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Steve Jang & Kanyi Maqubela form or fund as Kindred Ventures

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Venture capitalists often mutter, “I haven’t seen anything I like lately.” Founders frequently complain that “investors are back-seat drivers who won’t get their hands dirty.” A $56 million fund with a fresh approach is aiming to address both those issues.

Steve Jang and Kanyi Maqubela are two exceedingly smart and sweet guys who couldn’t help but come up with ideas for startups. Jang co-founded music apps Imeem and Soundtracking, meanwhile serving as an early Uber advisor and angel investor in Coinbase. Maqubela worked in operations at career network Doostang (acquired by Universum Global) and solar startup One Block Off the Grid (acquired by NRG) before rising to general partner at Collaborative Fund.

Today the pair officially launch Kindred Ventures to form startups as well as fund them.

“We don’t want to wait for people to come around and solve the problems we think matter,” says Jang. “We’d rather proactively assemble an amazing team to go tackle that problem,” Maqubela follows up. But Kindred Ventures will also step up and lead seed rounds, then help startups orchestrate their follow-on fundraises.

Kindred Ventures partner and co-founder Steve Jang

“The ethos is empathy — to take a very adaptive coaching and mentorship model,” Jang tells me. That means partnering with startups, not merely offering arm’s-length investing. By keeping the portfolio size low, Jang and Maqubela plan to turn concentrated conviction and outsized, hands-on effort into big stakes in tomorrow’s top companies.

“I originally wanted to call the fund Kindred Spirits, but it sounds a little too woo-woo,” Jang says with a laugh. From multiple interviews with the team and its portfolio, though, that’s really the vibe Kindred Ventures is going for — to be the first people founders call when they’re in crisis… whether they need answers or just some cheering up.

Techno-optimism

Beyond the warm smiles, Kindred already has a strong track record from its prototype phase under Jang’s solo operation since 2014. He’d made a reputation for himself as a fixer through his advising work during Uber’s scrappy early years starting in 2009. It began with Jang writing Garrett Camp a check for his side-project. As the company blossomed without full-time employees, Jang pitched in wherever he could.

After Imeem’s sale to Myspace and later Soundtracking’s acquisition by Rhapsody, Jang made about 50 angel investments of around $25,000 to $250,000 in companies like Coinbase, Blue Bottle Coffee, Postmates and Zymergen under the name Kindred Ventures. Instead of just throwing money around, “I’d help a co-founder — sit down and work with them on product, their presentation for seed funding, hiring their first employees, finding a co-founder — it was quite different from how VCs operate.” Still, he wanted to lead more investments like his favorite seed funds First Round and True Ventures while remaining a thick-or-thin squire to his startups.

But to pour that kind of sweat into the portfolio, Jang needed the help of someone who could dig deep and become an ally to founders in any vertical. He needed someone like Kanyi.

After his stints in operations, Maqubela went on to work at Collaborative Fund for seven years, rising to partner at the firm looking for the intersection of positive impact and profit. He tells me developed a thesis about “what does it mean to be a techno-optimist?: to believe that technology is amoral but can be oriented towards good.”

Maqubela’s super-power is learning. I knew him from Stanford, and now the same reputation precedes him through his portfolio of angel investments like Earnest and Buffer. He’ll immerse himself in any topic or industry, read and call people until he truly gets it and then wedge his entrepreneurial skill set into the cracks to firm up an idea. Still relatively new to venture, Maqubela was seeking someone with a well-worn process for investing and a big heart for what founders go through. He was looking for Steve.

Kindred Ventures partner and co-founder Kanyi Maqubela

The coincidental co-investors became friends, then deliberately funded startups side by side, and now are taking the leap as Kindred Ventures. Together they want to redefine “What does it mean to invest at t=0?. What do they really need?,” Maqubela says.

The plan is to fund about 25 companies through pre-seed and seed per fund, which they’ll raise every two to three years. Kindred is vertical agnostic, but it has a soft spot for the future of cities, work and living. It’s also keen on marketplaces, material science, food innovation, deep tech, enterprise SAAS and developer tools.

