Tangent Fireside Chat: From Scaling a $3B Protocol to Investing as a Founder - Tascha Punyaneramitdee, Alpha Venture DAO, Ep. 212 - Transcripts

September 14, 2022

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Who best to understand struggles of crypto founders than fellow founders?    Tascha is the Co-Founder of Alpha Venture DAO and built one of the most successful DeFi protocols that had a TVL of $3 billion at its peak.   Today, she joins...


Ladies and gentlemen gentlemen, welcome to the Block Crunch podcast. They go to podcast for investors and builders in crypto and before we get started, just a reminder for you guys out there. The Block Crunch podcast is intended for informational purposes only. Neither the host nor its guests or licensed financial advisors and nothing discussed should be construed as financial advice views held by blah crunches, guests are their own and sponsorship messages do not constitute financial advice or endorsement with that out of the way. Let's jump right in now before we get started with today's episode, I've got some great news for you now. A lot of you have been asking for how I analyze projects that I bring on the show. That's why I decided to create Block V. I. P. To share with you all the heavy research that goes on behind the scenes now. Every week or so our team prepares an in depth research memo with things like sector analysis, technical concepts made simple in depth, competitive breakdown and even interactive models. So you can learn about the most important projects before they become important.

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I. P. Or click the link in the show notes below to sign up. Hey everybody, welcome back to yet another episode of the block french podcast. Now I'm really, really excited to have our second fireside chat for the tangent collective. So as you know, tangent is a new venture that me and my partner, Darryl started were basically a collective of some of the more successful operators and founders in crypto and angel investing our own capital and also invest in our own time into helping the next generation of crypto projects. So with this series, we really wanted to highlight the achievements and what the interests are for a lot of mentors in the group And recently you've heard from one of the mentors who is mable, john currently at step in previously at multi coin capital and today for a second guessed. I'm really, really excited to have Tasha who you know from the show. If you've been following us for a while from Alpha ventured out previously. Alpha Finance. Tasha is one of the most thoughtful people in the space and one of my favorite founders in this space. I think she carries a lot of traits that other founders can really, really learn from.

So I'm really excited to dive into all of that today with Tasha. So welcome back to the show again, Tasha,

thank you. And yeah, very great intro. Maybe too, too good of an intro

waiting. Well, I wanted to start with just for people who are not familiar, you know, can you maybe give us a little bit better background about what Alpha is, you know, I know, especially in the early days, some of the products really really took off, so maybe we can touch on some of those as well before we talk about the current direction that you guys are taking as a venture. Tao

Yeah, sounds good. So we started out in 2020 as a defiant lab back then, it was called Alpha Finance Lab. And I think our thesis back then hasn't changed really, even though we're now expanding to become Alpha out, but that the suspect then is that we believe in web three. Um and you know, the first applications on the three is defi right? It was so hard for me and my co founder to decide which particular problem to tackle just because number one, it's super new. Um and and things changed very quickly, you know, 23 months. Right? Um the second is we have a lot of ideas, we have a lot of innovations that we want to experiment and also, you know, push out those products to, to to life. Right? So that's why, you know, we became of Finance Lab to really allow us to explore and really innovate the forefront of the innovator. Um and we pushed out a lot of products, one of the products, if you were, you know, in the space um in 2020 you probably have heard of mora as well. So it was, it also is now we're still running the product, it's a lending and leveraged you farming product.

There's a lot of innovations that we did in that product alone. Number one is actually the first product to collateralize LP tokens. Um that's the first one. The second is were the first one to also have the pricing for LP token because otherwise you cannot really collateralize that, right? The third is even though it's over collateralize ng from not over leveraging from the user's end. So let's say if users put in, you know, $100 worth of capital and they can live for up to up to 10 x to do you farming activity right? Technically on the smart contract level, on the protocol level it's over collateral izing. So we also hack away to do that in such a way that it gives efficiency to the users while making sure the protocol is safe. So there are a lot of things that go behind the product and as a result we kind of craft out our um new category, leveraging farming category. And you know, I think after that a lot of projects also um you know, for the ideas which we take the compliment for um to, to, to be another scenes. So that's one of the product, Right? And I think back in 2020 early 2021 the tv or total value locked went up to about three billion dollars.

