvation Army. My favorite thing in the world is collaborating with creatives to create beautiful, unique projects that bring joy to both the giver and the receiver.

How big is the team today?

Tim: We are eight of us, including [former Solicitor General] Michael Heron, who is our chairman and a director and we have two technology partners, Sylo and Centrality.

Having a growth mindset was important when starting a new business, Carter said. Photo / Supplied
Having a growth mindset was important when starting a new business, Carter said. Photo / Supplied

Sylo is a software development house focused on developing communications and FinTech solutions. Centrality is the creators of the Cennznet blockchain, which is a greener, proof of stake blockchain specifically focused on improving the experience of creating and deploying non-fungible assets.

What’s your focus for the remainder of the year?

Tim: Our focus is to educate people about NFTs and digital art. More importantly, we want to create an amazing user experience that facilitates the discovery, purchase, and display of art on digital screens at home.

What are your long-term plans, and where do you see the brand in five years?

Tim: Our long-term plan is to make NFTs mainstream in New Zealand and to be a significant Kiwi tech start-up in the world.

How does your business stand out in comparison to other businesses in the market – what makes it unique?

Tim: What differentiates Glorious from other NFT marketplaces is our singular focus on creating work that is truly enduring and is anchored around artistic quality. We are firmly positioning ourselves at the premium end of the market as we believe it is the “masterpiece” and NFTs that will endure, not the “cash grab” NFTs that are currently flooding the market.

We want to partner with content creators who value brand integrity, stewardship, protection, and legacy as much as we do. We offer an end-to-end solution for both content creators and their customers.

The digital collections created and released through Glorious are designed to be shared and displayed like works of art, whether that be on your smartphone, your home television screen, or a digital frame at the office.

What does the competition look like in this market?

Tim: While we are the first NFT creative studio and marketplace in New Zealand, we expect to see huge growth in this area over the next two years at the local level. Internationally, we are excited to announce over the coming weeks some partnerships that we have lined up which will hopefully see Glorious become a truly, international brand.

Our approach to digital art centers around the creation of enduring work that benefit all parties involved.

What advice do you give to people wanting to start a business?

Dan: It’s important to surround yourself with the right people. People you can trust and have the same drive and desire as you. Most importantly have a growth mindset and be open to learning new things every day.

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