By Jeff Fagnan, Founder and General Partner at Accomplice
Today we are announcing Accomplice Blockchain. Accomplice Blockchain mirrors our early stage, high conviction approach of nearly 20 years, yet it’s a concentrated effort with dedicated individuals focusing on what we think is the next compute paradigm shift. At Accomplice, we relish big, complex, ambitious technology bets and we love tough shit. Some of the things we have taken on:
- Reverse compiling binaries while looking for security vulnerabilities in the underlying code without actually needing the source code? Sure, despite the Dean of Harvard Computing telling us it couldn’t be done.
- Enterprise security based on the human immune system? Check, even if it requires building the world’s largest software hash database.
- Indexing the entire search history of the web to predict future events with Machine Learning? Let’s roll, and we’ll find a killer use case for it later.
Fundamentally, we see crypto and blockchain as Legos: they’re the infrastructure for how we think decentralized and resilient computing should work. We believe decentralization and true federation is the next technology paradigm shift (away from cloud) and is the next wave in compute with the potential to securely enable true IOT, disrupt current platform monopolies, step change down the cost of compute, and (thankfully) replace legacy contracts/dynamics/industries with code and math. Many of the components of this wave have been around for almost a decade now.
The Accomplice Blockchain team consists of myself; Rob Shavell, founder of Abine, the pioneering online privacy company; David Galper, Israeli-based serial entrepreneur and former owner of TinyURL; Ash Egan, formerly of ConsenSys Ventures and who we knew previously from Converge VC; and Mike Viscuso, founder and CTO of Carbon Black. We bolster this group with a tight orbit to Naval and our friends at AngelList, MetaStable, and CoinList.
Our team has been investing in crypto assets since ‘before it was cool’ (collectively 10 years), and our portfolio includes Hedera Hashgraph, Ontology, Coda, FileCoin, CoinList, Circle, Brave, and over a dozen others. We were there from the earliest of stages for many of these projects. And while we haven’t been voyeurs in this market, we haven’t exactly been public about our involvement either, given the fair amount of antithetical “get-rich-quick” noise and arrogance that’s everywhere. We believe in the journey and the mission-driven compass of entrepreneurs who want to change something because it needs to be changed. We aren’t looking for speculative assets and have no interest in coin-picking or attempting to time an early volatile market in a zero sum game. It’s about a long grind to leave an indelible mark. We are company builders, paired with a long-term ethos.
We will publish some of our theses over the next two months but our plan is to “open” everything we do: not just our theses, but our pipeline, our CRM, our get-togethers, our calendars, and our economics. Like Richard Stallman when he started GNU in 1983 as a project to create a completely free operating system, we are starting with a primitive kernel and a belief that old school software sharing (take it, break it, cannibalize it, better it) is new school. The idea that closed venture capital, like a proprietary software social system — one that says you are not allowed to share, allow change, or fork — is anti-progress, wrong, and fundamentally flawed.
Our theses will evolve, but our approach will remain steadfast:
Win with community — Just like we have done with Boston Syndicates (BOSS), dedicated to catalyzing angel investing in Boston and the first syndicate on AngelList; Spearhead, the first program to turn founders into angel investors with money and mentoring; and other initiatives like Rev Boston and TUGG; community will power Accomplice Blockchain. This is as much a movement as it is a funding vehicle. Our plans are to federate attribution through tokenization for sourcing, talent referrals, due diligence, business development, and value add. This approach empowers our community, giving everyone a chance to participate and benefit.
Most aligned investor in the space — We want to have exactly the same incentives as the founders whom we back. We don’t care whether we own equity, tokens, or some hybrid arrangement. We look to be active in securing and provisioning these networks as well as using the entire Atlas/Accomplice portfolio (over 200 companies) for distribution, developer engagement, and use case testing.
Zero perimeters — Cryptoassets and blockchain are borderless and so are the opportunities we are pursuing. We have relationships and feet on the ground in Asia, Israel, SF, and Boston. Given the global nature of crypto and blockchain, it’s paramount for entrepreneurs to raise money from investors who are not just local to where their team is based but also globally relevant.
Most importantly, our key tenet of learning by doing will never change. We are going to align with great people and swing hard collectively. Contrarian thinking is our lifeblood, which means we will indeed be fabulously wrong at times. But we will be wrong with the highest degree of conviction, authenticity, and transparency. Just like the entrepreneurs we back.