It’s been a monumental and insightful year for all at LIFE HQ. And it was memorable for other reasons, including two UK royal weddings, the long-awaited “Incredibles” sequel and France winning the World Cup – to the utter dismay of the English team contingent here at LIFE who thought it was coming home! It was also an innovative year in the blockchain technology and crypto space…
…so, what have the LIFE team been up to? Well here goes:
With LIFE still less than a year old and a newly created team building and settling in, there was plenty of strategic planning to focus on and execute. David Pugh-Jones joined as CMO to help promote the brand and our existing and newly launched product family. David has more than 25 years of experience in branded content, advertising and marketing, having worked for world-renowned brands Microsoft and BuzzFeed. We needed that high-quality level of marketing exposure to get the word out about LIFE and the unique proposition it offers.
We also brought in as an adviser Sam Volkering, a freelance cryptocurrency journalist, blogger, ‘guru’ and avid supporter of our cause. He’s specifically supported the LIFE story by writing crypto trending articles posted on our news blog and across our key social media platforms.
In the meantime, we were having a conversation with representatives from Fuudel, who are a leading global marketplace for online food delivery, providing customers with an easy and secure way to order and pay for food from our restaurant partners, to discuss a long-term rewards partnership. We now are proud to have a strong and inspirational alliance with the company.
February was another month of growth and two newcomers joined the growing ranks. First, Luke Chittock came on board as CEO. A passionate and tech-savvy leader with 18 years technology experience across the private and public sector, he was and is the ideal person to pull together a team of like-minded individuals to strengthen and grow the business. Those of you who follow LIFE will know that Luke often gets involved in projects and regularly interacts with our passionate community.
Next was Anwar, a community member turned fully-fledged LIFE employee. Anwar was a part of the community from the beginning and developed a strong relationship with our founders. His background made him the prime candidate to take on the role of managing the community, engaging in conversations, moderating FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) and communicating important company announcements and information directly from the leadership team.
In February we also hosted our first ever online Q&A with Luke, where he went live on Facebook video to interact with questioners from the community. It was a vital event that enabled the company to embrace and explore community feedback and insights in mapping potential programs.
Another key development was the decision to join the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance. This is a member-driven organisation to connect Fortune 500 global brand enterprises, start-ups, academics, and technology vendors with Ethereum experts. This was important because it enabled us to network with like-minded businesses.
The team continued to grow throughout March with three important additions:
Nikki joined as Head of Operations, to guide and support the day-to-day workings of the office. Nikki has gained a wealth of experience in HR and operations, having worked in a variety of business environments throughout her career.
Tun became our Lead Developer, specialising in Cryptography and Blockchain Technology. His work has been essential in ensuring the functionality of the LIFE projects and he has a refreshing breadth of expertise and knowledge. Tun’s previous experience in the development, research and education sectors made him the perfect addition to the LIFE family.
Julian as UX/UI designer, bringing with him invaluable experience of website design. Jules’ work with us has involved a range of projects, from launching our new website in April to all of our LIFE branded content, as well as some of our press publication spreads (which we are quite proud of, if we do say so ourselves!).
During this month we also developed our partnership with Woodchuck USA, a Minneapolis based company, who create beautiful wooden products with a “buy one, plant one” policy, i.e. buy a product and they will thank you by planting a tree on your behalf. Their products come with a unique code that you can use on their website to find out about your tree and which continent it will be planted. This was an important relationship for us, as Woodchuck reflect our values as a company and have a passionate team focussed on long term sustainability.
This was a hectic month for all teams with our first big event sponsorship, another new addition, a new partner and the launching of our new website. It was all hands-on deck for every member of the team – and we manged to pull it off!
Let’s start with the Hidden Hills, Hootenanny. The introduction was made by one of our trusted friends and advisers who had a relationship with the organising committee. The sponsorship was agreed. Aligning with our mission statement, the proceeds of the entire event went towards supporting the LA Heart Foundation. The LIFE logo was peppered across the beautiful location and the event team members made their way out to L.A., along with our founders. Throughout the event, we met some inspirational and intriguing characters whom we have continued to develop long-standing and important relationships with.
