Don’t let my looks fool you; I’m interested in Blockchain technology

It was a cold but sunny winter day in Amsterdam. As I walked into the elegantly old-fashioned building of the investment bank InsingerGilissen. I attended a lunch presentation by Paul Brodsky, partner of Pantera Capital; the first American Bitcoin Investment Firm that is investing in blockchain technologies. Looking around at the other attendees, I noticed that I stood out. This was confirmed by the questions I got, such as “do you work here” or “who are you with”? Even though I wasn’t old enough, male enough or nerdy enough to match the looks of the general crowd: don’t let my looks fool you, I am very much interested in blockchain technology and the way it will impact the future of our society.

Coming from a family of entrepreneurs and being active in a network of entrepreneurs, I love discussing business and learning about innovative technologies. Hence, I founded the company Nova Connect, enabling myself to making a living out of it by helping innovative SME’s get government grants for their R&D-projects. Although I’m interested in a broad variety of technological areas, sometimes I am personally drawn to a specific mind bending and disruptive innovation. Blockchain technology, first brought to my attention by Zak Erving, Product Designer at Riptide, and fellow blockchain enthusiast. In Belgrade he gave a presentation about this new phenomena called Blockchain. He sparked my interest for this topic, and that spark is growing. And so, I am discussing it with the people around me. Amongst those people is my dad, a long time entrepreneur and my personal supplier of every newspaper article there is about blockchain technology, bitcoins, ICO’s, etc. Furthermore, he also passes on personal invites for blockchain presentations at meetups. And this is how I ended up at InsingerGilissen Investment Bank in Amsterdam.

Now, when you tell people that you’re interested in Blockchain technology, it is almost like all alarm bells go off. “Don’t you know it’s unsafe to invest in Bitcoin?” and “Didn’t a lot of people lose a lot of money?” and “The financial times says it is unstable!” Thanks everyone, truely, but I’m not about to invest a mortgage on the Bitcoin market. And truth be told, I am not even all that interested in cryptocurrencies. I want to research the wide array of opportunities and disruptive possibilities that blockchain has to offer us.

But as this technology is relatively new, it can be pretty hard to sort through all the scattered information there is and to find presentation, courses or classes with proper and useful insights into this field of expertise. Paul Brodsky’s presentation was mainly about cryptocurrencies and investing in it as a part of your investment portfolio. The information shared was perfectly targeted at the audience in that room. What interested me, however, was the examples of the blockchain initiatives Pantera Capital had already invested in. Additionally, Brodsky listed the main criteria accepting new Blockchain projects into their investment fund:

  1. Team: who are players involved in this blockchain project? What is their trackrecord?
  2. Novelty: what is the disruptive potential of the envisioned application of the blockchain technology or of the blockchain technology itself?
  3. Scalability: is the technology scalable? To which extent and under which conditions?
  4. Business: what is the market potential of the product? Is there an actual need for this token or can we use a traditional currency?

As an expert in government grants, these criteria are very familiar as they are exactly the same for securing a grant for the development of a new technology. Additionally, we would provide information about time to market (as grants are provided in the research and development phase) and added value of this new technology to the European or national society.

So how serious am I about my interest in Blockchain technology? I have filed the first EU grant proposal for a Blockchain project that I’m starting up with an IT-partner. In the upcoming months, I will apply for several Dutch grants as well. These applications will both be for projects in which I’m participating, as well as for startups and scale-ups who are working on that same beloved technology.

If you want to join the blockchain movement and are looking for initial funding for R&D-purposes, feel free to reach out: