Tech entrepreneur Solo Ceesay talked to Boardroom about taking over as CEO of the Web3 social media app he launched with Spencer Dinwiddie.
We live in a bustling creator economy amid Web3 expansion, and Solo Ceesay wants to help those creators monetize their experiences.
Ceesay, an entrepreneur and former athlete, is the co-founder and CEO of Calaxy, a Web3 social media app for creators. The company’s flagship platform lets users search for their favorite creators, buy tokens, and unlock special perks. Ceesay launched Calaxy with Dallas Mavericks guard Spencer Dinwiddie in 2020.
“Calaxy’s mission is to try to be the Web3-equivalent of a Cameo or Patreon,” Ceesay said, “We want creators to be able to better connect with their fans and monetize their experiences instead of relying on TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram to create monetization tools.”
Solo Ceesay’s World
Ceesay grew up in St. Louis before embarking on his college football career at the University of Pennsylvania. After college, he started working on Wall Street as an investment banker at Citigroup. Before launching Calaxy with Dinwiddie, Ceesay helped him with his NBA contract securitization efforts, tokenizing it on the blockchain.
“I started as an advisor to help marry those two worlds,” Ceesay said. “Spencer’s vision to connect more meaningfully with his fans, but also to financially incentivize them to do so.”
Ceesay says he was a strict finance guy before pivoting to tech after focusing his investment efforts on monetization. Ceesay’s older brother is best friends with Dinwiddie, so he originally connected the two to work together. Ceesay and Dinwiddie have teamed up on several projects at this point, including New Money With Spencer & Solo on Coindesk TV, which is a video series that explores what it means to be part of the new creator economy, featuring interviews with influencers.
The Calaxy App
Ceesay and Dinwiddie decided to launch Calaxy after seeing more creator-centric platforms like Clubhouse, OnlyFans, and Patreon. The pair wanted to bring some of those same opportunities to Web3 and the blockchain. Ceesay believes traditional social media algorithms are deeply flawed, so he’s working to create something that puts value back into creators’ control.
Each creator on Calaxy’s platform gets their own personalized cryptocurrency that fans can buy and spend on experiences with them. Creators can also sell and mint NFTs on the platform.
Calaxy’s app is powered by Hedera Hashgraph’s distributed ledger technology. As Boardroom previously reported, Calaxy is built on the Creator’s Galaxy protocol, a decentralized protocol/ecosystem dedicated to empowering content creators. Creator’s Galaxy is powered by Calaxy tokens, one billion of which were minted in April alone.
Ceesay is focused on breaking down the barrier of entry into Web3. Much like traditional social media apps, new Calaxy users will be able to easily sign up for an account that will automatically populate and create a crypto wallet for them. The company set the platform up this way to promote mass adoption when it’s fully available.
The app is currently in the beta access phase, so users need a code to tap in. The iOS version is live, with the minimum viable product slated to drop in the next couple of months.
Growth and Goals
Since closing its $26 million investment, Ceesay was promoted from COO to CEO of Calaxy. He succeeds Dinwiddie, who will now act as the company’s executive chair. Ceesay said this move was always a part of the company’s roadmap as Dinwiddie continues his NBA career.
“[Dinwiddie] being the CEO of a company that’s growing at the pace that we are is just impractical. As we grow, it makes more sense to have somebody in that seat that was really in it every day,” said Ceesay. “Spencer’s passion is blockchain, Web3, and tech; it’s all he spends his personal time doing. He’s very much so still involved with the project.”
Calaxy’s team is 12 employees strong, with a dev shop comprised of 10 developers that work closely with the company. The Web3 social app company has raised just under $34 million in venture capital, according to Ceesay, including a $26 million strategic investment round led by The HBAR Foundation and Animoca Brands.
Ceesay’s hope is that Calaxy becomes synonymous with the idea of creator monetization.
“Our goal is to be a hundred-year company, if not longer. We want to be around for the long haul,” he said. “We want to be the standard of personal monetization by creating the most seamless user experience from fan to creator in Web3.”