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Nadja Bester and Jason Fernandez

Nadja Bester and Jason Fernandes: Web3 Titans

Leading Engage to Earn and Proof of Attention investment worldwide!

“AdLunam emerged from a shared vision to democratize the Web3 investment landscape for founders and retail investors,” says Nadja Bester, cofounder of AdLunam Inc., along with Jason Fernandes and Lawrence Hutson (CTO). As veteran Web3 professionals, they aim to foster intelligent cooperation between project creators and investors for mass cryptocurrency adoption.

AdLunam operates as a Web3 investment ecosystem, collaborating with early-stage teams for institutional and retail funding. Their Engage to Earn social investment platform incorporates Web2/Web3 media, decentralized identity, NFTs, and gamified access, enabling democratized retail investor opportunities.

Their Zero2IDO accelerator offers founders comprehensive support, including expert advisory, tokenomics design, pitch deck strategies, marketing, and a custom GPT for fundraising and IDO launch. Startups reaching VC readiness are connected to AdLunam’s partner network of VCs, launchpads, exchanges, market makers, and ecosystem partners.

“Being investors ourselves, we wanted to give the crypto community the opportunity to monetize their investment involvement,” says Jason Fernandes. With 80+ years of professional experience between the founders, including 19 exclusively in blockchain, AdLunam is driven to support other visionary founders through their entrepreneurial.

Let us learn more about their journey:

The Power of Community

AdLunam functions as a Web3 investment ecosystem, working with early-stage founding teams to secure both institutional and retail funding. Their product suite reflects their dedication to democratizing Web3 investment.

Their platform, the Web3 industry’s first Engage to Earn social investment platform, integrates Web2 and Web3 social media, Proof of Attention-driven decentralized identity (DID), non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and gamified investment access. This setup allows for democratized retail investor access to investment circles and community-gated early-stage investment opportunities.

Their Zero2IDO accelerator program provides comprehensive support to founders, including assistance from their expert advisory board, tokenomics design, pitch deck, strategy support, marketing, and growth strategy development, and execution strategies. Founders can also leverage their Zero2IDO custom GPT to aid in their fundraising efforts and go-to-market IDO launch.

Once startups in their portfolio reach VC readiness, they are connected to AdLunam’s extensive partner network, comprising venture capital firms, IDO launchpads, centralized and decentralized exchanges, market makers, and other key ecosystem partners.

As investors themselves, their aim was to create a platform that would allow the crypto community to monetize their attention and involvement in the investment space. Their driving force was to bridge visionary founders with the necessary support and resources, motivated by the challenges they had faced in their own entrepreneurial journeys within and beyond Web3.

Global Team Driving Middle East Innovation

AdLunam’s unique position in the Middle East stems from its global team’s extensive cross-industry international experience. With the three co-founders, including Lawrence Hutson, the CTO who co-founded Travelocity, the world’s first travel booking website acquired by Expedia in the 1990s, the team has lived and worked across the globe.

Dubai serves as the perfect central location for AdLunam to engage with its collective network of partners and clients. Recently, the company hosted an event at ftNFT Gallery in Dubai Mall for one of AdLunam’s podcasts, “The Future of NFTs,” which Nadja hosts, with a book launch to follow. The premier global Web3 event, TOKEN2049, had its inaugural launch in Dubai, indicating Dubai’s leading presence in the Web3 industry. For AdLunam, it’s evident that the Middle East will continue to be a market in which they remain actively involved.

AdLunam established one of its bases in the Middle East and registered there a couple of years ago. The company deeply appreciates the UAE’s, particularly Dubai’s, warm reception of FinTech entrepreneurs and its proactive stance in adopting blockchain technology.

From $1 Million to Global Recognition

A major pivotal moment in AdLunam’s growth occurred when they successfully raised $1 million in funding within just 24 hours. This impressive achievement was followed by a private raise totaling $2 million over the next 5 days. The rapid influx of investment demonstrated the strong faith that both investors and the community had in the company.

As AdLunam continued to expand, they garnered several industry recognitions, reflecting the hard work and dedication of their global, remote-first team. Throughout 2023, they received numerous awards, including the ‘BOLDEST Crowdfunding Platform’ and ‘Boldest Blockchain & NFTs’ at the BOLD Awards in Venice, ‘Excellence in Innovation Crypto/NFT’ at the Times Business Awards in Mumbai, and Money 2.0’s Outstanding Leadership Award in Dubai, among others. They were also nominated for ‘Best Real World Application’ at the AIBC World Awards 2024.

Building an inclusive, remote-first team spanning five continents has been pivotal to AdLunam’s success. With a diverse and highly effective team operating globally, from Miami to Manila, they have been able to leverage a wide range of perspectives and talents.

AdLunam’s podcasts, ‘The Future of NFTs’ and ‘Diving into Crypto’, have also played a significant role in their growth. With over 10,000 weekly live listeners from 53 countries, particularly North America, Asia, and Europe, these podcasts serve as a valuable source of real-time thought leadership content, enriching the broader industry knowledge pool.