Um, and majority of the users are from around the world, right? It's not, it's not just from Thailand, which is where I am, it's not just from the U. S. Which is where a lot of the detail users are from, from global. Um, so, so that's, I think it's something that really took off. And, you know, after the product, we also started to build a lot of other products to, you might have heard of Alpha X, you might have heard of Alpha by wall. Um, and, and other products. So I can share a bit more, you know, the rationale of why we rebuild that and the learnings we get. Um, and also, you know, how all those things kinda make us realize that, hey, let's actually become a ventured out.

Yeah. And it's pretty crazy like how many founders can say that they build a product with over $3 billion locked in and it's not a layer one. Uh, you know, where the stake is like $3 billion I think that's like fairly common. But then for, you know, end user consumer facing product to have that much capital. I think that that's, that's truly a testament to kind of what you guys have built and I always think it's a, it's a very flattering thing when you are getting forked align, right? So like you to swap was the first of its kind and then it was forked so many times in the different food farms and remember when you guys build Alpha home aura through a lot of different forks on ethereum and on other chains as well, so that was definitely, you know, a great, great sign that you guys were driving the innovation um before I move on to like the dow aspects, I'm curious like when you were first deciding to build out Alpha home aura, you know, what drove you to build this lever deal farming, you know, product out of all the things that you could have built out there.

Mhm. I think it was really interesting approach. Um and and again, I don't think you can apply that approach in a bear market, how we see it is in the bull market, you have different, you need different kind of approach versus bear market, right? In bull market, in which there is number one, so much attention um in the space, Number two is so much liquidity. Number three attention is actually very diverted. So there are so many, you know, new heights, new narrative that are trying to to take that, you know attention away from from the users, Right? So number the key thing, number one is that we need to um pretty much catch the right narrative at the right time in order to launch a product that is successful day one, right? Otherwise it's going to be, you know, like a slow growth product um and back in early, well mid of 2020 that was farming, that, that became one of the key growth hacking or the first growth hacking event in defi or even in in Blockchain, right? Because if you look at the past tvl since you know 2018 until 2020 before d five summer or you farming um all the total value log has always been maximal at 10 million I think. Yeah, 10 million. So within one month of you farming um it was the first time ever in defi or in web three that that that that total value of doubles in one month, which is you know, like monumental moment, right? So we realized that hey, this is a really monumental moment that we have to do something around you farming um because this is where like all the attention, all the liquidity is at, because it's the first time that there is a successful like growth hacking in defy that has worked.

Um so so you know, that's the initial rationale and then we started to dig around, play around because we also, you know, you farm ourselves, you know, all our teams are pretty quick to native and we realized that hey, like the nature of the people using these products are, you know very risk seeking right? And by default like manually they would lever up already and it's super inefficient, it's super slow, you have to use multiple D. Apps um over Clara saying like many d. Apps at the same time and it just doesn't make sense. So we built an M. V. P. Version quickly in just like two weeks audited, launched in another two weeks. So in one in one month we were able to test that idea right? And it got super well received by the community and that's why we we expanded a lot um to become new versions, expensive machines and all that.

Yeah and I think that's one thing that really stood out to me for you guys as a team is just how fast you executed. And I think you guys always had a very clear process which I think a lot of teams in crypto can actually learn from. And I previously wrote this blog post um about kind of how a lot of crypto projects are really just throwing stuff at the wall and and if it sticks and it sticks, if it doesn't it doesn't but there's no like process for experimentation and iteration, but you guys were very clear in terms of just researching market gaps and you know that took you know a very short amount of time and then quickly building that M. V. P. Which took also a really short amount of time and just go in the market really really quickly. Um And subsequently you kind of use the same process on you know, different products as well, which some taken off, you know, some didn't take off, but all those learnings seemed to have fed into this new kind of ventured out type of structure. So I'm curious, can you tell us a little bit about just how Alpha finance became Alpha ventured out and you know, is it still related to Alpha finance and how does that work?

