Women in Web3 Changemakers: Zoe Leavitt – NEAR Protocol

Women in Web3 Changemakers: Zoe Leavitt

NEAR Foundation
October 17, 2023

“Trust yourself. Believe in yourself. Having that trust and belief that if there’s something you really believe in, you can really take it forward,” says Zoe Leavitt, founder and CEO of Glass, the first web three platform purpose built for the $1.5 trillion alcohol industry.

Leavitt is one of the 10 finalists of the 2023 Women in Web3 Changemakers List, an annual competition designed to champion women pushing boundaries in the space. Leavitt, along with nine other outstanding candidates, are showing the industry the change women are bringing about during the advent of the Open Web. 

Watch an extended NEAR Foundation video interview with Zoe Leavitt below.

The potential of the Open Web 

For Leavitt however, the world of web3 wasn’t where she started out. Working at the venture capital arm of InBev, the world’s largest brewing company, she saw the billions being spent by brands like Budweiser, Michelob Ultra and Stella Artois spend billions on marketing. 

Events, sponsorships, billboards and more, all designed to reach people during crucial purchasing moments and celebratory occasions. But, says Leavitt, there were no real direct digital connections between alcohol brands and alcohol consumers. It was here she saw first hand how Web3 technology could disrupt the beverage industry as she knew it. 

“I really saw massive potential for this new technology to help bridge those gaps, to better connect consumers in that moment to their favourite drinks brands, and then enable folks to earn rewards for their brand engagement and get more value out of their drinks and social occasions.”

Historically brands were not permitted to form direct relationships. But through careful collaboration with regulators and blockchain technology, Glass has emerged as the world’s first regulatory compliant loyalty service for alcohol brands built on Web3. 

Just like you don’t need to know how to code to visit a website, you don’t need to understand web3 to use GLASS. When users sign up and create an account, a wallet is also generated, creating a secure way for users to accrue points and rewards with their favourite drinks brands. 

Neither GLASS nor the brands have access, but you can log in any time with your email address and password. No blockchain knowledge is required. What Leavitt discovered is that Web3 technologies offered a new way of thinking about ownership. 

In web3, you and your identity come first, rather than the platform. In other words, when you earn points those points belong to you, not to GLASS or the brands. Because you own your own points, you can take them with you to access a range of redemption opportunities across sports, music, entertainment, dining, and more.Beverages can enhance social occasions, anywhere, any time. Now, your points and rewards can, as well.

Unlocking the Open Web 

In a little over a year, Glass has already started working with big brands like Hotaling & Co and Lobos Tequila, a high-end spirit brand backed by LeBron James and Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

While helping the alcohol industry make the switch to Web3 technologies has been challenging, Leavitt has had her own challenges too. “While there are of course the technical challenges, there still is the issue of how to communicate this to the average consumer?”

For Leavitt, it was all about focusing on what matters: the customer. Bringing her unique skill set to Web3 brought with it a belief that until you’ve found a compelling reason for someone to try something new, it’s back to the drawing board. 

“The consumer doesn’t even need to care if this is on web three or not,” says Leavitt. On the Glass website, the technology that powers this disruptive company sits in the background. It’s all about how this improves and enhances the experience for customers. This focus on the end user, is something she feels women can and do bring to the Open Web table. 

“I feel like with the influx of certainly women, but also the next generation of web three founders, we’re seeing a lot more folks come from other industries and identified this real need that crypto can now solve. Women really have this opportunity to bring these new perspectives and bring these web three tools into a wider range of use cases and industries.” 

Does she have any advice for women thinking about getting into this space? 

“Everything doesn’t have to be perfect when you first launch, it’s really about being obsessed with that consumer problem, that industry problem. You have the skills, you have the industry insight, take the plunge.”

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