Candy Digital Follows $1.5 Billion Valuation With Instagram Exec Hire

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Seeking to expand the digital collectibles category, Candy Digital has hired former Instagram executive Andre Llewellyn as chief marketing officer.

Candy Digital—founded by Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin, Galaxy Digital CEO Mike Novogratz and investor Gary Vaynerchuk—sells NFTs with partners, including Major League Baseball. Valued at $1.5 billion, the company also has its eyes on expanding into other realms of art and entertainment.

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Llewellyn got his introduction into the crypto world during its last boom, in 2017. “I just kind of dabbled, investing in a couple of ICO projects,” he said during an interview. “It didn’t turn out well, but it was a great learning experience.” More recently, he worked on a DeFi (decentralized finance) project last year.

“Everybody uses the analogy of a baseball game,” Llewellyn said. “We’re not even at the first inning. We’re literally just pulling into the parking lot.” Given that, Candy’s marketing efforts will start by focusing on the existing crypto communities, which often gather on Twitter and chat platform Discord.

Moving forward though, the company hopes to introduce the average sports fan to the benefits of digital collectibles, expanding to platforms like TikTok and e-mail while creating on-the-ground activations at venues as well. In particular, Llewellyn emphasized the desire to tie NFTs to real world rewards.

Given the many upstarts competing for both league partnerships and customer interest, Llewellyn said the ultimate winner will be “the brand or the company who understands the consumer best, which is why one of our number one strategies is understanding the consumer. You have to build experiences that the consumer wants and that meets a need that allows them to be even bigger fans and gets them closer to the sport that they love.”

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