Yeah. So I would say um what we did at Alpha Finance has you know, transition and and expanded to become Alpha mentioned out. Right? So what we realized is that we want to and the mission has always been the same in which we want to build an ecosystem of you know, successful web, three D. Apps, whether it's a project, whether it's a product. Um And pretty much, you know, initially we were taking the lab approach the 100% lab approach in which we rebuild everything right? Um what we realize is that number one, um it's not as scalable, right? We want to eventually want to be able to work with the community on a lot of these things. Um Number two is as the team scales um the process that you were talking about, you know, the process to M. V. P. The process to rationalizing the product idea also have to scale with the team to write and I think um scaling the capability in the team is also another challenge to make sure that it it grows as fast as how we we want the product to be shipped right?

Um Which I think I'm sure if you talk to to every founder I think um training the team is you know one big challenge for sure especially when the talent in crypto is super limited right? Because it's such a new area. Um So I think with those rationales and and and you know the thesis that we have um kind of push us to explore beyond just building everything ourselves and hence the lab part to expand to become an innovator, an incubator as well. So now we have two arms under Alpha venture dial right in which we build things. We continue to build things as a builder but we also incubate a lot of projects. Um And working with more with the community in incubation. Um So at the end of the day I think Alpha ventured out becomes a web three venture builder and incubator. And I think that that alone extends from the fact that we really believe in what? Three. Um And defy is only one part of what? Three right? Which we started from defi and now we're expanding into other sectors.

Um So I would say we're a sector agnostic. Um But we have a thesis within each sector. Um Let's say within defi we have a thesis of what kind of products we want to build, what kind of projects we want to incubate and saying for, you know, NFI sector, saying for Dow's tooling sector, Same for, you know, games sector as well. So eventually we Wanna Wanna be that Web three layer um and with three enabler for for for the new projects.

God, that's really interesting. And I think that's a good segway to talking about some of the processes that you have for some of the mental frameworks that you had as a founder, um that I think a lot of other founders out there can learn from, especially when it comes to, you know, identifying the right market gap and also kind of the market timing aspect of launching a product which not enough founders seem to think about. Um, but first, you know, just to zoom out a little bit, looking at defy right now, which was obviously the initial focus for Alpha. Now after defy summer, A lot of the speculation has been washed out and globally, all the assets in encrypted have fallen by 90% or so. Um, and as a founder, you know, how do you determine, you know, when to kind of chase the narrative and when to kind of really pull back a bit, you know, how do you identify sustainable trends? And um, I guess we can use that opportunity to also talk about, you know, where do you think defi is going in the long term? Was that kind of the one bull market will have or you know, do foresee more adoption coming back?

Yeah, a lot of good questions in that one question. So I would say I have a lot of thoughts about this because I think a lot of people try to put a framework in, you know, for further questions that you do have, but it's actually you cannot really have a framework for it. You can have some variables that you track and then you change your strategy based on those variables and how they change. Right? So I think the variable number one is whether it's a bull market or bear market because that changes everything. Um if it's bull market, like I was saying there's so much attention, so much liquidity um in the space and hence if you launch anything, you will get adoption, whether it's adopted a little bit or adopted a lot. Right. In the bear market it's very different. Um I would say people are not chasing new narrative because people are scared. People try to tend tend to stick to what they think will work or what they think, you know, have worked already as opposed to trying new things. So I think launching new narrative or like new type of products in bear market is not really strategic. So you know, that's that's one variable right in terms of whether it's bull or bear um the second variable I would say is if it's in Bull, right?