Democratizing Access to Web3

AdLunam is poised to revolutionize the Web3 investment landscape, extending its innovative fintech influence to the markets of the Middle East.

As a company and as individual team members, AdLunam staunchly believes in the transformative potential of blockchain technologies, foreseeing their role in bringing society’s most groundbreaking ideas to fruition. Unlike traditional finance, Web3 investment operates under distinct cultural norms inherent to decentralized models, fostering an environment of trust that diverges from conventional fundraising methods.

Despite the challenges posed by the prolonged 2021–2023 global bear market, AdLunam experienced significant growth due to its market-agnostic approach, prioritizing innovation while safeguarding the interests of retail investors. The company has established itself as a trusted brand by consistently enriching the Web ecosystem through educational initiatives like “The Future of NFTs,” “Diving into Crypto,” “Web3 Pitch Arena,” and “Web3 Startup School.” Additionally, AdLunam has emerged as a leading advocate for ethical practices within Web3, exemplified by its #keepcryptoclean movement.

Central to AdLunam’s ethos is the pursuit of a win-win scenario for both projects and investors. Their Engage to Earn SocialFi platform and Proof of Attention Chrome extension foster a symbiotic relationship between early-stage startups and the investment community, driving mutual value creation and industry advancement.

In tandem with these efforts, AdLunam launched an accelerator program designed to provide startups with a comprehensive ecosystem for successful launch. Through this initiative, startups are connected with advisors and investors, facilitating funding from Zero2IDO. AdLunam’s overarching vision is to cultivate a resilient and sustainable ecosystem where startups not only survive but thrive, contributing to economic diversification. Furthermore, the company is committed to democratizing the investment landscape by ensuring fair access to pioneering technologies for retail investors.

Success Amid Market Volatility

During the last two years, the Web3 market faced significant challenges, enduring a prolonged bear market commonly referred to as “Crypto winter.” This period posed hurdles in securing funding for AdLunam’s portfolio companies, as venture capital activity waned, and retail investors displayed minimal investment appetite.

As founders, Nadja and Jason encountered the responsibility to generate profits for their investors, yet they found themselves in a challenging position as a business dedicated to funding other ventures. The decision to postpone the launch of the $LUNAM token, tied to their Engage to Earn platform, became imperative due to the hostile market conditions. Consequently, AdLunam transitioned from being a highly sought-after investment opportunity to grappling for relevance practically overnight.

Amid these adversities, AdLunam recognized the urgency to prove its worth and swiftly responded by dedicating the subsequent two years to fortifying its partnership network within the Web3 industry. The company made substantial investments in brand building, business development, and trust marketing initiatives. They actively engaged with the community through podcasts, keynote speeches, and conference participation on a global scale. Moreover, AdLunam demonstrated its commitment to thought leadership by producing over 100 episodes featuring founders and leaders in the Web3 space.

These efforts laid the groundwork for the successful launch of the Zero2IDO accelerator program in February. AdLunam persisted in enhancing its product suite, thereby solidifying its position as a comprehensive investment ecosystem capable of navigating the complexities of the market landscape.

Value of Conviction

Nadja reflects on the invaluable lessons learned from navigating the challenges within the Web3 industry, emphasizing resilience, adaptability, and the strength of the community. Through their journey, they discovered that obstacles can either dampen spirits or propel individuals to greater heights. They recognize that, in the face of uncertainty, the ability to harness challenges as fuel for pursuing ambitious visions is pivotal for entrepreneurial success.

AdLunam operates within a dynamic and intricate environment where challenges are inherent to the journey. Consequently, institutional investors prioritize founders who exhibit determination in the face of adversity, underscoring the importance of resilience in overcoming obstacles.

On the other hand, Jason highlights the significance of maintaining faith in one’s product or service during challenging times. Despite facing the crypto winter, the team’s steadfast belief in the value of their product, particularly its ability to empower retail investors, enabled them to persevere. This conviction served as a guiding force, instilling patience and confidence in the eventual success of their endeavor. Emerging from the adversity of the crypto winter, they emerged with a renewed sense of certainty that their product would indeed revolutionize the industry.

Supporting the Next Generation of Web3 Startups

Nadja outlines AdLunam’s future trajectory, positioning it as a leading hub for Web3 investments both regionally in the Middle East and globally. The team is enthusiastic about their innovative approach to integrating Web3 principles into Web2 social media platforms through initiatives like Engage to Earn and Proof of Attention. They are committed to expanding their Zero2IDO accelerator program to cater to a wider range of Web3 startups, aiming to introduce their groundbreaking concepts to a global audience.

Additionally, they anticipate the launch of their $LUNAM token, which will serve as the cornerstone of their Engage to Earn platform, enhancing value for their investment community. Ultimately, AdLunam is dedicated to advancing the Web3 landscape by promoting accessibility, transparency, and fairness for all participants while continuously enhancing the utility of their native token.

