Atlanta CEO

CxO Spotlight: Christopher Klaus CEO, Kaneva

 

Christopher Klaus, CEO Kaneva

Christopher Klaus, CEO Kaneva

kanevaInterview with Christopher Klaus

1. It’s easy to see the fun aspects of Kaneva. Can you explain a little about your company’s business model?

Essentially, we are building a new online world populated by people and businesses that want to, and can benefit from, interacting with each other.

We see two major revenue sources. The first, and most evident, is the community itself. Online Kaneva residents can choose to make microtransactions where they buy virtual goods. They buy credits and then walk around the world and purchase items like virtual outfits, expansions for their homes and electronics. They can also customize their avatar and decorate their homes with new furniture or designs. With more than one million currently registered members, microtransactions represent a major opportunity while making the experience much more customized and enjoyable for our users.

The second opportunity is through a licensing program. We offer a powerful virtual world platform to companies looking for unique ways to market their businesses and create their own 3D experience or virtual world. We are currently in closed beta testing with several partners and will be opening up our beta later this year. This technology will enable third parties to build unique, brand-focused experiences similar to ours.

We see this model being of particular value to entertainment companies, since we can easily integrate media such as music or video. Additionally, any consumer brand or packaged goods company will find this to be a great way to market their products, both virtual and real. We also see long-term opportunities with companies looking for unique ways to provide training and education. Right now, however, our core focus is on entertainment and consumer brands.

2. What do you see as the primary growth opportunities for companies building new virtual worlds like Kaneva?

There are a lot of reasons why Atlanta is perfect for a company like Kaneva. The biggest is the local higher education system. The local colleges and universities are tremendous resources for both employees and potential users of virtual worlds. Game designers, 3D artists, and other creative technology-oriented graduates are all very important to our business model and the continued growth of these communities.

The second reason is the state government. Georgia has the best tax incentives in the country for companies working in the digital entertainment industry, especially when it comes to videogames.

Finally, there is a very healthy community of digital entertainment entrepreneurs in this region, again with an emphasis on videogames. Young people with unique and creative ideas can usually find the start-up funding they need to become successful here.

3. Why is Atlanta an ideal location for Kaneva and similar companies?

There are a lot of reasons why Atlanta is perfect for a company like Kaneva. The biggest is the local higher education system. The local colleges and universities are tremendous resources for both employees and potential users of virtual worlds. Game designers, 3D artists, and other creative technology-oriented graduates are all very important to our business model and the continued growth of these communities.

The second reason is the state government. Georgia has the best tax incentives in the country for companies working in the digital entertainment industry, especially when it comes to videogames.

Finally, there is a very healthy community of digital entertainment entrepreneurs in this region, again with an emphasis on videogames. Young people with unique and creative ideas can usually find the start-up funding they need to become successful here.

4. What advice would you give someone looking to build a business model or support a brand through a virtual world?

First, don’t reinvent the wheel. While it is still innovative, this is not a new industry. Newcomers can easily license the tested and proven platforms they need from companies like Kaneva to build unique experiences.

Second, we encourage people to look at the casual gaming experience. Videogames aren’t just for hardcore players anymore. Casual games that appeal to the entire family are extremely marketable – just look at the Nintendo Wii – and fit well with the virtual world experience.

Finally, they should consider the scope of the project and try to take on smaller projects at first. The best way to make sure you can do this is to develop a detailed business plan and stick to it.

5. What do you personally enjoy about living in Atlanta? Do you have any hobbies or special interests?

Atlanta is a great place to live in that you can mix city life with the relaxation of the nearby mountains. Additionally, the major sporting teams and rich music heritage provide diverse entertainment opportunities.

I enjoy playing racquetball and I love playing videogames with my two kids. I use them as my informal beta testers for new digital entertainment and games.