Thrill Digital CEO Alex “Delz” Erinle Talks VR Gaming Technology, Fashion in Africa and The Future of E-commerce
Thrill Digital is a digital house which leverages VR gaming technology, to create an immersive and interactive shopping experience for e-commerce customers. We have had the opportunity to discuss this innovative company’s ongoing and future projects, with Thrill Digital co-founder and CEO Alex ‘Delz’ Erinle.
Delz, what is the story behind Thrill Digital?
“Thrill Digital was founded in April 2020 with my friend Niyi Okeowo – a multidisciplinary artist – as CDO and I, Delz Erinle – a Web3 product specialist – as CEO. We had been exploring how digital fashion could become less of a marketing tool and more of a solid conversion tool and started Thrill to research different use cases. We got a team of 10 minority creative technologists together initially and started experimenting and building 3D pipelines for different digital fashion use cases like lifelike avatars, digital clothes, digital Accessories, AR filters etcetera. We decided to put all of these into a product and got Luke Jeffers, a game developer, on board as the third co-founder and CTO”
What is the technology behind Thrill Digital?
“We are working on several products and our first is called ThrillXR, which uses gaming and e-commerce tech to bridge the gap between in-store and online shopping. This is because despite the recent e-commerce boom, 64% of customers reportedly still prefer to shop in store. We want to take from both experiences to create a new, unique experience. We have a great team: I lead product design strategy; Luke Jeffers leads game development; Niyi Okeowo leads NFT strategy; Kunbi Ajai leads Environment Design; Charles Egbejule leads Digital Fashion Design and Liz Demure is our Business Development Manager. We work together to ideate and create a unique product experience for users”
In our opinion, Thrill Digital is part of a wave of innovative companies revolutionising the e-commerce space. What are the ways in which Thrill Digital stands out from other players in this space?
“I would say we are different because we are B2B by nature and didn’t start with any particular idea. We decided to understand what fashion businesses needed in the current climate and figure out how to create solutions to those problems using gaming technology. We’re now building a B2C product, but this came after many months of trying to understand what problem out of the many we saw was worth going after. So we’re obsessed with using gaming tech like AR, VR and 3D to solve problems for fashion businesses and that’s what makes us stand out”
What has been the most challenging part of your journey thus far?
“Being in a new field with a limited number of examples out there. We’ve had to figure out a lot of things on the go. Also, being a new product experience, converting customers is not a seamless process. However, we’re learning from users’ feedback regarding new features that would be useful and we’re working on creating a more seamless checkout journey”
What has been the most rewarding point of your journey so far?
“We’ve been able to speak to the most knowledgeable leaders in this space at companies like Farfetch, Epic Games, Unity, Shopify and YNAP. It’s been great realising that what we’re creating is an area they are excited about and we’ve also gotten a grant to make improvements to our MVP”
What is the goal that you seek to achieve with Thrill Digital?
“We want to continue to build on ThrillXR product, until the process of creating a virtual store becomes as automated as Shopify. Currently the process of creating a virtual store is one off and manual, but we believe that building a product to automate this is where the opportunity lies. We also want to make progress with the other solutions we are developing in-house”
Where do you see the e-commerce space in 5 to 10 years?
“Steve Jobs once said that to understand the future of software you have to be obsessed with hardware. We believe that with new tech like haptic gloves, as well as AR and VR glasses becoming more embedded in day to day life, in a decade we could see a much more immersive and social e-commerce experience. We hope to continue to attract talent to Thrill to enable us to scale and build towards this reality”
How do you think African fashion brands can benefit from the use of digital assets and what is your opinion on the current e-commerce space on the continent but most specifically, in Nigeria, where you are from?
“A lot of the fashion in Nigeria is bespoke and we believe digital fashion can be of great use. For one, a brand doesn’t always have to make a physical version of a garment, they can use digital versions all through and only sew when a customer places an order. This we believe will lead to a more efficient and sustainable process, with less waste”
Have you collaborated with African brands?
“So far we haven’t but we have quite a number on our radar and hope to be able to bring them into our own virtual store we are currently working on, when we make progress with development”
We are looking forward to seeing what Thrill Digital has in store for us in 2021