And if you're a new project, you really have to catch the right narrative, um, and build something around that even though it's a short term narrative, right? Uh, Let's say, you know, you're farming, um, I think people know that it's, it's, you know, it's not gonna be like 10 year thing, right? It's one way to grow tech. But if you're a new project that's going to be a way for you to, to be known in the space and then after that you can maybe pivot the product or even do a new product that, um, that creates sustainable value, for example. Um, if you're not a new project, if you're, you know, a project that runs for a long time, but you're looking to continue to expand the product, then I think it's less about catching the right narrative, but really focusing more on building that sustainable value because after the product has been live for, you know, some time or after a project has been live for some time. The community, the investors, the people in general will start to look at, hey, like what's the value being captured? Right? Um, sometimes it's the fee captured sometimes is the toca nomics itself that has to be adjusted to capture some value. Um, so I think that's the second thing, like, where are you in that project timeline? Um, and that alone will also change the strategy and direction of how you think of growing forward, so similar to Alpha two, right? This is also why we launched Alpha Home or a which is the leverage you farming back in bull market capturing the trend, um pushing the product fast, getting known for for for being, you know, in the innovator, um getting known for shipping, you know, fast product and quality product and now we're transitioning to a phase in which we're generating sustainable values through incubating because we also have different economics behind the scene that also captured the values from, from um you know, intubation as well. And then over time people will realize that, oh, like this is a sustainable model, this is a project um that the they believe in because of the sustainable value capturing.

So I think like yeah, playing around with those variables and really developing more mental models of like what are other variables that that founders have to think through. Um and and not just like, you know, there's a product and let's launch the timing and everything also matters.

Yeah, and that's a really good second to my question. So I think something that's really unique about crypto is that the pain points or the market gaps are usually very niche. It's it's like very severe pain points but faced by, you know, maybe not that many people relative to, you know, bigger global problems. So I think one of my favorite frameworks for thinking about like what two startups is this framework of vitamins versus painkillers. So vitamins or startups that ask, wouldn't it be cool if we can do this and this and usually it's pie in the sky type of idea. Um, but the pain killer startups are, wouldn't it be nice if we don't have to, you know, wait in the rain for taxis all the time and that, that was basically what Uber was trying to solve. So very frequent and very significant pain points based by a lot of people. But when I apply that to crypto, it's almost flipped. So when I look at the most valuable protocols and companies, it's the vitamin startups, it's it's the startups that ask, wouldn't it be cool if we can re create the whole internet in a decentralized setting. So we have all the later ones instantly commanding, you know, $45 billion or $50 billion valuations. But then if you look at the pain killer startups, which are things like camera or you know, maybe a slightly better version unit swap, maybe an MTV resistant type of swab. Those projects tend to have a much shorter kind of half life, right?

They have a match, massive bump up in adoption. But then when the bull market subsides, maybe the pain points for crypto began to evolve away from those. So I'm curious, you know, as a founder, how do you balance between deciding solving and immediate but maybe small problem that might not last a long time versus, you know, really gunning for that 10, 20 year vision that might be really pie in the sky.

Hmm, interesting question. Um, I would say, can I pick it back from my, my previous question? My answer though one is because it's so new. Like the whole space is so new if you're betting if you're a new project and you're betting on like a two year or like even like three year problem, um, I would say it's a bit trickier because number one, no one knows how three years is going to be investors also don't know. Um, and as a result they're more, you know, look warm to invest. They may invest for sure. Which means that you may have to have really strong other aspects. For example, you may have to have a really like strong team and, and dynamic in the team, The core finding team is like God, like level or something, right. Something that can compensate the investors. That, okay, it's worth betting on three year problem or even five years. Right. So, so that's one.

Um, the second is, if you're a new project, I would say it's easier to, to be known from the short term problem for sure. And then after that you can pivot your strategy, um, and, and expand your project later on, right. And I think within the crypto startups or even crypto investors. Um, everyone is used to pivoting just because of the, the, you know how young the industry is. Right. Um, and I think once you're getting, once you're known, that's already a one big achievement because as I was saying, you know, this attention is really diverted in this whole space. There are like so many new projects all the time, so many new talent and and high quality talent flowing in, Right? So how do you stand out among all of this? Because if you don't stand out and you're just going to be one of the typical projects, um, and it's gonna be really hard to break out into, you know, from the typical projects to be like, well known. So I think once you're well known, figure out a way to be well known right? Once you're well known, then you can convert your strategy to make it more sustainable or even um, tackle the longer term problem. So I think that's my take.

