Dan Gärdenfors

Designer & CEO @ www.nobiz.se

It Takes a Village...

You know the old saying right? It takes a village to raise a startup. Well, at least you need a team, a communitycollaborations and supporters to succeed. Here’s how the young startup Marble.Cards works to grow its village.
Marble.Cards was launched in January this year. It’s a game platform and site where people can create unique digital cards from any web page. Sounds weird? We thought so too when we first heard about the idea. Still, we ended up working with the team to help turn this wacky vision into reality.
Marble cards are a crypto collectibles on Ethereum. This means we depend on an active community that creates cards and uses them to play different games regularly. So we think a lot about how to develop relationships between the core team and the Marble player community, how to establish new collaborations, and how to earn the trust of supporters.

1. Team

Like many other startups, our team emerged both by chance and by design. We run a digital design studio called Nobiz and we met the Marble founders Johan and Mattias last year. They had a vision for a new type of digital, collectible item and they were already backed by a team of skilled Ethereum developers. We couldn’t resist joining the project. Marble was a combo of wild ambition (Collect anything on the Internet!), lots of fun (Meme battles!) and it had the potential to grow into something really useful over time (Monetisation for creators!).
When designing the digital collectible cards, we realised that we needed help with the generative arts engine for the Marble pattern. Luckily, some friends at Topp are experts at algorithmic art and they were happy to join the project. With this stellar team in place, we were soon ready to launch a beta version of Marble.Cards.

2. Community

It’s often tricky to find your first users, but already in beta, Marble attracted a bunch of people who had tried other types of crypto collectibles. They enjoyed creating cards from websites and most importantly, they liked to engage with each other, show off their cards and use cards as a way to express themselves. We found that Discord was the perfect platform for this type of communication. Early champions like KingsKing and MarbleMadness have almost become part of the team by helping out and enriching the gaming experience of Marble.
The community is very active and today, the Marble players MJMoonbowWayfinderSirMemesAlotWGMeetsPapa SchlumpfBergleeuwIsaacfufu1_jamesCbraystand Flashmob are all helping out with various decision processes in a Player Council group on Discord.

3. Collaborations

Cross promotion and collaborations with other projects is a great way for a bootstapped startup to spread the word about its product. Over the last few months, we’ve supported initiatives where artists and musicians have used Marble.Cards to make money from their creations.
Marble was also selected as the featured app in the new Opera mobile web browser with an integrated crypto wallet.

4. Supporters

Startups are often born in places where there are many other startups and serial entrepreneurs. The innovation ecosystem in Malmö, Sweden is excellent and we often work from inspiring hubs like MINC or The Ground. It’s a lot easier to try something new when you are surrounded by people who show that it can be done. We’ve been lucky to get a lot of help from Bitcoin pioneer Chris Ander and angel investor Hampus Jakobsson (who was the person who introduced us the Marble founders).
It takes a village - and then some. We even have supporters who don’t know us at all, like Reid Hoffman whose Masters of Scale podcast inspires us a lot (especially episodes 1, 16, 34 & 35.) Thanks Reid!
Disclosure of vested interest: Our design studio Nobiz still works with and own shares in Marble.Cards. Next, we plan to grow the Marble community into a small town. Join us on Discord to learn more!

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