Jason underscores the current momentum and heightened interest surrounding AdLunam, signaling their imminent IDO launch on top exchanges. The company is also experiencing significant interest in projects enrolled in its accelerator program, with plans to support these startups by facilitating access to both institutional and retail funds. Moreover, AdLunam is actively diversifying into parallel ventures within media and investments, which complement their core business and contribute to the expansion of their broader investment ecosystem.

Promoting Ethical Financial Practices

Nadja underscores AdLunam’s contribution to the Middle East’s transformation into a dynamic center for digital innovation and financial growth, particularly highlighting the UAE’s emergence as a trailblazer in this regard. AdLunam is proud to play a role in fostering a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship within the Web3 space, supporting the region’s endeavor for economic diversification.

By facilitating connections between startups and global capital, AdLunam helps introduce new ideas and technologies to the market. The Middle East’s robust infrastructure enables AdLunam to host events from anywhere in the world, further solidifying its position as a key player in the region’s tech and finance sectors. AdLunam’s success in the Middle East reflects the region’s promising future as a global leader, and the company is excited to contribute to its ongoing transformation.

Jason emphasizes the compatibility of blockchain technology with the principles of Islamic finance prevalent in the Middle East, such as transparency and risk-sharing. AdLunam actively participates in the Dubai crypto conference scene, either as a speaker or sponsor for various events like TOKEN2049, CRYPTO 306, World Token Summit 2.0, and ABC Conclave.

Additionally, the company has organized live events in Dubai, including the launch of Altcoin. Observer, the media arm of AdLunam. Through these initiatives, AdLunam demonstrates its devotion to promoting ethical financial practices and fostering innovation within the Middle East’s burgeoning tech and finance landscape.

Transformative Potential of Decentralized Technologies

Nadja describes herself as an active participant in shaping the future of Web3, a domain she has been fully engaged in since 2017. She finds that her neurodivergent brain thrives in this industry, where she can capitalize on her strengths. Having experienced a diverse career trajectory, Nadja feels that the Web3 space allows her to continually grow and maximize her potential.

Her journey through entrepreneurship has been marked by curiosity, resilience, and a profound belief in the transformative potential of decentralized technologies. Nadja perceives challenges as opportunities for learning and development, relentlessly pursuing her vision for the future. As a leader, she prioritizes empathy, inclusivity, and empowerment, striving to enable those around her to achieve their full potential. Building AdLunam and fostering a strong team and community around it is a source of great fulfillment for her.

Jason is characterized by his deep dive into subjects of interest, supported by extensive research and education. With a passion for technology and a comprehensive understanding of its history, patterns, and trends, he adeptly connects the dots between technological advancements and broader global phenomena.

His journey into cryptocurrency began in 2013, and since then, he has been deeply engaged in the field, demonstrating a zeal for continuous learning and growth. Jason approaches tasks with dedication, investing his blood, sweat, and tears to overcome any challenges that arise. He exudes confidence in his ability to navigate even the most daunting obstacles, reflecting his resilience and determination.

Approach to Balancing Work and Personal Life

Nadja acknowledges the inherent challenge of achieving a traditional work-life balance as a founder, recognizing that the startup becomes an integral part of one’s identity. However, she finds a positive aspect of the 24-hour responsibility by prioritizing her well-being, understanding that her health directly impacts the success of the company.

Nadja emphasizes the importance of self-care, believing that maintaining good health is essential for overall wealth. Despite the demanding nature of her work, Nadja credits the support of AdLunam’s dedicated team, enabling her to focus on strategic leadership while also nurturing her personal life.

Jason embraces the idea that separation between professional and personal life is impractical, especially in the crypto space where opportunities arise unpredictably. He values moments of rest and rejuvenation, finding solace in spending time with his cat, Gatsby. Jason perceives his primary responsibility as uniting talented individuals to tackle significant challenges with global impact. He expresses confidence in AdLunam’s exceptional team and anticipates the positive outcomes of their efforts, particularly in navigating the current bullish market.

A Call to Action for Entrepreneurs

Nadja’s motto/philosophy centers around the concept of “Innovate with purpose.” She believes that entrepreneurship should be driven by a clear purpose: to create a positive impact on society. For founders, it’s a sacred responsibility to leave the world better than they found it, fueled by world-changing ideas. Nadja emphasizes the importance of empowerment, viewing it as empathy in action.

Building an inclusive global community that collectively tackles challenges allows the business sector to make meaningful contributions to society and the natural world. Additionally, she highlights the significance of integrity in leadership, advocating for a culture of transparency, accountability, and trust to guide decision-making.

Jason’s philosophy revolves around being passionate and driven to create an impact and leave a legacy. He has been fascinated by technology since a young age, and his passion has led him into the world of Web3. Throughout his life, Jason has utilized technology to make the world a better place, from launching web portals to creating non-profit platforms. He believes that decentralized digital assets hold the potential to create a more equitable distribution of wealth, driving his passion and commitment to the industry.

Hereby ending the interview, thanking Nadja and Jason for their invaluable insights!