2020 was a tough year. Full stop. For those fortunate enough to be in a position to help, it was often hard to know where to start and how to measure one’s impact. Much of the giving we did personally and via Notation was done through informal recommendations from friends and networks — For example, our friend Enmi Kendall organized a critical mask drive for Elmhurst Hospital in Queens at the beginning of the pandemic, all done via email threads and venmo payments. In the end, she raised over $100k for the effort and we collectively delivered 40,081 masks. Wow!
NFTs have been a special part of the crypto ecosystem for several years now, and take many forms — From the early CryptoPunks project to Cryptokitties to music as mathematical art on Eulerbeats to individual creators, ranging from wildly popular like beeple to emerging digital artists like Justin Ouellette on Foundation. But it wasn’t until quite recently with the launch of NBA Topshot on the Flow blockchain that NFTs hit escape velocity and went fully mainstream. Since October, there’s been more than $450M worth of transactions on NBA Topshot alone.
Decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) have been around as long as crypto, and community governance of DAOs takes many forms. But as the value of many high-profile protocols has increased rapidly in recent years, the quality of DAO governance varies widely. Aside from the gigantic value of crypto at stake, we believe governance will be critical to the long-term success (or failure) of many projects.
For example, the Uniswap community treasury is estimated to be worth more than $10B at the time of this writing. Compound and Tezos also have hundreds of millions in their treasuries, and there are many others…
We founded Notation in 2015 with a simple thesis — That betting on founders uncomfortably early, pre-product market fit, and in many cases pre-product, would create outsized rewards. We called this “pre-seed” funding, but really it was just a moniker for something that is as old as venture capital itself — investing in passionate people with a dream. Six years later, we believe this simple thesis is working well, creating unique partnerships with founders at the earliest stages and top decile returns for our LPs.
A few weeks ago, after more than a year in stealth, Talos unveiled their new crypto trading platform, and today we’re announcing that in late 2018 we led their initial round of funding, alongside Castle Island, Arianna Simpson, and Founder Collective, and joined more recently by Initialized.
Why so stealthy? In Anton’s words: “It’s not that we were hiding, but it’s just that we come from a capital markets background and tend to shy away from talking about things before they’re ready. We’ve now reached a solid state, working with a good set of customers — The platform is maturing.”
As Covid-19 further accelerates the shift online, adding to years of mobile adoption and an always-on Internet, managing our communities has never been more important. And while the Internet makes communities easier than ever to access, the way in which we do so is still disjointed for the user and often difficult for organizers or moderators to manage. Today, Circle is launching out of beta, and changes all that.
A little over six years ago, Alex and I began to moonlight as VCs, trading notes on what would ultimately become Notation. We spent countless hours debating different iterations, strategies, our motivations and values, our hopes and dreams…
Our investment in Halycon is a good reminder that we’re in the people business. What does that mean to us? It means backing founders who inspire us and others, who have the experience and skillset to change something that they know could work better, and who can have a real impact, if by some chance they succeed, even against unlikely odds. It’s difficult to think of two better examples than Josh and Andrew.
You can read their post Introducing Halcyon Health from a couple of weeks ago. It’s a good glimpse into what they’re taking on and how they plan…
At our annual LP meeting this past fall, we gave a short talk on how we think about pre-seed investing & risk, and why we think there’s a particularly interesting risk:reward at this stage.
We’re sharing this broadly with the community in order to spark a larger discussion. Slides are here.
Over the course of the past five years, “pre-seed” rounds have gone from a nebulous sounding name into a full-blown category. When Notation was formed in early 2015, there were many questions about pre-seed — namely, whether or not ‘pre-seed’ rounds were here to stay, and confusion around what…
Tl’dr — Check out our deck on “Blockchain Participation” from our most recent annual meeting.
Notation hosted its second annual LP meeting a couple of months ago, and as usual, we published our deck. In addition to the typical annual meeting topics such as fund performance and portfolio company reviews, we decided to do a few deep dives into specific areas of current interest. In particular, we’ve been investing and participating in the Blockchain space for a few years now. …
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