Gems ICO Review
Disclaimer: this was used to get proof of care contribution. This is opinion and not to be considered financial advice. ICOs are most likely a bubble, don’t put in what you don’t want to lose.
This is my first ICO Review. I come from an early stage startup background and thought I would apply my learning to the ICO space. Ian Balina talks a lot about “token metrics”. They are basically a swipe off what Angel investors have known for a while. But there are some tips which IMO Ian misses.
If the company can’t be summarized by a good tagline, that is a huge red flag. A solid tagline communicates that the company has a strong value proposition that is memorable and relates to people's needs. Bitcoin is easy for normies to understand: Digital store of value. Uber: Taxi with one push of the button. Netflix: Cable TV without the BS. Is Gems tagline memetastic?
Decentralized mechanical turk.
Immediately we know Gems is taking on Amazon’s mechanical turk business. Not totally sure what mechanical turk does? Neither was I.
The MTurk web service enables companies to programmatically access this marketplace and a diverse, on-demand workforce.
Okay so it’s a wrapper to programmatically access cheap labor. Typically it is used for data cleaning. Reading through the whitepaper Gems looks to be doing the same thing, but cutting out the middleman.
Tagline: Communicates that there is a big market they are disrupting. Has a meme ring to it.
Probably the most important, and often overlooked factor in early stage investing is the market. If everything is moving in your favor all you have to do is jump on board, case in point => crypto.
These guys are taking on an existing market. Data cleaning is a pain, especially for AI jobs, which is obviously an exploding industry. Their previous startup was related to GIF searches and employed AI, so they would be familiar with the market. Amazon is a stiff competitor though.
Grit. That is what you should be judging when looking at a team. Ian Balina reckons you should look at it like HR, judging experience and such. Mark Zuckerberg? Na man. Startups are tough. I had a startup which failed and it drove me to the ground. You need some thick skin, even with 30 mill in the bank. So what do these guys have?
Both dudes went to Harvard before dropping out. Both got a scholarship from Thiel, who is mega rich. Both started a GIFs company that is now successful. These guys are hand in hand.
Beyond a thick skin what the team needs is an idea of what it’s like to be married, which I am pretty sure these dudes are. Oh, and they’re brothers.
So what we are really looking for here is how quickly advisors can plug the startup into THE SYSTEM. The reason Y-Combinator is so good is because you get rocket fuel into the in-crowd of Silicon Valley. All those years of social network just sidestepped.
I hadn’t actually looked at the advisor section before writing this article but was levelled by my first look. Not just shilling, these guys has the co-founder of Twitter (not the annoying one) and another dude from ReCapatcha on their list. ReCaptcha is the master of crowdsourcing cheap labor, having gotten you to complete AI data mining by selecting which squares have cars when creating all those new accounts for crypto bagging. They also have a bunch of dudes from successful ICO’s on their list, Augur, District0x and such. And I was hoping to find something negative so I don’t look like I’m seriously shilling…
Product market fit is the mystical metric that Silicon Valley has a great deal of trouble articulating what it actually is. From talking to founders who have experienced this phenomenon, it really seems like this is more a feeling then a metric. It is the difference between when a girl is really keen or just pulling you along for attention. It’s overwhelming. Rushing ahead of you. VC’s try to get a hint of product market fit by looking at the MVP and early traction.
Unfortunately MVP’s aren’t really the norm in crypto universe. Yet. That’s partly due to the economics behind ICO’s, and mostly due to the bubble-verse we live in.
These guys don’t have an MVP, which suggests they are riding the gravy train. However they do have an extremely strong team, have shown they can deliver on previous projects, and have a proof of market given Amazon’s Turk capabilities.
But no Minimal Viable Product. Who said crypto wasn’t risky?
Edit: Founders have stated they will be releasing prototype on testnet shortly. They also have a first iteration available here: https://blog.gems.org/gems-pre-alpha-development-update-55ec585cea15
Edit Edit: Founders released the alpha and then took it one step further by having the 35k presale applicants ‘proof of care’ verified via the protocol. This is literally taking one out of Amazon’s books and being their own first customer. The best way to learn how to improve your product is by using it yourself. These guys know what they are doing.
1/5 => 2/5 => 4/5
Market cap rumoured to be 25mill which is a comfy range. Unclear about presale bonus for very early investors.
Heaps of hype, heaps of potential. Solid team. Judging by the traction so far it will probably be a small max cap ICO so you wouldn’t be betting the house on it even if you tried. Market Cap target probably similar to Request (0.5–1 billion depending on ecosystem sentiment). I’ll be cashing out when it gets to that level or judge by progress of product.
Not financial advice yada yada.