Lightning strikes twice: our investment in crypto payments business Lightspark
Felix invests alongside a16z, Paradigm, Coatue, Ribbit, Matrix Partners and Veev Ventures, as part of Lightspark’s funding round, backing David Marcus for the second time in 15 years.
We at Felix have been lucky to know David Marcus for over 15 years, and consider ourselves even luckier now to be able to support him for a second time, as he embarks on a new chapter with Lightspark.
We first crossed paths with David while he was building Zong in the early 2000’s, starting from Europe a mobile payments solution focused on micro-payments. Frederic met with David while he was already building his second company, with a big ambition that took him from Europe to Silicon Valley, as the place to take his vision to the next stage. After a few years of exceptional execution, Paypal acquired the company in 2011, and David was promoted to run mobile payments for the payment giant, based in California.
Since then, we have stayed close friends as his career has gone from strength to strength, first as he became President of Paypal, then Head of Messenger at Facebook, before leading all payments and crypto efforts at Meta until recently. When we founded Felix in 2015, David also joined as one of our trusted advisors, where his insights and industry knowledge have proven invaluable to our founders, fund, and wider team. David combines rare skills and experience of having run world-class tech teams and products at a massive scale, with the grit and attention to detail of a repeat entrepreneur. One of his most distinctive traits is that he has been a magnet for talent throughout his career and this now translates into the ability to launch a new company with large ambition and an exceptional team.
Through all these years, David has become a true thought-leader within the payments & fintech space, which made it an easy decision to support him in this new chapter.
While it is still early days and we cannot give too much away, we are incredibly excited by the vision for Lightspark — to extend the capabilities of Bitcoin, leverage the Lightning Network, and explore the endless possibilities of new payments systems for the modern economy.
We launched Felix seven years ago with the vision to build a venture firm for the Creative Class, investing around the emergence of the digital lifestyle that we are all gradually embracing. Payments and Fintech have been core to our thesis at Felix since day one, especially as money becomes invisible and new solutions are emerging to reduce friction for consumers and businesses as they deal with their finances. We have been fortunate to invest in many leading businesses in the space, from Juni to Leocare, Forter to Rally, and more.
As part of our thinking around Creativity, we are long-term believers in the power of the blockchain and Web3 as a new platform for founders to create new offerings, new communities, and new services that will change the way we live. This goes back a long way, starting in 2013 when Frederic understood the potential of Bitcoin thanks to David and the group of fintech entrepreneurs and friends he had built in the Valley who introduced the concept of decentralisation finance and Bitcoin as a store of value. We have gradually embraced this crypto/web3 opportunity at Felix and expect to expand our portfolio even further around these opportunities. We have been able to support category-defining crypto businesses such as Ledger, Sorare and earlier-stage startups such as Flooz. We see crypto/web3 as a new form of enabling technology, spurring innovation and leading to novel & exciting use cases across all aspects of the digital lifestyle. We believe we are still very early in the adoption of these technologies, and are excited by all the potential new use cases which will emerge for the modern consumer — from gaming to payments, community building or self-expression, commerce and culture, the possibilities are limitless to impact our personal and business lives.
They say Lightning never strikes twice, but we would argue otherwise!
We are delighted to be supporting David Marcus for a second time. Our relationship with David, from a first meeting 2004, a first investment in 2007 and a second investment in 2022 in Lightspark illustrates how we think long-term about relationships, and how we aim to build trust over long periods of time. We are grateful for David’s invitation to join a fantastic investor syndicate, including our friends at a16z, Paradigm, Coatue, Ribbit, Matrix Partners and Veev Ventures.