In less than a year since we closed our first fund, we have established ourselves as leader in the promising world of next-gen fintech and decentralized finance. The fund is outperforming markets and other VC funds (details are for qualified-client/qualified-purchaser investors only — sign up here to learn more).
As word has gotten out, more than a few of you have written to me asking about access to our funds and/or joining our growing team. We are hiring (at senior and junior levels) and we are moving towards closing Fund 2 in a few months.
In a nutshell, it is ALL about our portfolio. …
The Japanese expression of gratitude we heard everywhere, almost always accompanied by a bow, delivered with a lilt, is so different from the distant almost insincere “thank you” we mutter in most parts of the world. And that is Japan for you: a modern, developed society, that is so genuine, still steeped in ancient culture, that it stands apart from every other developed country we have been to.
Packing: there was much debate in the family about how to pack for our 8 days in Japan. We did China with backpacks and that worked really well. We wanted to do the same in Japan as we foresaw a lot of train and subway travel. But the kids argued that Japan has excellent infrastructure featuring long walks in train terminals and airports and very crowded subways, where a small rolling pullman would make more sense. As it turns out we found Japan was both — backpacks work best outside the big cities and the rolling bags worked better in the giant train terminals. …
The Trading Show is an esoteric conference that brings together people who work in niche areas of fintech like algorithmic trading and increasingly in digital assets and cryptocurrencies. I was invited to speak at the Chicago event last month on the subject of Fintech and its evolution, which presented a good opportunity to introduce our investment thesis for the next series of funds from Applied Crypto Ventures.
Back in late 2017, when Applied Crypto Ventures first fund announced our framework for investing in Blockchain, we were very focused on blockchain protocols at two levels:
In “Crypto” yes, but blockchain technology is thriving
Welcome to the first of our new periodic updates about our blockchain-tech focused funds, our strategy, our portfolio, and sector news.
Bitcoin has been spoken about a lot in the 10 years since its birth. Unleashed on the world in 2008, a few weeks after the financial crisis was ushered in as indicated by the fall of Lehman Brothers, it largely stayed in corners of the Internet till a mini bubble grew and popped in 2013–2014. Since then a lot of excitement has built around cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin and other coins flourished, especially in 2017, only to meet their comeuppance in 2018.
Anyone who is keenly interested in the blockchain sector, has probably realized that the blockchain technology market has matured and is primed to solve real-world problems, far separated from the hype and hysteria of cryptocurrencies. As thoughtful, thematic, and analytical venture capital investors (rather than crypto speculators), we at Applied Crypto Ventures have been firm believers in the enterprise blockchain opportunity.
Important Note: The class of technologies colloquially called “blockchain” is now more accurately called Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), with blockchain being one architecture that works pretty well and is most familiar as it underlies popular cryptocurrencies.
From the inception of our first fund over a year ago, we had been looking for a platform that would deliver on the promise of blockchain technology for the enterprise. We knew that the next-generation enterprise software stack was perhaps the largest prize in the near to medium term in the DLT. As experienced enterprise tech investors and operators, we also knew that the platforms already positioned in this market (like HyperLedger, Stellar, and Corda) were imperfect and that their promise was front-running their capabilities. However, we also possess the humility to admit what we didn’t know: the kinds of enterprises that would adopt DLT first, the killer app that would spark adoption, or the features and functions that would work well within enterprise constraints. …
We recently completed our first overseas reconnaissance as we look to give our portfolio greater geographical diversification. Given the summer lull in the Americas and Europe, it seemed an opportune time to connect with a part of the world that does not slow down much in July and August: Asia.
The choice of Mumbai as a stop on this tour was one of convenience rather than necessity. Having procured an incredible airfare to Mumbai, I set up meetings in an ecosystem where I have deep connections, given my previous investing experience in this part of the world.
Going in, having heard of scams in the market, regulatory restrictions, and limited local tech talent at the protocol level, I was skeptical about blockchain deals here. But I was pleasantly surprised. …
Those of you following AVG Blockchain Fund are probably aware of our laser focus on the foundational layers of the blockchain stack. Our strategy has been largely based on our published thoughts regarding near-term opportunities in the sector in infrastructure and protocols.
We have also developed a view that in this nascent sector, the best deals in line with that strategy (entrepreneurs, technology teams, and investor syndicates) are based in the US — and consequently our early stage investments have been concentrated here.
However, we are now revisiting our geographical concentration strategy based on three observations:
Enough people asked me to present a primer on how blockchain works (rather to answer the question: is it Bitcoin or is it Blockchain) that I decided to put together a set of slides.
Note that I make some generalizations here in the interest of keeping it simple enough to be a first introduction.
My long form posts on Blockchain investing:
I welcome your thoughts but minimally please clap so I know you find this interesting.
Originally published on Medium; all views are personal.
Other analyses from me on Medium:
by Esmé, my thirteen year old middle-schooler
(A heartfelt composition I was compelled to share)
I do not weep for my city as it is
I weep in memory of how it was
The luscious fields, the bustling streets
But above all, laughter and freedom that permeated through the desert haze
Where lovely mosques once stood stand armed monsters,
Guarding piles of rubble of their own creation
The schools in which children once gaily frolicked
Are now hubs for brainwashing and child soldiers
The people have not given up on their home
But they stay only in body
The souls of the lucky ones roam far…