making waves

Hot Houston summer spot plans to sell NFT membership

Each NFT pass to Lago Mar Crystal Lagoon is available for $170 to $210. Rendering courtesy of Land Tejas

One of the most hyped — and most baffling — tech innovations on the planet is making waves in Texas City.

The Lago Mar Crystal Lagoon waterpark says it’s now selling season passes based on NFT technology. NFT stands for non-fungible token.

“At a basic level, an NFT is a digital asset that links ownership to unique physical or digital items, such as works of art, real estate, music, or videos,” the Insider website explains. “NFTs can be considered modern-day collectibles. They’re bought and sold online, and represent a digital proof of ownership of any given item. NFTs are securely recorded on a blockchain — the same technology behind cryptocurrencies — which ensures the asset is one-of-a-kind.”

The Lago Mar lagoon, a 12-acre waterpark that opened in 2020, says its NFT-based season pass may be the first anywhere to enable admission into an attraction. The park’s traditional and NFT season passes provide unlimited access to the lagoon, which hosts annual events like Lagoonfest Texas. The lagoon anchors a planned 100-acre, mixed-use entertainment district.

Uri Man, CEO of The Lagoon Development Co., which developed the Lago Mar venue, says the NFT pass offers perks that a regular pass doesn’t. For example, the NFT pass lets you enjoy special activities at the state’s largest crystal lagoon, such as setting sail with a professional captain or going kayaking.

“This payment option is buzzing around the event and attractions community, with entertainment and crypto experts theorizing how places like Disney World might be able to offer NFT entry and experiences,” Man says in a news release. “We’re not just talking about it, though — we’re doing it, and we are the first in the world, as far as I know.”

Each NFT pass is available for $170 to $210. Passes can be purchased with several types of cryptocurrency.

The Lago Mar lagoon’s NFT partner is OpenSea, an NFT marketplace. OpenSea’s investors include Dallas Mavericks owner and Shark Tank investor Mark Cuban, Austin entrepreneur and author Tim Ferriss, and NBA star and former University of Texas basketball standout Kevin Durant.

It's possible that NFT passes someday could pop up at Lagoon Development’s other waterparks. It already operates a crystal lagoon in Humble, is building another one in Iowa Colony, and expects to break ground soon on lagoons in Cypress, Katy, and Splendora.

To say that NFTs are exploding in popularity in the Houston area and elsewhere is a massive understatement. One study shows NFT sales hit $17.7 billion in 2021, up from $82.5 million in 2020, according to the Axios news website. Investment bank Jefferies predicts the value of the global NFT market will exceed $35 billion in 2022 and $80 billion in 2025, the CoinDesk news website reports.

The Texas City lagoon is just one of many businesses being captivated by the growing allure of NFTs. For instance, speculation continues to swirl that Disney’s theme parks will eventually adopt NFT season passes.

Furthermore, the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks may turn to NFTs for ticketing, and Southern California’s annual Coachella music festival is selling lifetime passes as NFTs.

“NFT tickets have the ability to not only take ticketing technology to the next level, but to also enable direct relationships between the seller and the buyer, and the performer and the fan — creating a connection that begins as soon as the NFT ticket is purchased, and continuing long after the event has ended,” the Better Marketing blog points out.

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Building Houston

 
 

This week's roundup of Houston innovators includes Hannah Le of RE.STATEMENT, Misha Govshteyn of MacroFab, and Kelli Newman of Newman & Newman Inc. Photos courtesy

Editor's note: In this week's roundup of Houston innovators to know, I'm introducing you to three local innovators across industries — from sustainable fashion to tech manufacturing — recently making headlines in Houston innovation.

Hannah Le, founder of RE.STATEMENT

Hannah Le founded RE.STATEMENT to provide a much-needed platform for sustainable fashion finds. Photo courtesy of RE.STATEMENT

It's tough out there for a sustainable fashion designer with upcycled statement pieces on the market. First of all, there historically hasn't been a platform for designers or shoppers either, as Hannah Le explains on this week's episode of the Houston Innovators Podcast.

"Most designers give up if they haven't sold an item within three months," Le says. "That's something RE.STATEMENT has dedicated its business model to — making sure that items sell faster and at a higher value than any other marketplace."

RE.STATEMENT won one of the city of Houston's startup competition, Liftoff Houston's categories last year. Le shares what's next for the early-stage company on the show. Read more and listen to the episode.

Misha Govshteyn, CEO of MacroFab

MacroFab has secured fresh investment to the tune of $42 million. Photo courtesy of MacroFab

MacroFab, a Houston-based electronics manufacturing platform, has announced $42 million in new growth capital. The company was founded by Misha Govshteyn and Chris Church, who built a platform that manage electronics manufacturing and enables real-time supply chain and inventory data. The platform can help customers go from prototype to high-scale production with its network of more than 100 factories across the continent.

“Electronics manufacturing is moving toward resilience and flexibility to reduce supply chain disruptions,” says Govshteyn, MacroFab’s CEO, in a news release. “We are in the earliest stages of repositioning the supply chain to be more localized and focused on what matters to customers most — the ability to deliver products on time, meet changing requirements, and achieve a more sustainable ecological footprint. MacroFab is fundamental to building this new operating model.”

The company has seen significant growth amid the evolution of global supply chain that's taken place over the past few years. According to the company, shipments were up 275 percent year-over-year. To keep up with growth, MacroFab doubled its workforce, per the release, and opened a new facility in Mexico. Read more.

Kelli Newman, president of Newman & Newman Inc.

In her guest column, Kelli Newman explains how to leverage communications at any stage your company is in. Photo courtesy of Newman & Newman

Kelli Newman took actionable recommendations from investors, customers, advisers, and founders within Houston to compose a guest column with key observations and advice on leveraging communications.

"The significance of effective communication and its contribution to a company’s success are points regularly stressed by conference panelists and forum speakers," she writes. "Yet for many founders it’s advice that fuels frustration for how to make communications a priority with a lack of understanding of the practice." Read more.

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