Genesis Venture Fund Looks To Blockchain Projects

Blockchain, Innovation, Investing | October 15, 2018 By:

 Wavemaker Partners is a global, early stage venture fund managing $300M in AUM across 300 companies around the world.

Now founder Dave Siemer has joined forces with partner Les Borsai to start a fund and consulting group called Genesis.

The goal is to provide asset management services (index/mutual funds, systematic hedge fund, crypto fund, treasury management) and consulting to top-tier crypto projects (ecosystem development, exchange listings, networking, treasury management, etc.), leveraging deep domain knowledge in the traditional asset management/consulting world to help the crypto industry mature.

Genesis has offices in Los Angeles and Singapore. Block Tribune asked Siemer about the firm’s plans.

BLOCK TRIBUNE:  Your team’s background indicates some bets on companies that have some traction. What makes a company attractive for investment?

DAVE SIEMER: Products that have a large Total Addressable Market and are uniquely enabled by blockchain technology / cannot function without a crypto-native token. Companies with an existing, profitable business that have unique assets that they can leverage, such as existing distribution channels / users.

BLOCK TRIBUNE:  Right now, the blockchain/crypto space seems like we’re in 1999-2000 in Internet terms. What will it take to come roaring back?

DAVE SIEMER: I don’t agree that we’re 1999-2000 – $1T was invested in technology companies in the 12 months before the crash, crypto has not seen that. Maybe $20B has been invested so far. The average internet stock went down 95% – avg. crypto is not down to that level. Internet adoption (say the % of consumers that had an ISP compared to % who hold any amount of crypto) points to us being closer to 1994-1995.  Things that actually work will turn the market – a killer dApp that solves crypto UI/UX design problems (wallets that solve key management issues, custodianship, etc.)

BLOCK TRIBUNE:   What will make a company become a force in the blockchain space?

DAVE SIEMER: User adoption – at this stage, it’s all about distribution. Most dApps have *very* low DAUs in the tens to hundreds – see www.dappradar.com. The first company that gets 1M users actually using their platform will be a force.

BLOCK TRIBUNE:  What do you look for in a management team?

DAVE SIEMER: Deep experience and domain knowledge in whatever industry they are tackling
High degree of technical talent that can actually deliver on a decentralized application / protocol.

BLOCK TRIBUNE:  Are you modeling your company after any particular consultancy?

DAVE SIEMER: Consulting is only one piece our business, but maybe Softbank as an aspirational goal as it’s a little closer to the model we’re going after. Large asset management company with services such as our consulting offering.

BLOCK TRIBUNE:   What is the best way to approach your company? As early stage investors, can someone make contact and pitch very easily, or does it have to go through trusted intermediaries?

DAVE SIEMER:  As an early-stage crypto fund, our competitive advantage is our direct access to deal flow through our network of trusted intermediaries, so the best way is to get a warm intro.  We look at over 1,000 projects a year – a lot look very similar, so we pay much more attention to the ones that come from trusted source. We need our own filters to save sanity so cold emails are not as effective.

BLOCK TRIBUNE:  What is the strangest pitch you’ve heard so far in this sector?

DAVE SIEMER: Tontines on the blockchain. (A tontine is an investment plan for raising capital, devised in the 17th century and relatively widespread in the 18th and 19th centuries. It combines features of a group annuity and a lottery. Each subscriber pays an agreed sum into the fund, and thereafter receives an annuity. As members die, their shares devolve to the other participants, and so the value of each annuity increases. On the death of the last member, the scheme is wound up.)

BLOCK TRIBUNE:  Which Genesis was better – the band fronted by Peter Gabriel, or fronted by Phil Collins?

DAVE SIEMER:   Sega Genesis was the greatest of all time.