Behind the Platform: Interview with the Founders of Diremo
Behind the platform: an exclusive interview with Diremo’s leadership team.
Mar 18, 2022
By Diremo Staff • Published on Mar 18, 2022
Behind the platform: an exclusive interview with Diremo’s founding leadership team.
Who are the founders behind Diremo? What inspired them to start building the platform? I sat down with Diremo’s leadership team to discuss the finer details of what it means to found a startup, code on the blockchain, and work with each other.
What motivated you to start Diremo?
Gabriel: I’ve been building on the web for around 7 years. When I started, I was building simple web 2.0 websites, like social apps and content-based sites. When the prospect of building decentralized apps with blockchain came along, I realized the value behind the ethos of web 3.0 and joined a blockchain startup as soon as I could.
I ended up working at Shardus, a blockchain company building an incredibly fast and scalable sharded blockchain, similar to what Polygon and Solana have been working on. I worked at that company for six months when crypto was really blowing up last year.
At Shardus, I was getting paid in crypto. As soon as my crypto wallet began growing in value, I immediately began looking for ways I could actually spend the crypto I had. Today, there are two prominent ways to use crypto: to buy NFTs and digital art, and to invest in crypto to make a good return.
I wasn’t interested in either of these things at the time — I was interested in buying real, physical products with crypto.
So, when Vincenzo reached out to me a couple months later with the idea of a physical e-commerce platform with crypto, I was immediately interested. From the start, the aim of Diremo was to create a marketplace for physical products, incorporating both crypto and NFTs. We also wanted to take advantage of the decentralized systems by bridging the gap between cryptocurrencies and physical products. I was super excited to start Diremo as I see real value in using crypto in a tangible way to buy physical products.
Vincenzo: I remember four or five months ago when NFTs were booming. Everyone and anyone was looking into NFTs and the blockchain and the world of web 3.0. I, too, was intrigued and such was the extent of my interest that I decided to break the infinite loop of YouTube videos about digital markets and take real action.
I had an initial idea with the NFT space and linking NFTs, and, thus, an early version of Diremo was born. Thanks to a mutual friend I was able to contact Gabriel in Boston — alongside Luigi, who was my partner and friend from Milan. We were able to talk together and deconstruct this huge market gap, coming up with a plan of how we were going to meet the insatiable demand for connecting the crypto and product markets.
Luigi: We really just went for it. I used my deeply rooted passion for marketing and put it into practice, calling upon my knowledge and ability to help us grow as a company. For context, I’ve studied business for the past three years and I’ve gone as far as to pursue an online diploma for marketing during that time. I’m also looking forward to a trip to the United States this summer where I plan to take courses to improve my marketing skills. Diremo has kept me motivated to pursue higher levels of achievement and, considering the amount of hard work that we’re putting in, I feel optimistic for our future.
How have you all adjusted to the remote aspect of the company?
Vincenzo: Luigi and I are in Milan which is, I'd say, the most innovative and international city in Italy. The two of us go to school together, so, on our side at least, the process of communication has been fairly seamless. Of course, on Gabriel’s side, we’ve had to make some adjustments because there is a six hour time zone difference between Milan and Boston, where Gabriel resides. That said, the process of doing so has been overall quite seamless. Not to mention, we're planning on doing courses in the states together this summer in order to advance our learning and we hope to meet up with Gabriel in person when we make this trip. And, generally, I would say that this whole international aspect behind Diremo is a great aspect of who we are.
Gabriel: I think being remote and international is a massive part of the culture we're building within Diremo. Everyone's international and we have people from three different countries at this point with hopefully more along the way. Furthermore, I'm a very international person. I was born in New York, grew up in London and since then have spent two years in Boston. Most of the places I've worked at have been remote, so, in all, I have a lot of experience with not being in the same timezone as my co-workers. Through my prior experience, I’ve come to understand that working remotely is helpful provided you check in regularly with the rest of the company. We all work well asynchronously and that’s honestly a huge advantage of who we are.
How have you all gotten to know each other better as a result of building Diremo?
Luigi: Vincenzo and I initially connected up over NFTs. We actually started with a completely different idea, however, after re-examination of the market, we determined that it would be more prudent to structure Diremo as it is now. Gabriel came into the mix when we were looking for a partner to share this excellent opportunity with. He’s a great guy and the chemistry we have as a trio is unmatched. From day one of connecting up we worked really well together, especially because we all have different perspectives on a lot of things. It definitely helps to have diversity in perspectives, especially when confronting difficult tasks. Through our different mindsets, we can feed off of each-others ideas.