Jang and Maqubela are learning from each other day by day, at home and in the office. They’ve each got their own toddler son to juggle alongside Kindred. Added responsibility seems to have made both of them conscious of how each minute counts, no matter who they’re with. The result is you’ll often hear the word “nicest” whenever people describe the pair.

Get in formation

So far Kindred Ventures has funded nine startups from its $55 million initial fund. It’s helped form two companies and hopes to do four to eight per fund. But Kindred won’t be taking founder-level equity in those. Instead it just wants the opportunity to lead the seed round and own 10% to 20% by the time of the Series A.

That makes Kindred Ventures distinct from most startup studios like Atomic that aim for bigger ~30% stakes. “The Studios are creating whole platform teams, services teams, only work on their own ideas, and own a considerable amount of equity,” Jang notes. By leaving more shares for the real CEO, “We’d be able to work with a stronger profile of founders” while avoiding spending so much time per company that the model becomes unscalable. “We’re there at the formation of the company, but it’s not our company.”

Kindred’s two formations come from the disparate medicine and blockchain worlds. Maqubela became an expert in cardiology to help start Heartbeat, which does in-person and remote heart-health diagnostics. “I have a clear bullshit meter for when non-healthtech people try to get into it,” but Maqubela really figured it out, Heartbeat CEO Jeff Wessler, MD, tells me.

On his experience with Kindred, “It’s ‘we’re there for you when you need us’ rather than ‘we’re there for you when we fund you and then we move on,’ ” Wessler says. “Very quickly this evolved into Steve and Kanyi being my absolute numbers 1 and 2.” The investors gave Wessler Entrepreneurship 101 coaching, provided Heartbeat’s first funding and helped it build a team. With their help, the first-time founder has sidestepped common pitfalls and is already turning patients into customers with its $2.5 million in funding.

Bitski, a blockchain app login platform, has quickly leveraged Kindred’s support with formation into big funding from top investors. Bitski CEO Donnie Dinch tells me, “In the early days, Steve would be in the office with us, late night jamming on ideas around the evolution of the blockchain space, fundamental products that needed to exist, early use cases etc. There’s a lot of money available for seed-stage projects, but it can be difficult to find an investor willing to grind with the team through the days of pre product-market fit.”

Bitski actually started as collaborative video production app Riff. But Jang and Maqubela’s advice helped it solidy pivot into developer tools for decentralized apps. It’s since gone on to raise $3.5 million from SV Angel, Coinbase, Galaxy Digital and the Winklevoss twins. “The collaborative tone of the relationship really stands out,” says Dinch of Kindred. “Obviously, operating with a high-touch model can take more of the partners’ time, but we haven’t noticed any drop in availability or support.”

Plenty of funds talk a lot about getting their hands dirty. Often that means hiring big teams they can assign to help founders, though, while the partners focus elsewhere. With just two support staff, Jang and Maqubela don’t have that luxury. They’re in constant contact with their investments by WhatsApp, phone and email to work through snags directly.

They’re always super responsive,” says Michael Karnjarnaprakorn, co-founder of collectibles investing startup Otis that was backed by Kindred’s prototype fund. He cites three big value-adds. Strategy: “Anytime I’m thinking through a big decision, I call them to help me think through it,” including fundraising and product launches. Network: “They have an extremely strong network and are usually one to two degrees away from anyone.” And “everything else,” from mentorship on founder psychology to company building.

Undertaking such intense involvement in their whole portfolio would likely surface concerns about a green VC. But “Steve has essentially been doing this for a decade or so not formalized, so I don’t see any reason it can’t work,” says one of Kindred’s stealth startup founders Brian Norgard. “As companies begin to scale, my sense is they will be less effective because that’s a different game that’s more on the operations side. Still, I see a lot of value that can be created in the early innings.”

Kindred had a sort of grit and passion for early-stage founders and teams that we thought would give us an edge as we started to grow quickly,” says health insurance company Catch‘s co-founder Kristen Tyrrell.” They have been genuinely interested in our mental health. Having Steve fly in to take us to dinner and tell us we’re doing OK is surprisingly meaningful when you’re fighting on every side.”

