How Ostrich crowdfunded their startup with the help of Paper

How Ostrich crowdfunded their startup with the help of Paper

When financial habit building app, Ostrich, decided to use NFTs to crowdfund their startup they turned to Paper to make the payments process as easy as possible for anyone to invest in their vision.

Ostrich's use of NFTs to build community and crowdfund

Let's start with some basics. NFTs are non-fungible tokens which are digital assets that are verified on the blockchain. NFTs have made an appearance in many different verticals such as fine art, music, gaming, and fashion, with each NFT project typically centered around a community of individuals with a shared interest or curiosity.

Ostrich is a New York-based startup that has developed a financial habit building app for college students who need to build a strong financial foundation in order to live a better life than their parents. Now you may be wondering, what is a FinTech startup doing with NFTs? With the use cases of NFTs expanding rapidly, its no surprise that companies outside of web3 are starting to find new ways to incorporate NFTs into their business (over the past year alone we have seen this with companies such as Starbucks, Nike, Tiffany & Co., and much more).

For Ostrich, creating their NFT collection, "Ostrich Startup Rookie Card" was a way for them to cultivate a tighter knit community of supporters and users of their app while also raising funds to help propel the company forward.

As COO & Co-founder of Ostrich, Andrew Holliday, put it:

"At Ostrich, our entire business is built around the idea of community. The NFT projects that we as individuals had seen have success, such as VeeFriends and Illuminati, did well because of the community they were able to foster. As a result, we saw web3 and NFTs as a natural fit for our business, if we were able to find the right angle, which we settled on as crowdfunding."

Ostrich's Startup Rookie Cards promised to provide the following benefits:

  • Ostrich NFT Rookie Card
  • Physical Ostrich Rookie Card
  • Ledger Hardware Wallet
  • Early access to new features on the Ostrich App
  • Access to monthly office hours with the Ostrich founders (initial 12 months)
  • Bragging rights with irrefutable proof you were an OG supporter of Ostrich
  • Future surprises

Crowdfunding using NFTs can be tricky when your users aren't crypto-savvy

Although using NFTs to crowdfund and build up your community of early supporters sounds like a promising idea, there are clear challenges when it comes to ensuring those who support your project or startup are able to purchase your NFTs easily. With Ostrich being a web2 startup, most of their early supporters are non-crypto natives meaning that the process of setting up a crypto wallet, buying and transferring crypto, and using bridges can be daunting.

This is why Ostrich turned to Paper to ensure that the process of buying Ostrich Rookie Card NFTs was even easier than what you might experience on a regular e-commerce site.

"One of our guiding principles as a company is to make financial information and success feel more accessible to our community. With this in mind, we saw an opportunity through working with Paper to provide non-crypto natives an on-ramp to web3, with a use case that they might find easier to understand in crowdfunding.

The challenge we’ve had to overcome is getting past the media’s portrayal of NFTs as purely speculative, scary, and scammy things to what they truly are which is simply a new technology. Technology in and of itself isn't valuable nor scary it all depends on how the technology is used."

- William Glass, CEO & Co-founder of Ostrich

Creating an accessible checkout flow with Paper

Ostrich used Paper's Checkout Links with the thirdweb NFT Drop contract to get set up with virtually no-code. This made it easy for Ostrich to set up a seamless checkout experience that would allow buyers to purchase NFTs using their credit card.

[Using Paper] was ridiculously easy to the point where I thought I was doing it wrong. I’ve never had an easier payment setup process including using the big names like PayPal, Shopify, and Stripe. I literally copied our contract address, pasted it into our Paper checkout for the Ostrich Rookie Card, and it worked. That simple.

I also appreciated the ability to test on the testnets, which made me feel confident before we launched the production version of the NFT.

- William Glass, CEO & Co-founder of Ostrich

With the help of Paper's Dashboard, Ostrich's NFT checkout now allows anyone the ability to purchase an NFT with just a few clicks. For users without a crypto wallet, they can select "Create a wallet for me" to generate their first-ever wallet using only their email. From there, all users need to do is enter their credit card information, providing a simple and familiar experience.

Ostrich's runway was extended by several months with the help of Paper

After launching the Startup Rookie Card with the use of Paper, Ostrich was able to quickly raise and receive capital through their NFT sales, something that would not have been possible through traditional crowdfunding. Being able to provide a credit card checkout for their NFTs helped 62% of Ostrich's NFT buyers purchase their first NFT and of those buyers, 85% used a Paper Wallet generated during checkout.

"Our hope is that Ostrich acts as a guinea pig with the Ostrich Rookie Card, and demonstrates to other startups that this is a huge opportunity to put crowdfunding power back in the hands of founders, not the companies facilitating the crowdfund. We would love to speak to other founders about our experience using Paper to make that happen, and how they might implement a similar partnership."

- William Glass, CEO & Co-founder of Ostrich

Closing notes

At Paper we are excited to continue working with brands and builders in web2 and web3 who leverage NFTs in new and creative ways. Ostrich is one example of a company in web2 that is utilizing web3 technology to further engage and bring value to their early supporters.

What is Paper?

Paper builds NFT on-ramping infrastructure to help developers and brands bridge web2 and web3. Paper enables email-based wallet creation, NFT purchases with credit cards, & gasless transactions for non-crypto native users. To date, Paper has worked with over 2500+ developers and brands and has processed over 220,000 credit card and cross-chain crypto NFT transactions.

If you are a web2 or web3 platform, game, agency, or brand looking to make NFT-buying simpler, learn more about Paper at https://paper.xyz/, follow us on Twitter, or join our Discord community!