During our venture in L.A., we also met our friend Andre Miripolsky, an American artist who creates fun and extraordinary works of art. We also managed to get our very own branded Miripolsky painting, by closed auction bidding for the piece we commissioned him to paint! the work now features on the wall of the LIFE HQ boardroom. We know our efforts to raise funds and support the aligned charity will make a huge difference to future programs.
In April we were also officially joined by our Technical Operations Executive, Simon. He had been involved in the LIFE project from the very early days, but until this point was employed on an ad hoc basis. Simon has a passion for all things tech orientated.
While the rest of the team were busy with Hidden Hills, the development team were building our brand-new website. We had a very short deadline to get this live, but the team put their heads together and we couldn’t have been happier with the result. Back at HQ, we were also hard at work with the updated release of our revised roadmap. This was designed to inform our community, friends and adopters of our goals over the coming months and years.
Yet another busy month in which we joined our newly signed brand-ambassador and European Tour Professional, Scott Jamieson, as he competed in the Golf Sixes tournament in the UK. We agreed on a partnership with the European Tour and sponsored the event. This was the first time globally that a blockchain tech and cryptocurrency company had aligned with a major golfing event.
One of the biggest moments of the year for us in the UK was, of course, the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Their relationship had been in the spotlight and they were clearly the couple everyone loved to see. As a kind gesture, the couple asked for their wedding guests to make donations to selected charities as opposed to the traditional gift. LIFE got involved and made donations via our ring-fenced LIFEtoken supply, to each of the six royal wedding charities, with some of which we continue to have an ongoing relationship.
Two new people joined the ‘Dev’ team in May. Sanjay, our CTO, brought with him almost 20 years of experience in the ‘DevOps’ sector. He also demonstrated essential leadership skills to support the development team whose work sits at the heart of everything we do. Alvaro, a career full stack developer with extensive experience in start-ups, was another fantastic addition to the team.
In early May we released our first promotional animation video, which represents our company values and our mission. The animation even included the recognisable voice of our new-found friend and Actor, Colin Salmon.
Finally, in May, we welcomed two new major adopters of the LIFEtoken with Lemonstorm, an e-commerce solutions company who create white labelled licensed fulfilment experiences for brands and Senditoo, a company whose technology enables you to send mobile credit to any phone worldwide, cost effectively and securely.
We kicked off June by becoming the first cryptocurrency to sponsor a non-league Football team, Hythe Town FC. They are a club local to us that has some excellent players and a big following in the local community. As club sponsors, we attended the first friendly game of the season, where we captured the players, fans and behind the scenes with our on-site photographer.
We were also represented by our CEO & CMO at a prestigious international marketing event, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Cleverly securing space for our company animation video that drew they eyes of all 16,000+ attendees and holidaying tourists, with our video content being played on the largest digital outdoor advertising billboard in the south of France.
Joining us at our first Hythe Town FC game was our newest recruit, Cara, our Social Media & Content Manager. At the time she still had another week before joining the LIFE team full-time, but it was a great opportunity for her to meet the team. Cara joined us from a marketing agency, where she specialised in social ads. Cara now is involved in the strategic development of our social media, blog & website.
Throughout the month the team worked hard to update our revised ‘Whitepaper’. This was developed to inform our community, partners, adopters and friends of our products, the company and our vision for the future.
We ventured to Scotland to join our golfing brand ambassador, Scott, teaming up with the Winning Scotland Foundation to teach children from the local community confidence, advise and golfing techniques. It was a heart-warming experience with a short film made for our fans to enjoy.
In July we also had LIFEtoken listed on a new exchange: CoinSwitch, the largest cryptocurrency exchange which has a mission to simplify crypto trading. We felt this coincided well with our strapline and mantra “Simply for Everyone”.
Lastly, we built some of the most valuable and game-changing partnerships we could have hoped for with three new charity partners: Chain of Hope, with whom we have a special relationship after seeing their lifesaving work first hand when we documented it in September; Caudwell, a charity whose values we hold close to our hearts due to their work with children on the autistic spectrum; and The Royal Marsden, who we began talking to after making a donation to it as a royal wedding charity.
