When we began forming the contours of what is today BlueYard in summer 2015 (and launched in early 2016), we quickly settled on “decentralization and empowerment” as our core thesis — the two drivers in markets and societies we wanted to see more of, and invest around. Initially we thought we would be investing mainly in new “open source movements” and p2p markets and technologies, without realizing how far down the crypto rabbit hole it would (gladly) take us.
Even though we made our first crypto investment back in 2012 and had privately been dabbling in BTC and ETH, it was not until Protocol Lab’s seed round in early 2016 where we realized that open source protocols orchestrated by a token could unleash technological, economic and governance revolutions at a scale previously unthinkable. We then quickly went on a journey up and down the web 3 stack (e.g. Protocol Labs / IPFS, Filecoin, OpenZeppelin, Radicle, Textile), then into the “classic” separation of state, money and institutions (e.g. Decred) and eventually DeFi (e.g. Centrifuge + a few things we can’t talk about just yet).
However, we have always viewed crypto as a key part of a broader fabric of systems for a more decentralized future — eventually inter-connected with other technologies that help to decentralize markets and to empower humanity. Which is why BlueYard has also — and continues to — apply its core thesis in to other areas such as programmable biology (e.g. BitBio or Biofidelity), new economic operating systems — i.e. vertical software connected through open APIs vs monopoly bundleware (e.g. Pitch) and breakthrough engineering efforts (e.g. Marvel Fusion or Seeqc).
But given the rapid evolution of crypto as an asset class, its novel instruments, way of investing and engaging natively with networks and protocols — our traditional venture fund structure was increasingly imposing restrictions on our crypto strategy. So today we are announcing BlueYard Crypto 1, a $75m early stage venture fund purely dedicated to crypto — be it equity, SAFT(Es), liquid tokens and also any “new economic life form” crypto will throw at us. $75m because it is just big enough for us to deploy our early stage strategy and build a portfolio scope we think is appropriate, but not big enough to change the nature of our firm: always small, always early stage.
Irrespective of market cycles — we will stick to what we know and do best: to back early stage opportunities, and take long term risk on teams building breakthrough technologies that have staying power over cycles, such as:
- Web 3 as the logical evolution of open source software, enabling everything that should be open source software to become open source software (via protocols orchestrated with a token)
- DeFi as technology acquiring a native finance layer, and in turn, finance acquiring a native technology layer. We are less excited about chasing the latest yield farming or arbitrage opportunity — and will be more focused on novel financial products, networks and broader access to the promise and opportunities of crypto
- New economic and cultural life forms changing old markets and creating new ones — e.g. DAOs and NFTs vs legal entities, institutions and contracts
- Key support and scaling infrastructure relevant to the growth and success of the entire space including applications that help reduce barriers to entry and tooling for engineers