Innovation & Know-How

“Los Angeles is becoming the Metaverse Silicon Valley”

Eric Holdener, founder of the American company Kinestry, an innovative business developing tech solutions for NFTs and the metaverse, talks about the future on Web3.0 thanks to brand universe expansion.

Cristina D’Agostino

By Cristina D’Agostino13 avril 2022

Kinestry, a Los Angeles-based design studio founded by Eric Holdener, was very active on Decentraland through its client Perry Ellis during Metaverse Fashion Week(DR)
Eric Holdener, of French and Swiss origin, founder and CEO of the company Kinestry (DR)

On its website, the company Kinestry defines itself as a creative studio of tech innovation driven by the desire to welcome a better more integrated world. A big project. Its founder Eric Holdener made quite an impression. The Swiss and French native born in Lausanne and Californian at heart offers a rather cool entrepreneur profile, passionate about web 3.0 and happy to have positioned his company in the metaverse at the right time. The success story is clearly ongoing for the one who has for long navigated SAP implementation programs, then optimization processes for Nestlé in the US. In 2019, he created his company Kinestry with three other people and just enough financial means brought by a family of investors to start working on a project developed for the brand Vans. The idea: to create sneakers thanks to artificial intelligence. His motto is simple: have a design-thinking approach and implement technology which will allow to develop the company and way more. The start was dazzling despite a slow phase caused by the pandemic, which pushed him to hire thirty coworkers, all of them spread over the American territory according to talents and ecosystems. Today, Kinestry is considered as one of the best suited companies when it comes to offering transversal digital projects on production processes, 3D design, e-commerce, metaverse and NFTs. Lately, he was very active on Decentraland through his client Perry Ellis during the Metaverse Fashion Week. We met him in Switzerland, back from Paris where he is thinking about opening an office and just before he jumped on a flight back to Los Angeles: Eric Holdener accepted an exclusive interview with Luxury Tribune.

How is your company Kinestry different in its apprehension of the metaverse?

I think our cutting-edge mastery of technology combined with our design-thinking approach enables us to standout, always in a bespoke way for the brand or the artist that contacts us. Today, our time is the one of creative economy. There are getting strong requests for experiences, storytelling to engage consumers and create communities around a product. We offer to rethink internal infrastructures, production chains, activate content on bigger scales and activate events as well as handle all digital assets. Companies today need to rethink their strategy around digital asset management. We support brands from product design to supply chain, to e-commerce platforms and implementation in the metaverse.

Can you give us an example of this integrated approach?

When a designer creates a new object, they will design a 3D model, in a quality which is extremely close to reality, and which will then enable the buyer to get the 3D design instead of a traditional sample, often costly and unsustainable in its creation, to share their comments and changes. This shortens the production time and avoids waste. These assets are then published on e-commerce platforms, in order to observe how the craze is generated around novelties. And of course, the brand can exploit this entirely digital version in NFTs. For example, we recently accompanied the brand Nike on their swimwear collection for 2023 in 3D. From a simple photo shoot, we went to avatar creation immersed in both a futuristic and natural universe. Their entire catalogue was created with avatars on Real Engine, a gaming tool we use as a production studio. Once the avatars were in a studio, we produced looks. The advantage is that we can animate these avatars in an immersive universe where people can move. The greatest challenge is not to create these worlds, but to bring company executive teams to understand this infinite number of worlds which are available thanks to this technology.

Is there a brand that has, in your opinion, perfectly understood this huge potential?

Kinestry offers transversal digital projects, both on production processes, 3D design, e-commerce, metavers and NFTs (Kinestry)

I would say the brand Crocs, which is very advanced in this universe. The collaboration between Crocs and Balenciaga has been very successful on this point. The brand federates great communities. Their creation process is entirely based on 3D digital, but they went further by using simulation software generally used at Boeing, which enable to calculate material resistance. Therefore, Crocs simulates comfort, wear, and many other parameters, from the initial stage of creating the object to understanding what needs improvements along the production lines. Today, this data can be brought to the metaverse.

At the end of the day, technology cannot do anything if management is not open to change…

Yes, that is correct. We need to work on educating change. Some companies have managed today to unclutter their IT departments. We are living a true revolution as technology is not only being  integrated in all departments of a company, but has also spilled beyond the corporate world thanks to the metaverse.

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Can you explain the advantages of this opening towards the metaverse and how these investments will be affecting all departments?

The production chain of a company concerns of course the internal circuit, but also touches sales and marketing. Today, consumers want to have visibility on the chain of production, on the supply chain, on material traceability. Opening and giving access to this information is a true advantage in terms of image, as it engages and federates communities. Patagonia is a good example. Companies that use blockchain on their chain of production can today activate this process thanks to NFTs. An NFT connected to an object can become an access to an interesting loyalty program for the client and to programs related for example to NGOs focused on the environment and sustainability. Each NFT can activate a part of the money donated to a charity. Therefore, the consumer feels useful. It is an excellent way of mobilizing a community behind a product and a cause. Evidently, patterns need to be rethought, as technology is no longer isolated within divisions, but has become a tool for openness and dialogue with the world.

The freedom of speech found on the metaverse is a central argument. Do you also work with artists?

Yes, we work with many artists. We collaborate with the Swiss photographers Frederic Auerbach, Marc Ninghetto, the painter Francesca Gabbiani, the choreographer Dimitri Chamblas. We are creating an immersive experience with the latter, showcasing dancers whom we transpose into the metaverse. To do so we have used a brand-new technology which enables to film in 2D, then transpose images in 3D through a sophisticated software. The piece will take the shape of an NFT.

Eric Holdener was active on Decentraland during the Metaverse Fashion Week through his client Perry Ellis (DR)

It is of course a source of financing for these artists. How can you correctly profile your entrance in the world of crypto art while only 1% manage to succeed?

There are what I call casinos, the Bored Ape Yacht Club for example, which are strictly speculative. These profiles will tend to disappear, as they have no true artistic reach. But generally, NFTs are fascinating models for artists. Furthermore, they enable to get significant revenue (50%) in the shape of royalties on secondary markets (5% for each sale). The interesting aspect of NFTs related to the creative world is to offer the owner of the digital object a cocreation right, through a voting system for example. This participative aspect can be very powerful.

How can you integrate the difficult challenge of monetizing the value of a digital object?

NFTs must be analyzed through three axes: monetizing the brand through digital and limited collections, building communities through conversations, experiences and expanding the brand universe. And understanding how your brand can be a story world. This is what we call brand universe expansion.

Who are the great masters of the metaverse that inspire you?

Few of them standout for now. I would say the artist Krista Kim, whose artwork on Times Square lit up every night. But one thing is certain, great talents of Web3.0 converge in Los Angeles. LA is becoming the Silicon Valley of the Metaverse, as it is the capital of creative economy, storytelling, art and cinema.  All these tech models designed at the Silicon Valley are now becoming obsolete.

Is cinema thinking about NFTs?

Yes, absolutely. The biggest movie theater chain AMC in the US had for instance decided to offer NFT drops during the launch of Batman to those who had tickets for the first projection. A way of attracting people in theaters. The craze for NFTs in the USA is major. Advertising commercials during the Super Bowl were mainly focused on cryptos. The language of NFTs is starting to penetrate the wider audience.

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