In August our CEO (Luke) and CMO (David) went up to visit Caudwell Children and explore their brand-new state-of-the-art Caudwell International Children’s Centre (CICC), a building that would be Britain’s first independent centre dedicated to autism diagnosis, therapy and research, aiming to revolutionise the way millions of people in the UK who are affected by the condition, can be helped. The building promises to lead the way in multi-disciplinary assessments, family support services and research into a wide range of autism interventions. All purpose-built with autistic people in mind. The building has state-of-the-art facilities and built-in sensory rooms. LIFE created a number of short films which tell the story of the charity and our ongoing support and partnership, including a tour of the building inside and out. Some stunning drone footage captures the full magnitude of the architectural phenomenon.
While Luke & David were working with Caudwell, the ‘dev’ team were busy building our Apple iOS mobile application ready for release at the end of the month. The app is primarily a wallet in which you can store your LIFE, BTC and ETH. It boasts features that provide added security, facial recognition and market price information.
After some incredible work by the company’s founders and leadership team we finally secured our registered trademark as a FinTech company. We couldn’t be prouder to sport our logo with the little ® in the corner. There can only be one LIFE in FinTech!
Throughout September we had various pitch side advertising slots with 3D LIFE branded content during televised international football & rugby games in the UK. Our community were tweeting us whenever they spotted our logo on their TV during a game. It was a surreal feeling to see our branding up in lights on the TV with people all over the world watching.
Another milestone: was when we received our official blue tick from Twitter. The team spent a long time working towards this. It was important to help our fans differentiate us from fake/fan accounts as well as giving us the hard-earned online credibility we deserved as a credible and authentic brand.
Towards the end of the month, we had an exciting and heart-wrenching trip to Amman, Jordan, for Luke & David. They joined and supported the charity, Chain of Hope, Rileys Children’s Hospital, Rotary Club International and Gift of Life Amman (GOLA) on a mission to save as many children’s lives as possible. The week began with the heart surgery team having to assess and make the difficult decision of which cases were most pressing. It ended with 13 refugee children from Iraq, Syria and Palestine, all who arrived very poorly with heart defects, subsequently having their hearts repaired and their lives saved. LIFE’s part in this mission was to document the work of these charities. We did so by working with an incredible film director and documentary maker, Moe Najati, to produce a 7 minute film about the mission and the difference the charity makes.
We ended September on the best possible note by releasing our Android LIFEwallet app. After months of hard work from the ‘Dev’ team and internal and external beta testers, the app was ready to roll. The community filled our online channels with positive feedback, sentiments and messages of congratulations.
In October we were very busy with a major golf event sponsorship, the European Tour’s, SkySports British Masters, held in Surrey, England. Preparation for the event was intense, with support required from all internal teams and support partners. Ahead of the event, we ensured we had plenty of merchandise to give to passers-by to get our name out there. We also created branded content for the on-site programme to illustrate who we are, as well as business cards with a QR code to the drive app downloads on the back.
On the first day of the tournament, we experienced an incredible moment where professional golfer, Eddie Pepperell achieved a hole-in-one on our charity sponsored hole. As part of our sponsorship, we created a competition on the 9th hole: the first player to get a hole-in-one would win £10,000 for themselves, converted into pounds sterling from LIFEtokens along with £5,000 for the charity Cancer Research Kids & Teens and a further £5,000 for the European Tour Foundation supporting a local charity. It was a phenomenal moment in the world of golf and the highlight was televised by SkySports throughout the rest of the event. The exposure for LIFE during this event reached levels we could never have anticipated, and we couldn’t be happier with the awareness and outcome. Thanks Eddie!
Across the five days of the event, we had a stand in the “Championship Village” alongside other sponsors. It was great to see the LIFE branding alongside the likes of Ladbrokes, Cancer Research UK and Canon. We had the LIFE team and events staff running the stand, talking to attendees of the event about our mission and running a competition for people to win £500 worth of LIFEtokens. Our stand was designed to be interactive and informative to tell the story of LIFE so far.