Um, I don't think that's going to be how it is now though. Um, So I think like, like, like what I was saying, like there's so many variables and whether it's bull market or bear market is also a big variable as well. So if applying that framework or mindset to the bear market, I think it's not super strategic to capture, um, or like, right with the trend in the bear market because whatever trend it is, um, there's still no adoption on chain anyways, um, there's limited attention, There's limited um you know liquidity on chain. So it's more strategic to invest in the longer term problem if you're standing out in a bear market um that investing in a short term problem because once launched then it's it's very likely that there's going

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So if you're already trading might as well get paid to do it. So if any of that sounds interesting to you. I highly recommend that you head on over to Dy Dx dot exchange to learn more and I thank them for sponsoring this episode. Mm I see that's that's really interesting. Kind of using market timing and bull markets as a waste as a way to catalyze your initial, you know, use your onboarding and I think your point about kind of finding something to help you stand out as a project also really echoes, I think Kyle Samani, who's also whose fund multi capital, there's also an investor in Alpha when he talks about as the wedge. So every project needs a wedge to basically drive themselves into the mind share of the market before they can expand. And I think a really good example other than Alpha is also dy dx, who who's actually a sponsor of the show, but you know, I would have mentioned them even if they don't sponsor me, but they basically started as an exchange and on board a lot of users as an exchange and then now they're expanding vertically, two layer one. And you kind of see that with like one inch as well, They tried with, you know, an aggregator first and then expanding to a marketplace, which didn't really quite work out, but that seems to be the end goal for a lot of projects, which is, you know, find a small specific and sharp pain point to solve first and then expand using that. Um do you kind of find yourself thinking that way as well and um, you know, has, has that kind of driven a library decisions that Alpha?

Yeah, yeah, that's a good point you bring up because if you check out all the products, we've done all the projects we've incubated, They are all very specific. Um, but really, I would say specific and, and clear of how they are going to go to market and capture that, that whole area. Um, and then once they can capture that whole area and we know for that particular area that it's going to be a lot easier to, you know, expand or pivot or, um, you know, expand their, their, their product offerings. Um, so yeah, I think that's the rationale we always do.

Yeah. I mean, that approach always makes more sense to me than projects that are trying to boil the ocean. Like just coming out and saying, we're going to be the internet computer. Um, not to kind of name specific projects, but I think a lot of people know what projects I'm talking about. Um, but I think that's a really good way to talk about you as an incubator slash angel investors. Obviously you're involved with us as tangent as an angel investor and you're also intubating a lot of projects. So when you're picking the right products, like what are some key areas that really excite you right now in this bear market.

Mm. So in my opinion, I'm gonna explain to, you know, different sectors, right? Just because alpha is like sector agnostic as well. And these are like, you know, some examples of the high level thesis that we have um, internally. So within defi like in my opinion and, and, and this is not just, um random opinion right? It makes sense from what has happened in the last pool, what happened in you know in april and may with you know different scenarios that took place. So in my opinion like a lot of the defi products that we're going to build and projects that we're going to intubate, we'll focus a lot on insurance. Insurance alone doesn't mean getting insured but it also includes hedging risk risk management um and goes into how institutions management risk and provide solutions on chain to be able to do that better. So within that area right frank example there are a lot of institutions that have been using defi since the last bull market right? And in my opinion in order for you know the D five bull market to come back it has to be institutions because retail have been burned a lot um whether it's through institutions or you know directly. So in order for institutions to come back we have to have like a really good way for them to hatch um nervous not just hedging their positions but for example you know different institutions that I've talked to. They have a lot of pain points in having to you know do their accounting or internal accounting policies.