Gabriel: I've had an awesome time working with Vincenzo and Luigi so far. As I mentioned, I have a lot of experience working remotely, so basic logistics and getting to know each other better over calls comes naturally. We all acknowledge that it’s a tough process to establish a startup, but we all go through the same things and mutual recognition of that fact is helpful. Honestly, that's why I think it's so important to have a strong founding team and a close relationship between all founders where transparency is prioritized. I'm very happy to have Luigi and Vincenzo by my side as they both demonstrate these qualities.
Vincenzo: We're planning on meeting up soon; potentially in London; potentially in Boston. That way, we can further build on the connection that we all share. I think that the biggest challenge when it comes to everyone being in different parts of the world, is trying not to form little groups according to our different locations. So we're currently based in Boston, Milan, and London with multiple members in each location. Our goal is to foster interaction between all parties at that time and we make sure to check up on this regularly. That way, we can effectively avoid any disconnect within the startup.
To the consumer who wants to get into crypto but doesn’t know how exactly it will play out: what advice do you have to offer?
Luigi: For me personally, it's all about confidence and loyalty. With the rise of web 3.0, I would say there are a lot of speculations about crypto, but personally I believe that the internet has become far more secure as a result of its implementation. Indeed, the blockchain as a whole is much more secure. For us at Diremo, our aim is use this fact in order to promote and gain the confidence of our customers. We encourage everyone to start using crypto more often in their daily lives; the transition to online currencies is happening rapidly it’s always better to be ahead of the curve than behind it.
Gabriel: First of all, I truly believe that Diremo is becoming one of the most innovative platforms to get into crypto out there. Just look at the unmet demand for reference. 33% of people that haven’t gotten into crypto haven’t yet because they believe it’s not accepted enough. Right now, if I want to buy shoes with crypto, I have little idea where I can use crypto to buy shoes. So, what do I do? I spend time translating my crypto shares into real world money. This alone is a pain for any crypto holder and that’s not even factoring in the commission charge of currency translation. All things considered, crypto holders would be far better off paying for things directly by crypto. Our mission here is to enable that by facilitating transactions between cryptocurrencies and physical products while maintaining trust and security.
So, for those wanting to get into crypto, my advice is as follows: first of all, sign up for the Diremo waitlist — we’re building a great experience for all of our customers on top of the opportunity to buy real tangible products in a safe, clear and secure way. In terms of general advice, I’d foremost recommend that you stay open minded. Understand that crypto is a new technology, but it's very secure. There's a substantial number of advantages and there's a lot of people working passionately to improve it further. I believe that web 3.0 is the future of the internet. I predict that its increasing usage will democratize and decentralize the work that everyone on the internet is doing. At Diremo, we're working to democratize and decentralize e-commerce, so sign up for the waitlist if you're interested. We’re excited to be launching in less than a month and, if you stick with us, you’ll have access to thousands of products to buy with crypto.
In an ideal world, where do you see the future of the company?
Gabriel: Most importantly, we want to expand the crypto economy to the point where we are the Amazon for crypto. E-commerce is growing 15% year and is currently a huge market, but with the addition of crypto, I predict that it will become an even bigger one. In the present moment, we're starting out where we have buyers and sellers who yearn for a more frictionless transaction process. We can provide that by eliminating the middlemen and the commission fees for our customers. With these fundamentals down, we can proceed to expand slowly until we eventually gain proper traction in the marketplace. It’s a slow process and we’re taking one step at a time, however, in the long term, it would be a dream come true to revolutionize e-commerce on the blockchain.
Vincenzo: One of our main goals is expanding culturally. The more people that we have from different parts of the world, the more awareness we’re able to spread and the more we’ll be able to understand different perspectives. I honestly believe that having different cultures is extremely important when it comes to building a successful product. An example I can think of off the top of my head where different cultural understanding can come in handy is in understanding consumer incentives. As can be the case, some countries may favor certain products over others and if we have members of our team who understand this, we can really go a long way in what we achieve. In short, different perspectives help us find a the information we need to produce the best product on the market.
Luigi: As Gabriel said, web 3.0 is going to be the future; especially due to the upward trajectory of the cryptocurrency market in the past 10 years. Personally, I hope that people will start to come to terms with the efficiency of crypto and begin to invest in it more. I would say that in the long term, our vision is to make Diremo into the marketplace where people find themselves able to comfortably shop without the annoying friction of logistics.
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Vincenzo: Join the waitlist at diremo.org/waitlist.
Luigi: Yeah, absolutely.
Gabriel: Yes! Join the waitlist. If you have any feedback on what we're building, feel free to drop us a message at diremo.org/feedback, or shoot me an email directly at email@example.com. I'm super flexible and would love to chat about anything and everything crypto and e-commerce!