ICO Analysis: Friendz
Friendz connects brands with their community of users to promote “word of mouth” marketing. Unlike a majority of ICOs, the company has already been in business since 2016. They’re using the ICO as an opportunity to incorporate blockchain technology into their platform to automate picture validation and reward distribution (more on this later).
The team wants Friendz Coins (FDZ), the platform’s native token, to be the currency of choice for companies to use in engagement with their target audience. The main idea is to reward content creators for promoting brands that they love and are engaged with.
The Friendz platform includes three types of actors: brand clients, users, and approvers.
Brand Clients, like Nestle and Uber, create and purchase campaigns on the platform. They set the budget range, target users, and social network distribution, among other important criteria. These campaigns are then presented to the Friendz users who can choose to participate for FDZ rewards.
Friendz makes it easy for brand clients to track key performance indicators (KPIs) of their campaigns in real-time through their specific dashboard.
As a user, you participate in Friendz by creating content for the brand clients.
From the mobile app, you scroll through a list of campaigns and choose one that you like. You then snap a picture following the campaign’s guidelines, add a hashtag or two, and upload it. Each one of your pictures is rated from 1-5 stars by community members based on its quality.
Taking high-quality photos has a few advantages. The higher the rating your photo receives, the greater your FDZ reward. Consistently taking highly-rated photographs also brings you better campaign opportunities and priority access to campaigns over users with a lower rating. The amount of your photos’ reach and overall interaction is also used to determine your rating as a user.
Approvers are highly qualified users that screen each photo to ensure that they follow the guidelines of the campaign. Once a minimum number of approvers accepts the photo, it’s automatically posted to the user’s social media accounts.
Any User can become an approver after participating in a certain number of campaigns with a high approval rating. Like normal users, approvers also have rankings but are instead determined by the accuracy of their approvals. This is similar to the reputation system that Augur uses. If their approval rating drops below a certain threshold, they’ll no longer be an approver.
Approvers receive FDZ rewards for accurately approving user photos. Although this process is currently running on the Friendz platform, the team will be integrating it with the blockchain to make it more accurate and efficient.
FDZ is an ERC20 token and the primary currency on the Friendz platform. The team will create a maximum of 1.5 billion FDZ tokens during the ICO with no additional creations after it’s over.
You can use the token for a multitude of things in-app including:
- Service and campaign discounts
- Visibility and exposure promotions
- Blockchain-based games
- Merchandise store
- Coupons and gift cards
- Brand partnership purchases
Friendz is allocating 15%-30% of their revenue to buy back tokens from the market in order to transfer them to users. This adds a consistent demand to the market and demonstrates that the company believes in the value of the token.
Friendz began in 2016 and has grown their team to over 30 members. Showing some success already, the company has previously raised €500 thousand and made over €1.2 million in revenue.
Alessandro Cadoni, Cecilia Nostro, and Daniele Scaglia lead the team as co-founders. Although they don’t have much blockchain experience, they have solid advisors to help. The Friendz advisor board is also involved with other notable blockchain projects like Eidoo and Gnosis.
The company has worked with over 200 clients – Disney, Reebok, Mattel, Warner Bros, and Best Western, to name a few.
Tokens and Distribution
The FDZ token sale starts on March 1st at 10 AM (UTC+1) and will proceed for 3 weeks or until the 750,000,000 FDZ ($50,250,000) hard cap is reached.
The ICO also has a minimum goal of 50,000,000 FDZ ($3,350,000). If the team doesn’t raise this amount in 3 weeks, they’ll refund all ICO contributors.
You can purchase 10 FDZ for $0.67 during the ICO. But, if you participate early, you’ll receive a discount based on a sliding scale:
- First Hour: 40% discount
- First Day: 20% discount
- First Week: 10% discount
50% of the total token supply will be distributed to ICO participants while the team only receives 5%. However, there’s a 20% reserve fund that’s slotted for “future financing and team reward. So, the team may end up with more than the original 5%.
The tokens sold during the First Hour as well as the ones allocated to the team, advisors, and reserve fund vest over a twelve-month period. Each month, 1/12 of those tokens will be released to the appropriate people.
One-year is a fairly short vesting period; however, because the company has been operating for a couple years now, this shouldn’t be a huge concern.
The team plans on using the proceeds from the ICO as follows:
- 50.0% – Business marketing and development
- 20.0% – Personnel and professionals
- 15.0% – Development
- 10.0% – General and administrative expenses
- 5.0% – Other
With an already established product and user base, it makes sense that the team will spend the majority of funds on marketing and business development.
Friendz is an established marketing and advertising company with a proven track record. Similar to Rentberry, the team is just incorporating blockchain technology into their platform – not starting from scratch.
It’s impressive that the company has already passed its breakeven point and is profitably running. This should give you confidence that the social, “word-of-mouth” model that the FDZ token is built on is a solid foundation.
Even though the team isn’t comprised of blockchain experts, they’ve brought on some advisors with significant experience in the space.
- Crowded market. There are a host of companies, both traditional and blockchain-related, in the digital marketing industry. It may be tough for Friendz to continue growing at their current pace in such a saturated space. (-2)
- Nothing revolutionary. There’s no “wow” factor to what Friendz is doing. With ICOs having such a high inherent risk, it may make more sense to look at something tackling a bigger problem. (-2)
- The mercy of third-parties. Facebook’s recent advertising guideline changes and the ever-evolving digital media landscape could hinder Friendz in the long run. (-1)
- Proven idea. Most importantly, Friendz is already successful. Investing in a company that’s already profitable eliminates a lot of risk. (+6)
- Virality. The platform is built around social sharing and virality. As more people use the app and share content, the company should ideally see exponential growth. (+4)
- Token terms. The small percentage of tokens allocated to the team and buy-back program give me less suspicion that there’s any funny business going on. (+2)
Friendz receives a total score of +7 out of 10. The team, product, and token are solid and look to have minimal downside risk compared to other ICO investments. The company isn’t trying to drastically change the world through a decentralized internet or financial institution overthrow. Instead, they’re tackling a fairly large industry that probably won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.
Although this probably won’t be a home-run 50x return, it could easily by a solid single or double.
- Type: Utility
- Symbol: FDZ
- Platform: Ethereum
- Crowdsale: Mar. 1, 2018
- Minimum Investment: 0.1 ETH
- Price: 1 FDX = 0.067 U.S.
- Hard Cap: 750 million FDZ
- Payments Accepted: ETH
- Restrictions Barred from Participating: United States
The Friendz token sale starts on March 1st, 2018 and runs for three weeks. You can find more information about it here.