Solana was my very first token investment, and it was not an easy one to make.
Back in 2018 when I first met Solana co-founder Anatoly Yakovenko, my fund at the time, 500 Mobile Collective, was legally not allowed to invest in digital assets. To back Yakovenko’s company, then known as Loom, I had to get two-thirds of my limited partners to agree to amend my fund’s LP agreement. I wondered, am I just too far down the rabbit hole? Am I taking on too much risk for the fund? Or is Web 2.0 so different from Web3 that my LPs just don’t get it?
Fast-forward four years—all the hassle was certainly worth it. Solana has turned out to be one of my most successful investments, generating a 4,000X return. And yet things I now find normal—dealing with pseudonyms, betting on founders halfway across the world who don’t want to give investors any control—are still baffling to my colleagues who came up during the Web 2.0 boom.
With $1.7 trillion in combined market cap and more than $30 billion in venture funding pouring into the space in 2021, crypto is an industry no investor can afford to ignore. And yet even as some of the big firms, such as Sequoia, Andreessen Horowitz and most recently Bain Capital, are building up their crypto operations, many smaller players remain hopelessly unprepared to enter the Web3 world.
A bunch of big firms can’t sustain an industry on their own. More high-quality investors to support founders equals a more robust crypto ecosystem. So this felt like the right time to take a step back and reflect on what I’ve learned from my experiences—and more important, to open the door for new investors in the Web3 world.