That's why they have to close their positions on a daily basis. So there are different tools defy tooling um that can you know offload that um things for them which they have to do anyways for their risk management. Um Then you know that's 11 area that we're excited about. Um So that's within defi right? I think within N. F. T. I would say it's less about um the NFC project itself. I think there are two layers that we're excited about. One is um the bridge between Web two artists and Web three. Because I think Web two artists has always been um you know seeking for global liquidity right? Like in in typical art industry it's really hard to get liquidity and it's also really confined within a particular geographical area.

Right? And N. F. T. Is like the first mental moment that that is eye opening to two artists. Um So I think if there are any a lot if there is any you know tooling or or products that really can onboard with two artists into Web three. Um That's the area that we're looking at. Um The second thing is you know for the entities that are on chain already I think in the last bull market or even you know recently people have been on board it, right? And it's also another monumental moment in which um it's the first time that we have non D. Five people on chain which is which is good. Um But then now you know these people are questioning what can you do next with their N. F.

T. S. Right? Apart from you know flipping um So I think that's why a lot of the entity N. F. T. Analytics, N. F. T. Infrastructure, N. F. T.

Finance will come into play. So just driving different kind of usages of these entities which we have as an industry, you know onboard this whole massive number of people to the industry already but now they're clueless of what they can do next after being on boarded.

Yeah. That's really interesting. And it's I think you also touched on this kind of briefly but we mentioned kind of market timing being important as well. But when you're looking at these opportunities, how do you determine market sizing? Like how do you determine whether N. F. T. Analytics is going to support you know a maybe $100 million company or maybe a unicorn or maybe a $10 billion company?

Yeah. I think several things. One is just expecting from the trajectory, right? Because in my opinion um what we had in the last, you know, N. F. T. Bull run was more on like like actual like web three arts in which is not, you know actual art. I would say so not like you know when Alyssa or anything like that, right? Um And if you look at the trend, a lot of artists are really interested, a lot of our distributors are trying to educate themselves in Blockchain um in web three so that they can you know serve their safety. They can serve their web to artists. So given that alone, that means that there's just gonna be a lot more entities or artists coming into the space when there's so much more data coming into the space, that means that you just need a lot better way to analyze different data, make use of those data into different actions. So I think there's a natural progression.

Um that's one um the second thing is that if you look at the current offerings of um you know, data analytics product nowadays right there, there's pretty much no products that are sector specific. So there are like data analysis for general data but just happened so that in the past data on chain has been deified. Um that's why a lot of the data analysis platforms are all the defi products or like they defy data. So I think there's like a niche there in which hey, this is like a new sector of data that's coming on board to unchain and there's no product offering that actually is built for that particular type of data. Um Yeah.

God, that's yeah, that's interesting because I think recently even attention, we've spoken to a few companies that are building like aggregators of data platforms for NFC collections um and uh I think there's some interesting things happening, but I agree, I think most of the most popular platforms for data is like incredibly general generalized right now. Um and there needs to be some sort of, you know, thematic focus. Um And you know that's on one side of the spectrum, on the other side of the spectrum we've seen companies that focus way too niche, so they only focus on like one type of N. F. T. S. For instance, but who knows maybe that's the which they need in the market to expand to a general marketplace, you know, going back to your point about finding that one thing that helps you stand out. Um So I'm curious. So let's say you found the right uh kind of product, you found someone building a company in N. F. T. And analytics or you found someone building right insurance model that that you like.

Um And then you turn to look at the team building that actual product, you know, what are the core traits that you try to look in a team that you want to incubate or invest in?