We attended some incredible events and met inspirational people with whom we hope to develop working relationships in 2019. We began the month with a venture over to Malta, where our CEO (Luke) and CTO (Sanjay) attended the Malta Blockchain Summit. It was incredible to see some of the most influential people in the industry under one roof. They attended some thought-provoking talks and met some fascinating people from the world of blockchain and crypto.
We sponsored the Medlock Krieger Rock & Roll Golf Classic event in California, an incredible event supporting the charity, St Judes Children’s Hospital. It consisted of a golf tournament and an all-star rock music concert. There were familiar faces in the line-up this year, including, Robbie Krieger, Jack Black. Feedback showed that that our sponsorship went down a treat and we are delighted to be involved in supporting such an important US based charity.
Speaking of charities, in November we attended an exquisite event hosted by one of our charity partners, Chain of Hope. Its gala ball was held in a breath-taking London venue with wonderful food and live entertainment from American-Senegalese singer, songwriter, record producer, entrepreneur, philanthropist and actor, Akon. The evening was an important event for the LIFE team. It was a way for us to show support for one of the charities that we hold very close to our hearts, especially after having experienced the work they do first hand during our trip with them to Jordan.
We also sponsored and attended The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity’s lecture series; “Behind the Headlines: Genomics and the technological revolution in cancer care”. The event was held at the Wallace Collection in London and compered by the BBC Medical Correspondent, Fergus Walsh, the evening featured two of The Royal Marsden’s leading oncologists who discussed how recent advances in technology such as genomics, Artificial Intelligence and whole body imaging will impact and transform cancer diagnosis and treatment in the future. We first began our relationship with Royal Marsden when we donated to them after the Golf Sixes event. Since then we have had frequent meetings with our friends at the hospital as they subsequently invited us to join them in supporting this very special evening.
Our CEO & CMO spoke at the Salesforce.org Connect Non-Profit conferences in London & Amsterdam about “How blockchain technology will pioneer the charities of the future”. The presentation was designed to help not-for-profit organisations understand how they could adopt, learn and utilise blockchain technology in the near future.
November ended on a high note, when we were featured on the homepage of Forbes.com in an article which covered our unique approach to branded sports marketing. LIFE is one of only a few cryptocurrencies to sponsor major sporting events and the initial interview with our CEO and CMO took place on the final day of the British Masters.
To end the year on a positive note, we decided to do the “LIFEFestiveCountdown”. We thought it would be a nice way to show our appreciation to our loyal community, as well as a way to raise brand awareness to new fans. It has driven additional consumer engagement of our proposition and we thank our community for their ongoing support throughout 2018.
It was very much appreciated with positive comments and rather grateful winners.
We made the official announcement of our sponsorship of the 4L Rally Trophy, happening in February next year. We are sponsoring French students, Justine and Ségolène, who will be racing in their LIFE branded car across southern France to Morocco to deliver essential medical supplies to children in need. They have already done some incredible fundraising, including their recent Christmas market stall selling the likes of LIFE branded Woodchuck journals to raise more funds for the French based charity, Children of the Desert. We can’t wait to see the car adorned with LIFE branding racing across France to change children’s lives forever. We wish our friends the best of luck in the student rally.
We had another major publicity coup with an editorial piece written by our CMO, David and back full page ad published in The Times and Sunday Times Newspaper cryptocurrency and blockchain supplement, Raconteur. This really helps round up what we have achieved over the year and it’s only a small snippet of what is to come in 2019. We are delighted to have our hard work recognised by publishing giants as an exciting year draws to a close.
As you can see, 2018 has been a hectic and successful year for team LIFE. There were times when we were up all hours of the day and times all to raise the profile of a company less than 2 years old! We can’t wait to see what 2019 has in store for us and the industry as a whole. Bring it on is what we say!
Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram to keep up-to-date with what the team are doing, our product updates and announcements including news on our new found friends, ambassadors and adopters. @LIFElabsHQ
Happy New Year from the LIFE team wherever you are in the world!