Beluga Spotlight: Vibhu Norby, Founder of DRiP

By  Will McKinnon March 13, 2024

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About Vibhu

Vibhu is the founder of DRiP, a platform that allows users to receive free NFT collectibles, commissioned from artists and projects across the landscape of crypto. The project has grown exponentially since its inception, with over 300,000 wallets receiving at least one NFT a week. Previously, Vibhu was the Co-Founder and CEO of B8ta which was a revolutionary tech store that raised over $50M in venture capital. He has also been an engineer at leading tech companies like Nest and MySpace.

Interview

1. You were the founder of B8ta, which was a well known retail tech store in Silicon Valley that raised over $50M from some of the most well known investors including Khosla Ventures and Macy's. How did you end up in crypto?

In 2021, people at Solana were looking to expand their marketing reach into physical activations. Toward the end of b8ta in November 2021, we reconnected around a vision for Solana IRL. That idea became Solana Spaces, where DRiP originated.

2. Before B8ta, you worked at Nest which was known for having the best product design and user experience. Being a thought leader in product design, what are your thoughts around crypto having some of the worst product and user experience?

I don't think that's uniformly true, there are plenty of good user experiences. But I would caveat and say that most of the best products in crypto typically are more Web 2.5 vs. fully Web3, where a team with a product-centric leader is making clear design decisions about what things to do on chain vs. off chain. The ones that gravitate towards user experience > theory win.

3. What does DRiP Labs do and why should I use it over the other sites?

DRiP is a collectibles experience unlike anything else on-chain. Collect rare art, music, videos, and more from creators, starting at completely free, tokenless, and gasless.

4. Drip is Solana focused. Any plans to expand?

We are focused on creators and collectors, no matter whether they come from Solana or from outside. Our collectibles are secured by Solana, and we have no plans to change that.

5. Where do you see the NFT industry five years from now?

Still continue to believe we will see the long death of the 10k PFP meta over that time period. I am sure boutique collections, IP brands, 1/1 art, and some other ideas will survive. However, DRiP will be the dominant way that people will consume NFTs, if you can even call them that.

6. If you were the CEO of a big consumer brand or entertainment company, what would you want them to do in the NFT industry?

Come to DRiP – obviously. Other than that, I think there are abundant ways to build loyalty and community for your products with NFTs. Tons of great ideas out there waiting for the right IP.

7. A lot of people say I can just take a picture of that NFT, so why would I buy it? What do you say to them?

That's true. NFTs are as much a cultural thing as a technical one. You can also just download music from a file-sharing site - but we don't do that any more. We know the experience is better on Spotify or Youtube, and we know that piracy is bad.

NFTs are a way for a creator to add a piece of content to the internet and give it superpowers. We think NFTs provide infrastructure for creators to monetize their work, and for end consumers to own what they purchase. If you download a piece of work, you are directly breaking a link between the creator and you – and therefore you make it difficult for that creator to reward you or assert their rights in the future. You may lose access to their community or future content they create. Collecting on-chain preserves those benefits for the consumer.

IMO, right-click-save will be as out of fashion as downloading music or movies within a decade.

8. What is DRiP working on this year and the future?

This is the year of creator enablement and mobile. We plan to add 1000+ creators to DRiP, and launch a mobile app for iOS and Android before the summer.

9. What crypto (if any) do you own or have strong conviction in?

Wouldn't say I have strong conviction in any tokens in particular.