The inventors of native digital collecting.
Quidd was founded in 2015, but its origin story starts much earlier.
Back in 2012, key Quidd team members were recruited into The Topps Company, the iconic purveyor of sports and entertainment trading cards and collectibles, to start a new digital business unit. While there, they pioneered a new form of collecting -- native digital collecting -- that reimagined the collecting experience, making collecting accessible through native mobile apps and powered by free-to-play (F2P) economics.
The most novel aspect of the experience was that it existed outside of the context of a game. The context was the real world, notably being a fan of the sport or brand, and the reason for owning the digital trading cards was exactly that -- to own them. It was collecting, just only digital.
Here is how NPR reporter Glen Weldon described his collecting experience with Topps’s Star Wars: Card Trader app at the time:
I am just 7 years old again. It is so smart what these people are doing and I am so weak. When I opened a pack and I got Jek Porkins…I actually fist-pumped. All of this just exists with the app on your phone. It is the funnest thing. It is so stupid. I recognize how stupid it is. Can’t do anything with them. Nope. Nope. Not a thing. It is incredibly satisfying.
It worked incredibly well. The portfolio of digital trading card apps, featuring licenses from Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Football League (NFL), the English Premier League, Bundesliga, Major League Soccer (MLS), UEFA, and Star Wars, vaulted Topps into a Top 50 iOS developer by global revenue in 2014, 2015, and 2016, with the franchise cumulatively grossing over $125 million in digital trading card revenue in a little under 7 years.
The success of native digital collecting at Topps created a conviction in Quidd’s founding team that a format shift wasn’t just likely, it was inevitable.
Collectibles mean different things to different people, which is why the activity is so universal. Every human does it, everywhere on the planet. But to illustrate the founding team’s thesis of an impending format shift, it is helpful to think of a collectible as a “store of value.” Through this lens, physical trading card collecting will eventually go the way of other, now outdated physical stores of value, like paper money or stock certificates.
Going deeper, product experiences are delivered via formats, and formats that produce a 10x better experience will win the “format war”, eventually replacing formats that came before. As VHS tapes gave way to DVDs, which gave way to streaming, or as paper money is being replaced by online banking and digital currencies, physical trading cards will eventually be replaced by digital ones. In short, NFTs will replace trading cards.
Armed with real, commercial success selling over $100 million in digital trading cards and a firm conviction that code would replace cardboard, Quidd’s founding team set out to change the way that billions of people collect.