INTERVIEW WITH NIKLAUS KNECHT
Papers is a venture builder based in Switzerland. We have been in business for around 30 years and recently shifted our focus to Web3. We have created and learned from various ventures and projects during this time. Through these experiences, we have developed a blueprint for growing new ventures quickly and efficiently. Our approach includes specific decision-making processes and strategies for setting up scalable operations.
We are based in Zug, the Crypto Valley of Switzerland. Over the past few years, we have built a strong, beneficial network. In Switzerland, the landscape is favorable for businesses due to great regulations. Many companies have gathered in this cultural and secure space, where people are highly educated. For example, ETH Zürich, only 30 to 40 minutes away, boasts great minds. As a company here, we benefit from this knowledge and network.
Switzerland is currently a hub for blockchain and cryptocurrency projects, and the future looks promising as long as regulations remain favorable and talented individuals continue to contribute.
However, there is some uncertainty regarding regulations and competition with players worldwide. Nonetheless, Switzerland has always been an innovative place, which is fantastic.
When all the key people are located in one city or region, communication becomes shorter and more efficient. This allows for quick progress and the ability to meet in person for lunch or meetings. This helps teams grow quickly and benefits both the company and other projects.
Moreover, Switzerland is very open to cryptocurrencies and Web3 projects, encouraging more people to get involved and build new things on this foundation.
One of the main factors that I believe will be crucial is accessibility. Previously, only tech-savvy individuals were interested in blockchain and related topics. However, nowadays, the number of people using it has significantly increased, and it continues to grow. To ensure that this trend continues, it is essential to make blockchain technology more accessible to the average user. Therefore, accessibility is a critical factor in the growth and development of blockchain. We have been at the forefront of various projects. For example, we have developed an accessible, cold wallet solution and another project that enables users to create their payment method, making transactions easier and more secure.
Interoperability is also essential in the blockchain space, and we believe it will continue to thrive in the coming year.
Blockchain space is like a universe with different planets, and interoperability will bring them together. Over the years, you have explored various digital currencies such as Polkadot, Teaser, Bitcoin, and Cerium. While each operates independently within its own Cosmos, communication between them can sometimes be limited. However, this presents a great opportunity for future advancements in the field.
I may have mentioned this before, but one of the biggest challenges for startups in Switzerland is competing with other hubs around the world, such as Silicon Valley, Singapore, and Hong Kong. These places offer great opportunities, but Swiss startups can succeed with a clear plan and laser focus. The high salaries in Switzerland make it crucial to use the right tools and build projects as lean and scalable as possible to avoid wasting time and resources. It is recommended to use scalable codes instead of customized ones when building a project. Customizations may lead to problems in the future.
As we can't predict the future, more regulations may be introduced. To prepare for this, it's important to document everything properly from the start and ensure you comply with current rules. Keeping up-to-date with any changes is also essential. It may be helpful to seek advice from a lawyer friend to navigate potential challenges.
Starting a new project can be challenging, especially when you want to build it as efficiently as possible. To begin, you'll need a great idea and funding, which can be difficult to acquire. Additionally, choosing the right tools and approach can also be overwhelming with the countless options available. Making all of these decisions from scratch can be a daunting task. However, over the past year, we have developed blueprints that can help make the process easier. By following these guidelines, you can avoid the stress of starting from scratch and confidently begin your project.
Defining the core values of your company or startup! It's the best advice I can give, although it can be hard. Once established, these values will automatically guide your decisions without taking too much time. In the beginning, it's important to take some time to really nail down these values. For example, our company has a core value of "don't assume, validate." This means that decisions should be based on data gathered to ensure we are heading in the right direction. Gut instincts should not be the sole basis for decision-making.
When exploring Web3, community building is an essential factor that should be considered. As Web3 products are designed for a broad audience, it is important to interact with people from all over the world, including countries like Vietnam, the US, Mexico, Germany, etc. Connecting with individuals, listening to their feedback, and using your community to promote your project can expand your reach and achieve long-term growth. Ultimately, this is the key takeaway for success in Web3.
I also greatly appreciate the open source aspect - the potential for others to take your project seriously and contribute to improving it. This can attract talented developers who may even become employees over time. By turning users into fans, you can build a loyal following and potentially grow your project into something more.
Absolutely. Do you have a great idea? Let's discuss it further! We can arrange a call or meet up in person to get a better understanding of your project and the nuances involved. We'll then take you through the state aid process to determine its validity. Once approved, we'll spend more time brainstorming on how to find investors. As we've been operating in the free space for several years, we have some papers that may be helpful in this process. We have a vast network of people who can assist us in connecting and aiding the initial project to grow further. We can collaborate and provide support after the planning stage, including creating an impressive pitch deck and a sound business plan. We can also leverage our own developer resources to start from scratch.
At Papers, we have established consistent rules and tools across all our ventures. This ensures that each project operates the same way and allows us to utilize our existing developers when starting a new project. We prioritize implementing these established guidelines in our new ventures to help them grow successfully. It is quite helpful if a proposed project receives a boost or additional investment, as we can allocate more developers and marketing resources. With our own marketing and sales team, we can effectively promote and sell the product while handling the branding and development aspects. We are more than willing to assist in these areas.
The duration of a project varies depending on its size and complexity. Projects are ongoing and require constant maintenance, improvement, and adaptation to the market. It's difficult to give a specific time frame, but typically it can take around 8-12 months. This depends on your goals, the project's requirements, and our understanding of the field.
When it comes to marketing or building a new brand, we usually hold brainstorming sessions to come up with a name and the proper wording to make the message or product more appealing to people. The messages may change over time as we discover which groups of people we need to focus on.
Typically, our process begins with a brainstorming session where we pause, develop an idea, and then narrow it down through three feedback phases. We then fine-tune it until we reach our desired outcome. We work on creating sales pitches that are accessible and understandable for everyone.
During this process, the sales team collaborates with your team to determine the specific goals, target audience, and desired results. After creating a mapping part that includes a brief project description and frequently asked questions, you can use it to pitch your project to others. Attending conventions and gatherings and showcasing your project to people is crucial in every phase. Furthermore, it can be advantageous to speak at these events if the opportunity presents itself.
I believe accessibility holds the greatest potential. With more people engaging in this area, we can expect more projects to emerge. As a result, these projects will become increasingly safer and more secure. Educating people is vital to making this technology more user-friendly and accessible. Many people have questions about Web3 and need help understanding it. However, it's important to let them know that they don't need to know every detail. For people to understand the concept of Web3 and its benefits, it must be presented in a digestible manner. This is similar to how people initially had difficulty comprehending Web2 when it first emerged 25 years ago. But with time, they adapted and began to appreciate its advantages, leading to more advancements. The more individuals we introduce to Web3, the more innovative products will be created.
We are constantly striving to improve accessibility for our customers, and our AirGap solution provides a completely secure vault wallet available to everyone. In addition, we offer Beacon for seamless communication, ECOO for creating personalized payment methods, and our newest development, ACURAST, which enables developers to bring off-chain data onto the blockchain without the need for centralized parties, making information more easily accessible.