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Deniath company in Kirkland offers all things geek
Wade Sugiyama was galaxies away from the geek world.
But when the geek floodgates suddenly opened, the MBA graduate embraced his inner-geek – his love for the science fiction TV series Battlestar Galactica, the epic zombie series The Walking Dead, ‘90s cartoons such as Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, video games and fantasy football.
“There’s so much fun in the geek – it’s like playing pretend for adults, like all of the things you would love to be or do,” said Sugiyama, the 29-year-old CEO and co-founder of Kirkland-based Deniath, Inc. “All these people who are in costumes and all kinds of stuff just takes what they love to the extreme, whatever that might be. Geek out has become a very popular term for anything you’re passionate about.”
Deniath launched in 2010 and is a members-only flash sale site, bringing 72-hour deals directly to the geek world. Geek products and services include toys, event deals, board games, video game products, comics and other pop-culture collectibles.
“We intend to produce the ultimate geek experience by feeding member’s geek obsessions and helping them discover new ones,” said Sugiyama, who lives in Redmond.
The Hawaii native, who earned a Leadership MBA from the University of Washington-Bothell, has always been passionate about entrepreneurship and innovation. He launched his first venture in 2004, when he co-founded a hip hop dance company in Edmonds focused on youth development using the positive messages of hip hop culture.
Prior to Deniath, Sugiyama joined the innovative team at the former Bellevue-based WizKids Games, working on products featuring licenses such as Marvel Entertainment, DC Comics, Disney, and LucasArts.
That is where he started down the geek and nerd path, he says.
“I spent a lot of time with the community and talked about our products. I really started to bond with what they enjoyed and what they loved and it just made me feel like, you know what, I’m just as geeky as you are,” recalled Sugiyama. “It’s just a matter of what it is that you geek out on and so all of a sudden you hit the same note and everyone’s like, oh my God.”
As the tabletop games industry struggled, he noticed geek culture exploded. After he left WizKids, he set up an eBay store and watched the rise of the flash sale market, primarily with the fashion industry.
Sugiyama thought the flash sale platform “would be even more perfect for the geek and nerd crowd. For the fashion industry, it’s really going after the obsessive and passionate shopper who goes after high brands for good deals. And I just felt like there is no better customer for the obsessive and passionate than geeks and nerds.”
He said what sets Deniath a part from other flash sale and daily deal sites is direct targeting. While sites such as Groupon flood inboxes with random deals, Deniath offers deals on everything across the geek realm.
“So what we have been banking on all along is that these daily deals and flash sales just get so big that they don’t service their customers perfectly,” said Sugiyama. “Even if I have a board game geek, if I saw this real cool superman art, I’d at least want to see it. So that’s what we’re working off from.”
With “Deniath,” he said his company wanted to come up with a made-up word that didn’t have any preconceived notions about it.
Deniath members are able to take advantage of deals on a variety of geek products, ranging from X-Men statues to Transformers toys to Harry Potter pop-culture. Sugiyama says the top sellers so far are geek toys, board games, video games, art and gadgets.
The company has partnered with more than 45 brands and hopes to expand even more in the future.
Deniath is also working on implementing an interactive secret society for members.
“Part of that is going to be a winding story of intrigue based on a fictional secret society called Deniath. And the roots and the history of Deniath will all come out with the story,” he said. “There’s history, language and signals and all kinds of things that we’re developing now so it will be a fun thing to be a part of.”
With Deniath, he hopes to get members excited to try something new to geek out on.
And, he adds, everyone has an inner-geek, they just have to find it like he did. “I do consider myself a geek and one of the best appeals of Deniath is that geek has become so popular instead of being the negative geek and nerd,” said Sugiyama. “Everybody has a little bit of geek, whether it’s Hunger Games, Twilight or Star Wars.”
Interested in becoming a Deniath member? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with “Kirkland Reporter” in the subject line, and receive an invite code. For information, visit www.deniath.com