Mm I would say several things. Um Some of these things might sound like common sense but I think some people also like overlook it. Um Especially in in crypto one is long term for sure. So in order for you, for you to understand long term you actually need to understand their motivation, understand the team dynamic, understand how how the team like has known each other or like how long they've known each other have they worked together before all those things. Right? Um The second thing is I would say professional, listen um I think that is very, very important, especially in crypto, in which the talent is quite young. Um, I think in the good days professionalism, you know, doesn't make the difference much, but in the bad days it actually does, let's say, you know, if if the product is hacked or like if something goes wrong, um the level of professionalism of how they handle that will, will show, um and you don't want a team that that cannot handle tough situations will um yeah, to be invested because I would say, yeah, like every project will have to go through at least one bad incident. Um, so, so no choice for that, the third thing, and I think the most important thing is a fighter spirit or like the tenacity that they have, like, the vibe that they show that they never give up. Um and I think it's super important, a lot more important for crypto startups than typical tech startups, because number one crypto moves so fast and as we were saying that you might have to pivot after two months, you might have to, you know, expand, you know, in a month. Um, and the second is because the whole industry is so new, um you never know what's gonna work and how, how the industry is going to be, right? So that's why you need to be able to, to, to have the fighter spirit and always try to find a way to make it work because what worked, you know, last month may not work in the next few months. Um, so I think that's, yeah, that's, that's the key thing.

Yeah, I, I think I agree with all of those. Um, I think the challenge for me is like, how do you determine that in your due diligence process? Because there's a lot of the times when you invest in a project, regardless of whether you're a VC or an angel or your retail investor trying to talk to a team on this course to learn more, um, you're really only given a limited amount time with the team, you know, team is not going to spend hours and hours with you and you don't get to sit with them and work with them. And so it's very hard to service some of those things, like for instance, you know, a few projects that I've got involved with before, you know, they have amazing pitches, they talk a huge game, great vision. They seem like they have great work ethic. And then, you know, a few months later, half a year later, a year later, I check in and it turns out they're paying themselves, you know, massive salaries and are just basically relaxing or, you know, they just shut down the initial product and are just sitting on the money and trying to research what to do for months and months without any kind of communication. So that kind of, it's hard to predict that ahead of time, especially Because there's often minimal legal recourse in investing in like the centralised communities. It's not like equity investors can sue your founders for just embezzlement or anything like that. Um so how do you like identify good integrity, could work ethic in just, you know, a 30 minute call with the founder? Like are there specific questions that you ask?

Yeah, very good question. I think especially the in integrity part that's really hard to, to to identify right, but I think two things that have helped me um also maybe 1930 minutes, probably like in an hour one is understanding the dynamic between co founders and the founding team. This is also why I don't really like one person from founding team or like 11 founder, um because the dynamic between co founders, you can identify, you know, who is keeping whom accountable in one particular area, um and you can also identify what kind of person each person is and and how that fits together, because for example, if you have a red flag, a little bit of red flag that hey, this person a um can be, can be sloppy for exam, but there's the dynamic of this, another person b which is super organized and structured in making sure everything is okay and such as a result, this person is keeping this person accountable for their actions right? So I think that dynamic between co founders is really, really important. Um that's the first one, The second one, I think comes down a lot to just really get to getting to know them as a friend without having them realize that you're evaluating them. Um so just really like understanding why they make different decisions in their life, right? Not related to work even um can be in their schools, can be in their different like trigger points and really understand like how they come to solutions of what they decide to do and what decisions they decide to forgo because I think everything is about opportunities and opportunity costs, right? So by understanding what decisions they decide to forgo you can also kind of gauge the level of like integrity, moral as well. Yeah,

that's a really, really great point. I remember there's a founder that Daryl and I spoke recently doing a institutional data platform, we ended up passing a tangent, but I think really, really highly of the team and remember the founder was telling us that yeah, I forego i for for forgot maybe $10, $20 million dollars worth of a payout at his really prestigious institutional job and gave up all of that to build this start up from scratch and that to me was an amazing sign that okay, this this guy is really serious about this. Um but going back to your first point, right, when when you're trying to figure out co founder dynamics, you know, how do you figure that out on the call? Do you just trying to see you know who answers what questions or how do you figure that out?

