Vayner3 President Avery Akkineni
TECHNOLOGY NFT

Into the Future With Vayner3

Things are getting even busier in Vayner world following VeeFriends’ $50 million seed raise and a notable Web3 rebrand. Boardroom spoke to Vayner3 President Avery Akkineni about what’s next.

Gary Vaynerchuk’s flagship NFT project, VeeFriends, recently closed a $50 million seed round led by Andreessen Horowitz. A16z’s Chris Lyons confirmed the round on Twitter and with a blog post on July 28.

“Gary and the VeeFriends team are building an engaged community through unique content and experiences, tied together through the power of Web3,” Lyons said in the blog post. “VeeFriends represents the ethos of entrepreneurship, and we’re humbled by the opportunity to support Gary and the VeeFriends community on this journey.”

VeeFriends shared in a separate blog post that it plans to use the investment to build intellectual property based on the 283 core VeeFriends characters. This includes expanding its creative, technical, and experiential operations and attracting new talent from the Web3 and entertainment sectors. Remember when Gary Vee announced at VeeCon that building out Accountable Ant’s story is his next big focus? Looks like he’ll be making good on that promise pretty soon.

It’s safe to say Vaynerchuk and Co. are having a massive year, as this raise comes after his Web3 consultancy rebranded as Vayner3 earlier this month. On the heels of all this success, Boardroom spoke with Vayner3’s President, Avery Akkineni, about where the company is headed.

A Brand Reborn

Vaynerchuk announced in July that what was once VaynerNFT would become Vayner3. He continues on as company CEO, while Akkineni serves as President.

The strategic consultancy is on a mission to guide enterprises and IP owners alike as they build in Web3. This new focus is an expansion of what the company was already doing and to focus more broadly on Web3 as a whole. Vaynerchuk first launched VaynerNFT a little over a year ago to serve the rapidly growing NFT industry; Vayner3 is focused on helping users take the next step in navigating the ever-expanding Web3 world.

Avery Akkineni, president of Vayner3

“What we’ve learned over the past year or so is that NFTs are an incredible entry point mechanism for the world of Web3 because consumers and brands understand collectibility,” Akkineni told Boardroom in an exclusive interview. “It’s really just the beginning of what’s possible in the multi-dimensional world of Web3, which can include everything from cryptocurrency strategy to tokenization, to metaverse activation, and so much more.”

Akkineni said Vayner3 is equipped to provide a broader suite of services to its clients. She also expanded on why this rebrand was more important now than ever, but emphasized that Vayner3 is anything but new to this sort of work — and if you know anything about Vayner brands, you know Gary Vee is known for not simply keeping up with the times, but staying ahead of them. The rebrand notably arrived on the company’s first anniversary in business.

“We wanted our name to reflect really the full suite of what we can bring to market, so we thought it was the right time,” Akkineni said. “It felt like the natural time during our first birthday to keep on that evolution and that next step to where we think our company is going to be heading.”

In its first year in business, Vayner3 has served more than 12 Fortune 500 companies, including Anheuser-Busch InBev, Coinbase, Diageo, and PepsiCo. The company has also hosted activations at Art Basel and SXSW and brought more than 7,000 NFT enthusiasts together for the inaugural VeeCon conference in May. Vayner3 also recently partnered with Gatorade to launch the beverage brand’s first NFT collection.

“We still are deep believers in NFTs,” Akkineni said, “but NFTs are only one part of that broader Web3 ecosystem, which we see as transforming the consumer experience in the next iteration of consumer behavior.”

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What’s Next for Vayner3?

As Vayner3 expands its brand, the company is committed to hiring new employees across strategic, creative, and operational roles. There are more than 10 open roles at Vayner3 as of this writing, as well as several others across all of the VaynerMedia brands.

Fun fact: Akkineni said she first connected with a handful of Vayner3’s C-suite employees on Twitter before they joined the team. (This is your sign to get on Twitter to stay connected with the Web3 world.)

Long-term, Akkineni envisions Vayner3 as the go-to Web3 consultancy of practitioners by being hands-on with their strategic plans. She said the company can accomplish this by building a strong team of Web3 professionals, doing the best work in front of and behind the scenes, and helping its partners develop real business outcomes.

In the shorter term, meanwhile, Akkineni said the Vayner3 team is focused on creating some “game-changing programs” to create new connections between enterprises and consumers.

“We really want to take advantage of using technology as a force for good,” she said.

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