Web3 Talents community manager Marcel Grimm sat down with Anil Altas Brug and Karin Weigelt, two professionals who have joined forces to create innovative projects at the intersection of the physical and digital worlds. Anil has extensive experience in user experience, marketing, and business development, while Karin is an expert in the development of technologies that connect the physical world to the digital world. They talk about their past experiences and their collaboration, which began through the DLT Talents Program. Their collaboration aims to explore the potential of NFTs and create safe, secure, and exclusive experiences for art collectors and enthusiasts.
Marcel Grimm: Thank you to both of you for talking to me today, let’s start off with a short introduction on your past projects, your professional career and why you applied for our DLT Talents Program.
Anil Altas Brug: I hold a masters degree in Financial Mathematics and IT Applications from the University of London and previously completed a Bachelor program in Economics. Since graduating, I have worked on international tech startup projects, focusing on strategy, business development and user experience, with my main areas of expertise being ecommerce, online advertising and omnichannel marketing as a whole. I love combining the data story and the human story, which is something that I have followed throughout my career. I have therefore mostly worked in different tech startups in Silicon Valley, London, Istanbul, Brussels, Frankfurt and Berlin, while always keeping the user experience at the heart of what I do while pushing startups to scale up, supporting the business to grow and the people to thrive. After moving to Frankfurt around 8 years ago I started to work in a digital agency, Turboslow Digital based in Brussels and I was again responsible for user experience and online marketing. In the last 3 years we continued to observe the developments in the web3, blockchain and NFT based ecosystem, so we decided to create a new business line in which we create NFT formats and projects with an interdisciplinary approach, using the real and digital world source code to generate some genuine and meaningful projects for now and the future. With my co-founder, Atil Altas, we have jumped into the rabbit hole and founded Turboslow NFT Agency. So, I would describe myself as the creator, business developer and someone who is open to learning new things and ideas all the time.
Karin Weigelt: For almost all of my professional life I have worked with technology corporations working on printed electronics, so not printing colors in a traditional sense, but electrically conductive colors that have underlying functionalities. With one of the technologies that I co-developed you can print on various materials which can then be detected on smartphones. The essence is really to build a bridge between printed real world products and the smartphone world, to build a technology which cannot be copied. Therefore, documents and other real world assets can be made secure by having a digital twin that can show all the underlying content of the asset. In 2016, my co-founder Jan Thiele and I founded Prismade Labs, which now is part of the Edding Group. We now are continuing to build this whole technology and bring it into different applications. In the past we worked in the security industry, working on really secure documents – always focusing on the bridge between the digital world and physical products. Two years ago we also jumped into the NFT space and I think that our technology is a nice way to make the whole NFT space more secure and strengthen the connection between the NFT and the physical print on the other side. So the idea is to have a bridge between the two sides.
Marcel Grimm: So we have Anil on the one hand working on user experience and marketing and Karin on the other hand working on the tech side. How did you find each other and what helped you in your collaboration?
Karin Weigelt: I was a DLT Talent in the Cohort 4 starting spring 2022 and Anil contacted me via LinkedIn. I really enjoyed reading through Anil’s projects on LinkedIn and messaged her back. We arranged a virtual meeting and that’s where the whole idea started. Both of us are in the interface between the NFT world and the real world. As Anil is working on screenless NFTs, we are both on the same path trying to create print outs of NFTs, while still connecting it to the actual NFT. We continued to speak a few times and then finally met each other in person at the Dmexco W3 Vision Conference in Cologne and talked in more detail about what our first project could be. Finally, at the end of November we met at SheNFT Netherlands and showed our joint collaboration with an artist from Turboslow NFT’s network, which was a printwork secured with our technology. We were also able to explain to the present artist and observers how the print out is connected to the NFT data.
Anil Altas Brug: When I met with Karen it immediately clicked. We didn’t push anything, everything just came very naturally. As Turboslow Agency, we have been looking for some different options for the artists in our portfolio for a while. Because Turboslow Agency is a creative platform for digital crypto artists, NFT collectors, art galleries and brands with diverse perspectives, the technological ideas and skills that Karin had offered were useful to the mission we had as an agency. You can see the project details here.
Current buzzwords like web3, blockchain, NFT, VR, AR and AI are of course also of interest to artists from different backgrounds, photographers, authors, poets, 3D animators, musicians, film makers, and video artists in the creative industry. We also love to show our artists different use cases of NFTs, which are also of interest to collectors and the general public. We have therefore continuously been searching for different alternatives and personally, as a web3 female entrepreneur, we support female artists too. It just matched in the way that we chose a male artist but the story was about a female character. We will always try to show the art in a different way but also make it safe, secure and exclusive. Our aim is not just to sell the artwork as soon as possible, but to exhibit the art, show and share what we are doing with the public. Most of our artworks are also in art houses and different galleries in selected international exhibitions. One good news: Our collaboration will be exhibited in the World’s First Art NFT Biennial in Brussels till the end of February.
Karin Weigelt: The special thing about the artwork is that you can buy the NFT, and this comes directly with a huge wall print of this NFT which is secured by our technology – it’s a hybrid offering basically. This is how it really comes together. The wall print and the NFT as digital artwork of the artist and having the value of the NFT in the real world.
Marcel Grimm: It is great to see our Talents working together on great projects like this one. How did Web3 Talents help you in joining forces and why would you recommend others to participate?
Karin Weigelt: For me it was mainly interesting for the network – it’s great for people who aren’t in education anymore but also have real-life projects that they are working on. It’s also really flexible about how much time and effort you put into the program, how deep you want to dive into the program. The sessions really help to hear the opinions and research results of the other talents. Most importantly though, the network is incredible. Within a few weeks my whole network extended towards this DLT Technology bubble which helps to get to know people from different backgrounds working in this field and receive different insights into the industry. Our head of software development also participated in the NFT Talents program and she was beyond impressed and managed to acquire a good understanding of the background – as well as the whole thinking and spirit of web3 which is unique. You can really make out of the program as much as you like. I have now also applied to become a mentor for the NFT Talents program to stay involved in the community, give back and keep on track with current developments.
Anil Altas Brug: I wasn’t in the program when Karin was already, yet we were still part of the same community, which is the great thing about Web3 Talents. Of course I asked myself how this program would fit into my schedule considering my business and private life, but then Karin encouraged me to apply for the program, so I did. DLT Talents is so enriching for my career, it’s really the best thing I’ve done for my career in 2022. The global network you can create by participating in the Web3 Talents programs, consisting of entreprenuers, technologists, regulators and more is really valuable. I attended the New Block Expo in Berlin in November and after the first day I knew almost 30% of the people at the conference, which was incredible.That is the magic of Web3 Talents. The most important thing is that you really feel safe and accessible in this amazing community. Just after completing the DLT Talents program, I started with NFT Talents for a new challenge in my career.