Our Story: The Birth of EmpireDAO
In the heart of New York City, the idea of EmpireDAO took shape during a sponsored co-working day organized by Reciprocal Ventures. A diverse group of innovators, entrepreneurs, and visionaries gathered together, rekindling the collaborative spirit that had been lost during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mike Fraietta, our founder, had long been a proponent of the work-from-home model. But in this gathering, he realized that while remote work had its merits, there was an undeniable magic in the in-person collaboration and camaraderie that had been left behind. He observed that seed-stage startups with a robust blend of in-person and online collaboration had an edge over those operating remotely.
Fuelled by this revelation, the innovators turned a single day of co-working into a long-term vision. That very night, a vibrant discussion in a Telegram chat (the full history still viewable!) gave birth to EmpireDAO, an idea that transformed from an online discourse into a tangible reality.
EmpireDAO’s initial manifestation was a successful 6-month pop-up in NYC in 2022, providing a co-working space for a thriving community of web3 builders, creators, and investors. The community, bound together by the ethos of shared innovation, began to yearn for something more permanent.
Today, EmpireDAO is on the precipice of its next evolutionary leap. Our community is ready to not just work in a shared space, but to own it. Our future involves moving beyond temporary spaces and into permanent ones, purchased and maintained by the community itself. We’re set to fully embody our namesake - a Decentralized Autonomous Organization, where shared ownership is not just an idea, but a reality.
At EmpireDAO, we are building more than just workspaces - we are crafting shared stories and shared successes. Join us as we chart this exciting new course into the world of web3. Are we an actually DAO?
Founder: Mike Fraietta
CEO: George Bonano
Mike Fraietta - Founder
Trailblazing Leader | Innovative Community Architect | Visionary Blockchain Enthusiast
Mike Fraietta's career journey is a testament to his ability to recognize potential, build meaningful connections, and lead with a forward-thinking vision. His diverse background, coupled with his deep understanding of community dynamics, forms the backbone of EmpireDAO's ethos.
- Community Craftsman: Mike's passion for fostering connections was kindled in South Philly's Triangle Tavern, where he learned the art of building a community from the ground up.
- Startup Pioneer: Began his career in online community management with Filtrbox, part of the inaugural class of the now globally recognized Techstars accelerator. This experience instilled in him the understanding of how cities can shape the global innovation landscape.
- Media Network Architect: At 21st Century Fox, Mike harnessed social communication technologies to unite a workforce of 50,000+, solidifying his position as a master of large-scale community management.
- Workplace Innovator: Mike's knack for creating inspiring and functional workspaces came to the fore when he facilitated the launch of the Centre for Social Innovation in NYC and BNY Mellon's Global Innovation Centers.
- Digital Maestro: During his tenure at Social Edge Consulting, Mike spearheaded the launch of online communities for several household name brands, enhancing both customer engagement and employee collaboration.
- FinTech Educator: While at BNY Mellon, Mike hosted FinTech Friday, a pioneering live-streamed show that educated the workforce about the future impact of financial technology.
- Academic Influencer: Mike has enriched minds as an adjunct professor at NYU, an instructor at General Assembly, and an ESL teacher in Prague, sharing his profound knowledge and diverse experiences.
- Blockchain Visionary: At EmpireDAO, Mike curated a global web3 community of founders, incubating and accelerating over 10 startups during its debut season through an innovative blend of online and in-person communities.
- Investor Connector: Mike's role in EmpireDAO extends to cultivating an investor collective, creating a sustainable ecosystem that benefits both the investors and the web3 projects involved.
- Resilient Champion: Living in five countries across four continents, coupled with his five-time USAFL national championship titles with the Denver Bulldogs and New York Magpies, Mike's resilience and competitive spirit fuel his pursuit of excellence at EmpireDAO.
Now based in Brooklyn, NY, Mike Fraietta is the embodiment of EmpireDAO's mission to redefine the way communities learn, earn, and grow together. His unique fusion of community building, technological understanding, and global perspective drives EmpireDAO to push boundaries and lead the revolution in community spaces.
George Bonano - Chief Executive Officer
With a career steeped in the intricate realms of digital assets and global securities, George Bonano brings an unparalleled depth of knowledge to his role as CEO of EmpireStudios. Institutional experience at Wells Fargo Digital Assets, BNY Mellon Digital Assets and a decade at Pershing navigating the global securities settlement & capital markets, with a combined exposure to $40 Trillion in assets under custody. Initiatives range from scaling investment platforms to designing institutional-grade digital asset custody, and trade execution systems for tokenized deposits and securites. (LinkedIn, Twitter)
As CEO of EmpireDAO, George is at the helm of our mission, guiding the ship in the exciting voyage towards shared property ownership and pioneering innovation in the web3 space. With his profound expertise and strategic acumen, George is steering EmpireDAO to become a beacon of collaboration and ownership in the evolving web3 ecosystem. His journey is not just a testament to his skill and experience, but also a promise of the unprecedented heights EmpireDAO aims to reach under his leadership.