Yeah I think I would probably break it down to 23 ways of evaluating the first way is I would try to ask various questions in different areas and see who answer and see like if if I dig deeper into one particular area is still the same person answering right? Because I think if it's not, then it would mean that hey someone's holding you know, a higher power card and then that means that I have to evaluate that person a bit more than the other person because that's the person who will determine the type of the culture, the type of you know the dynamic within the co founder. Um I think that's that's one way right? The second way is try to also talk to each founder um separately in different calls. And then you'll also be able to gauge if that particular person talks to you differently than when when when he or she was in a group setting, right? And I think that difference shows a lot um let's say if you know one particular person is a bit shy and allowing another person to talk a bit more in the group setting but when you talk to him or her in separate session and you know, he's actually a very chill and like you know a very friendly person that I think there's something wrong with the dynamic. Um, and then you can kind of gauge a bit more of like, ah, yeah, that's, that's a bit weird. And then you can kind of know where to dig because I think the founder dynamic is pretty much like everything. Yeah,

that's, that's a really important point. I think when a lot of people look into crypto projects, they over index on ideas and you know, something I've talked about before, but you know, people always just look at the white paper, the mechanism of the design. That's obviously like 60 70% of the thing. But the remaining 30% is the team that's driving this thing. Like they, if they're dysfunctional, they're not able to build this thing, They're not able to ship this out. And there's so many examples of this, I think that retail investors are probably not privy to, but because they only see the massive VC wins, but they don't see the 100 losses that happen. And most of those are driven by team issues usually. So I think that's such an important point to highlight, um, as we come to the last final minutes, I'd love to kind of come back and wrap up everything we've discussed on alpha and also for you as an incubator and investor as well? Um, you know, as a founder slash investor, you know, what do you think are some of the things that, you know, investors who maybe don't have the founding background tend to miss about running a crypto startup.

Mm You mean about investing in crypto startups?

Um, I guess just what are some of the things that they might not understand that, you know, crypto fabrics go through? You know, never run a crypto startup before.

Mm a lot

marinating in there.

Just trying to think, um, to, to like come up with a few things. I think number one is um, really understanding and, and pretty much, you know, a lot of investors don't understand that, um, the project founders or, you know, the project themselves feel that they have to present as if everything's good and like ready and, and perfect to the investors, right? When reality, you know, there's so many things they have to chuckle because of the pivots because of the, you know, the expansion of the space or, you know, the regulations that happen. So I think, um, if the founders show that have been going through struggles, then investors may be a bit, you know, skeptical and, and, and feel, um, I don't know, I feel a bit less confident in the team, for example. Right? So I think the founders are afraid that hey, they don't want to show their weakness or like actual struggles they're going through and pretend to be like, hey, everything's okay. Um, so, so I think that's number one, if investors understand that, Hey, you know, there's so many weaknesses. There's so many like struggles they have to go through and, and can reassure the projects that no matter what struggles they're going through, the investor is going to be on the side and, and just helping and not, I'm judging or like not, um, you know, um, selling, um, there are the investments then then I think that's, that's a very big, yeah, big thing for investments can do. Hmm,

that's interesting. Yeah, I think, um, you know, that's, that's something that I always try to tell, you know, companies have invested in that, hey, you've already convinced me, I'm already on board. You don't have to convince me on every catch up call. Just tell me what challenges you're facing and we'll try to help. But I actually didn't really think of the fact that maybe they're worried that I'll, you know, sell their shares or sell their tokens to other funds, you know, changes. So that's definitely a really good point to highlight. Um, I'm sure there's a lot more that we can cover here, but I want to be conscious of your time as well. So Tasha, it's always great to have you on the show. Um, and I think it's the first time we've actually gone to dive into how you think as a founder and not just into the products that you're building or incubating. So this is really interesting. Um, so for people who want to maybe reach out to you for alpha over tangent or through whatever means, um, what are some of the best channels they can do that?

Yeah, let's say twitter is the best channel the handle is Tasha, T S C H A underscore P N P N. Yeah, so dM me and then I'll get back to you,

definitely. I will include those in the show notes below. And once again, Tasha, thank you so much for coming on the show.

Thank you.

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