NEW YORK, NY – MAY 10: Kanyi Maqubela of Collaborative Fund speaks onstage during TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2016 at Brooklyn Cruise Terminal on May 10, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for TechCrunch)

But being high-touch and concerned with entrepreneurs’ well-being doesn’t mean becoming a push-over yes-man. “Founder empathy is not always founder-friendly,” says Maqubela. “It’s being able to disagree with founders, even very passionately, and still constructively working together. To be able to tell them they’re wrong but come out the other side.”

That means Kindred Ventures isn’t for every founder. Those who want their investors firmly belted in the backseat or locked in the trunk may want to look elsewhere for cash. Smart founders will take all the help they can get, and Kindred strives to give the most per dollar. Jang concludes that, “The idea may come from them or come from us, but we want to back amazing founders on a mission. It’s scratching both itches for us.”

[Image Credit: Jill Baker Photography]

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2019/11/18/kindred-ventures/

Blockchain

CBDCs Are Not That Stable And May Eventually Kill Bitcoin, Says Financial Expert

Financial journalist Edward Chancellor predicted that launching central bank digital currencies can be catastrophic for Bitcoin.

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Edward Chancellor – a British journalist and financial historian, explained that the first central bank digital currencies are likely to raise inflation which can lead to the destruction of Bitcoin. He agreed that CBDCs are ”cool” but certainly not stable.

CBDCs Would Mean The End Of BTC

Nowadays, many central banks of numerous leading economies such as China, Japan, and the US, are researching the option of launching their own CBDC. In a recent interview for Reuters, Edward Chancellor opined that central bank digital currencies are highly risky projects.

He said that CBDCs might even kill Bitcoin. Chancellor explained that it is much easier to distribute and ”print” digital currencies rather than cash, and that will cause an utterly high level of inflation.

He then added that in order to solve the issue, the governments and central banks would have to fix the emission of their digital coins – which number would be much higher than 21 million bitcoins:

”When banks get it right with CBDCs this will kill Bitcoin.”

The historian analyzed that changes in the form of money are normal and have happened multiple times in the past. As an example, he pointed to the paper money which once replaced metal coins. Chancellor predicted that in the process of the financial revolution, digital currencies would invade the world, but he opined that Bitcoin would not be among one of them.


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In conclusion, the journalist said that central bank digital currencies are ”cool” as a project but can not qualify as stable.

Deutsche Bank on CBDCs

Recently, the multinational investment banking giant – Deutsche bank – shared similar thoughts. The CIO of the German institution – Christian Nolting – predicted that CBDCs could damage Bitcoin’s role as a payment instrument. He also suggested that the primary cryptocurrency could serve as a store of value.

According to Nolting, the crypto industry is ”here to stay.” On the other hand, he warned that ”governments and more digitally-aware populations might ultimately prefer to go with CBDCs,” instead of relying on the decentralized nature of BTC. Furthermore, some potentially harming legislative frameworks developed by world regulators could reduce digital assets’ chances of serving as international payment instruments:

”A widespread introduction of CBDCs accompanied by higher regulation of cryptocurrencies could create a more challenging environment for crypto assets as some of their advantages compared to traditional financial assets would fade in the longer term.”

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/cbdcs-are-not-that-stable-and-may-eventually-kill-bitcoin-says-financial-expert/

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Blockchain

CBDCs Are Not That Stable And May Eventually Kill Bitcoin, Says Financial Expert

Financial journalist Edward Chancellor predicted that launching central bank digital currencies can be catastrophic for Bitcoin.

Avatar

Published

on

Edward Chancellor – a British journalist and financial historian, explained that the first central bank digital currencies are likely to raise inflation which can lead to the destruction of Bitcoin. He agreed that CBDCs are ”cool” but certainly not stable.

CBDCs Would Mean The End Of BTC

Nowadays, many central banks of numerous leading economies such as China, Japan, and the US, are researching the option of launching their own CBDC. In a recent interview for Reuters, Edward Chancellor opined that central bank digital currencies are highly risky projects.

He said that CBDCs might even kill Bitcoin. Chancellor explained that it is much easier to distribute and ”print” digital currencies rather than cash, and that will cause an utterly high level of inflation.

He then added that in order to solve the issue, the governments and central banks would have to fix the emission of their digital coins – which number would be much higher than 21 million bitcoins:

”When banks get it right with CBDCs this will kill Bitcoin.”

