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How these M’sian serial entrepreneurs use NFTs to up the visibility of their other ventures

Co-founders, Azam and Shan, own a whole slew of ventures. First, they started with a vape shop, Panda Vape, and proceeded to open Makan Heritage, Triple A Garage, AOD, Medissa Dental, Vite Arms, and Vite Solutions.

These are a restaurant, motorcycle shop, an auto detailing shop, a chain of dental clinics, a firearms and ammunition agency, and a durian plantation, respectively. 

With so many projects under their belt, how then could they maintain and grow their existing customer base while bringing more visibility to their vastly-different businesses?

Being NFT enthusiasts and collectors of these blockchain-backed digital artworks themselves, Azam and Shan turned to NFTs, creating their latest venture, PandaHeritage.

Starting small

PandaHeritage pays homage to two of their businesses, namely Panda Vape, and Makan Heritage.

In 2012, Azam and Shan began their empire by selling their own vape flavour called Captain America, a well-known variety amongst local vapers.

They also provided door-to-door vape cartridge replacement services. “It almost felt like it was an underground thing,” Shan joked.

One after another, they eventually started Makan Heritage in Kota Damansara, a homely restaurant frequented by many locals in that area. 

The Makan Heritage outlet in Kota Damansara / Image Credit: Makan Heritage

Panda Vape, the previously mentioned vape shop, is located on the second floor of the same building. Vite Arms and a soon-to-be-opened cafe are directly next to it.

Venturing into the NFT space

Prior to starting PandaHeritage on Pentas.io, the brothers were heavy users of OpenSea.io, one of the world’s largest marketplaces for NFTs and crypto collectibles.

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They collected multiple artworks on the Ethereum blockchain from plenty of different artists from around the world.

When it came to why they chose the local NFT marketplace over OpenSea for PandaHeritage, they said, “It’s all about the community.”

And it makes sense, seeing how their main following consists of locals, and Pentas.io has become a popular marketplace in the Malaysian NFT scene.

Upon merging the names Panda Vape and Makan Heritage into their NFT project, PandaHeritage, Shan invited his friend from school who is an artist. 

They collaborated to create a set of 100 NFTs, all of which are computer-generated variations on the Panda icon.

The few variations of the Panda / Image Credit: PandaHeritage

Upon launching the first 100 units, they were sold out in less than a day. From this, the founders knew their project was well-received, and PandaHeritage has since become another notch in their entrepreneurial belts.

Giving the NFTs a purpose

Today, PandaHeritage NFTs hold value in the utility they offer to Azam and Shan’s customer base.

NFT holders are entitled to a maximum of a 15% discount for each transaction at PandaVape, Makan Heritage, and AOD.

Each artwork acts as a token to redeem the exclusive discounts at a cap of 10 times per month, with no lifetime limit (depending on the tiers).

To make a claim, one would need to scan the QR code. For the regulars at Makan Heritage, the codes will be placed on each dining table.

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The verification system for the QR codes is provided by a third-party platform called Imbas.io, a company that aims to simplify the use of NFTs in the real world.

It allows NFT minters to facilitate the implementation of NFTs into their businesses via MetaMask.

The QR Code to verify ownership / Image Credit: PandaHeritage

We’ve seen how Ad Butcher & Steak, a local steakhouse in Bukit Jelutong, uses a similar third-party tool, Summerwatch Technology, to verify the ownership of the digital art pieces. 

The future that it holds

According to the brothers, NFTs in Malaysia are considered to be in their infancy. 

They shared that they have always been inspired by the utilities provided by Bored Ape Yacht Club, which uses its NFTs as a token for its exclusive membership club. 

It hosts a collection of 10,000 artworks generated from over 172 possible traits, which determine each ape’s rarity.

Each of them has a floor price of 89.99 ETH, equivalent to RM487,331.56 at the time of writing.

Some celebrities who are part of the Bored Ape Yacht Club include Eminem, Serena Williams, Shaquille O’Neal, and Justin Bieber. Others who own Bored Ape NFTs can gain exclusive access to mingle with these celebrities online, and other benefits.

The celebrities with their BAYC NFTs / Image Credit: Bored Ape Yacht Club

On top of that, the owners are also entitled to free perks that include additional NFTs or tokens from the Bored Ape Yacht Club ApeCoin.

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Another perk includes the ability to show off their NFT as their profile picture on Twitter with a Twitter Blue Subscription.

For Azam and Shan, they aim to give more perks as their community grows. They brainstormed some ideas on how they could connect the dots to their other business ventures, such as the durian plantation and a camping reserve that they are currently working on. 

“Maybe one day we can take our top 10 NFT holders on a private trip to join us on our camping adventure, all expenses paid,” the brothers remarked. “Or maybe we can take them out on a durian buffet freshly picked from our trees.”

The next stage for PandaHeritage would be to launch a batch of 6,236 NFTs, an amount specifically chosen to equate to the number of verses in the Quran.

In the coming months, the founders also intend to raise the floor price as the number of benefits of each NFT increases.

  • Learn more about PandaHeritage here.
  • Read more of our NFT content here.

Featured Image Credit: PandaHeritage


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