Boost VC Successfully Backs 100 Different Cryptocurrency Startup Projects
Boost VC, the San Mateo incubator has ultimately achieved a funding promise made all the way back in March 2014, when co-founders Adam Draper and Brayton Williams openly stated they would invest in 100 bitcoin startups over the next three years.
Even though it may have taken a bit longer than intended, the event is possibly a evidence to the pre-seed fund, which has maintained a major emphasis on crypto since its earliest days, riding the twists and turns of an industry that has changed greatly in just a few short years.
Depending on how the deals get calculated, Boost VC now says it's made a little over 100 crypto investments. A few of its companies have swiveled away from crypto over time, so Draper no longer counts those toward the total, even if Boost initially wrote its check with the technology in mind.
“It has always been about building the open financial system of the world,” says Adam Draper. He acknowledged that enthusiasm has diminished among his peers in the venture community, but Boost has been through this before. He promised, “We will be writing more checks because that's my favorite time.”
Boost VC’s Journey To 100
Close watchers of the space will note that there is one way in which Boost amended its pledge. In March 2014, when Draper committed to making 100 investments, he actually said he'd back 100 bitcoin startups. Since then, a lot of the companies its counting are definitely crypto, but they aren't necessarily built for bitcoin.
“The idea of 100 bitcoin companies — when we announced we were going to back 100 bitcoin companies — that was insane. That was an insane thought,” Draper said.
At that time there really wasn't a distinction between bitcoin and other kinds of crypto, Draper explained.
Draper said that was an era when he watched “early adopters being rejected by venture capital,” he said. “I remember other VCs coming up to me and being like: ‘Is that bitcoin thing still a thing?'”
But then ethereum came along and it offered the ERC-20 smart contract, which opened up a new way for funding-starved crypto companies to raise money.
“It unlocked this door in everyone's head that said, ‘Hey maybe there can be more than one,'” he recalled.
So, Boost followed the trend and opened up what it was looking for. Mostly it gets equity stakes in companies it backs, but it has also done token deals, such as for Decentraland. Draper said: “We have really done every kind of deal in the space.”
What is Boost VC Looking For?
Despite hitting its goal, Boost hasn't quit seeking crypto deals. Here is what they are looking to invest in next:
- What is the Consensys of other blockchains/dapps? Studio builder model for quick iterations on bringing crypto mainstream. Too early to go all in on one idea but experiment with MVPs.
- Tools for building/maintaining crypto teams. Crypto teams are different. They are remote first, contractor heavy and many times dealing with near instant liquidity — thus different incentive models than traditional startups.
- Tools that are cross blockchain (outside of wallet, exchange, storage). A lot of these are land grabs. Build a utility necessary for interacting with blockchains and recreate on the other top 5–10 chains. APIs, data, and naming are all potentials. But what else?
- Front ends for blockchains/dapps. What is the Coinbase for other blockchains/dapps?
- Regulatory arbitrage plays. We invest globally. Therefore we will look at teams using certain jurisdictions to their advantage. Areas of legal gambling. Custody designed for specific countries. Trading securities.
This list is certainly not comprehensive but this is currently what is on their mind. Right now, it wants applications for its incubator, which is just one part of its larger investing program. Applications are open for “Tribe 12” now through the end of October.