Fund Thesis for Blockchain Startups

By Jeremy Gardner, Co-founder & Managing Partner, Ausum Ventures

Jeremy Gardner, Co-founder & Managing Partner, Ausum Ventures

Give us a quick overview of your establishment.

Ausum Ventures focuses on the intersection of blockchain technology and social impact. And the thesis behind that is blockchain technology empowers entrepreneurs for materializing good causes for a better tomorrow. The technology fosters immutable truth and transparency into practically any vertical. We focus on those areas pertaining to supply chain, state finance and digital identity and have the best deal for the entrepreneurs trying to innovate in those areas.

Is the need for transparency the primary reason why you have adopted to fund blockchain startups?

Transparency and immutability provide companies the ability to create frictionless value exchange between parties without the need of a third party such as a bank or a government’s involvement. This is the prime reason why we fund blockchain startups.

"Startups should try to tackle one problem at a time in a way that is more useful and cost-effective than any other startup in the market"

How do you work with the companies in which you invest? Tell us about your investment style.

We are the first institutional capital that a startup will take. The main reason behind this is that we come in and help them with marketing, future fundraising, and strategizing. If they are creating their own crypto token, we also help them with token design. Our focus is on nurturing startups that are capable of the “long run” by taking them beyond the fundamental notions that they’ve developed during their conception.

How do you go about identifying the right startups to sponsor?

It comes down to the founder market. We analyze if the founder’s capability in solving a problem is reasonably better than his competitors. How intelligently do they articulate around the problem that they are trying to address? How do they go about assembling the team? What methodologies do they adopt?

What are the key attributes that you look at when evaluating a deal?

Major attribute would be the founder. He must be adaptive and receptive to the customer’s feedback and must be able to build confidence in his peers. If not, then it is very unlikely for the company to succeed.

Subsequently, other factors include the market scope, then token design if they have a token or a software design of a traditional equity company, and lastly, the size of the market compared to the size problem that they are trying to solve. It is essential for us to figure out that what is the market value for solving a particular predicament.

What advice do you think that you could give to other VC entities about their management principles or even while supporting new startups?

1. Don’t spend money assuming you’ll have get more from the investors; spend money as you need it to achieve the goals that you have envisioned.

2. Marketing budgets for early startups should be nearly zero. As startups need to create a compelling product that people want to use without spending money.

3. More importantly, do not try to take too much on your plate. Invest in the startups who work to tackle one problem at a time in a way that is more useful and cost-effective.

What are some of the misconceptions about funding? What do startups expect from investors and what is the ‘reality’ side of it is.

Most startups get so caught up on the issues that they’re trying to tackle they expect to take for granted, instant funding. They think what they’re doing is a massive opportunity without neutrally articulating the scope and feasibility of the opportunity at hand. And thus, end up wasting a tremendous amount of time in fundraising, trying to convince investors.

How do you see the evolution a few years from now with regards to disruptions and transformations within Blockchain technology space?

Be it government, finance, healthcare, real estate, or media; it doesn’t matter! Blockchain can impact any vertical where values are being exchanged by public reliance on third parties. This is why there are so many crypto funds in the world; the use cases for successful application of blockchain technologies are broad. The technology is going to have an impact in every single industry in the world.

Having found and run five companies, Jeremy Gardner has witnessed the hardships of being an entrepreneur. He envisioned investing the money that he earned in the world of crypto, towards startups that are capable of making the “world better.” To have the greatest possible impact on the startups that he’d be supporting, Gardner launched his own fund.

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