The historian analyzed that changes in the form of money are normal and have happened multiple times in the past. As an example, he pointed to the paper money which once replaced metal coins. Chancellor predicted that in the process of the financial revolution, digital currencies would invade the world, but he opined that Bitcoin would not be among one of them.


ADVERTISEMENT

In conclusion, the journalist said that central bank digital currencies are ”cool” as a project but can not qualify as stable.

Deutsche Bank on CBDCs

Recently, the multinational investment banking giant – Deutsche bank – shared similar thoughts. The CIO of the German institution – Christian Nolting – predicted that CBDCs could damage Bitcoin’s role as a payment instrument. He also suggested that the primary cryptocurrency could serve as a store of value.

According to Nolting, the crypto industry is ”here to stay.” On the other hand, he warned that ”governments and more digitally-aware populations might ultimately prefer to go with CBDCs,” instead of relying on the decentralized nature of BTC. Furthermore, some potentially harming legislative frameworks developed by world regulators could reduce digital assets’ chances of serving as international payment instruments:

”A widespread introduction of CBDCs accompanied by higher regulation of cryptocurrencies could create a more challenging environment for crypto assets as some of their advantages compared to traditional financial assets would fade in the longer term.”

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You Might Also Like:


Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://cryptopotato.com/cbdcs-are-not-that-stable-and-may-eventually-kill-bitcoin-says-financial-expert/

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Blockchain

Bitcoin Price Hit 11-Week Low: BTC Retesting The Lowest Weekly Close Since February

Bitcoin prices have fallen to their lowest levels since the end of February as momentum wanes and the bears start rousing from their six-month hibernation.

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In early Sunday trading, BTC prices had fallen to their lowest levels for over 11 weeks, hitting $46,700 before a minor recovery.

The last time Bitcoin dropped to these levels was at the end of February during the second major correction of this ongoing rally. A rebound off that bottom sent prices above $60K for the first time in the two weeks that followed.

Later today, Bitcoin is going to close another weekly candle. In case the candle closes at those levels, this will become the worst weekly close since February 22nd, when BTC ended the week at $45,240, according to Bitstamp. Two weeks ago the weekly candle closed at $49,200, which the current lowest week close since February.

Second ‘Lower Low’ For Bitcoin

This time around, things feel slightly different and the bearish sentiment is returning to crypto-asset markets. Since its all-time high of $65K on April 14, Bitcoin has made a lower high and has now formed a second lower low on the daily chart, which is indicative of a larger downtrend developing.

Analyst ‘CryptoFibonacci’ has been eyeing the weekly chart which also suggests the bulls could be running out of steam.


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The move appears to have been driven by Elon Musk again with a tweet about Bitcoin’s energy consumption on May 13. Bitcoin’s fear and greed index has dropped to 20 – ‘extreme fear’ – its lowest level since the March 2020 market crash. At the time of press, BTC was trading at just under $48,000, down 4% over the past 24 hours.

Market Cap Shrinks by $150B

As usual, the move has initiated a selloff for the majority of other cryptocurrencies resulting in around $150 billion exiting the markets over the past day or so.

The total market cap has declined to $2.3 trillion after an all-time high of $2.5 trillion on May 12. Things are still high on the long term view but losses could accelerate rapidly if the bearish sentiment increases.

Not all crypto assets are correcting this weekend, and some have been building on recent gains to push even higher – although they are few in number.

Those weekend warriors include Cardano which has added 4.8% on the day to trade at $2.27 according to Coingecko. ADA hit an all-time high on Saturday, May 15 reaching $2.36, a gain of 54% over the past 30 days.

Ripple’s XRP is also seeing a resurgence with a 13% pump on the day to flip Cardano for the fourth spot. XRP is currently trading at $1.58 with a market cap of $73 billion. The only other two cryptocurrencies in the green at the time of writing are Stellar and Solana, gaining 3.7% and 12% respectively.

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You Might Also Like:


Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://cryptopotato.com/bitcoin-falls-to-11-week-low-as-150-billion-exits-crypto-markets/

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Blockchain

Bitcoin Price Hit 11-Week Low: BTC Retesting The Lowest Weekly Close Since February

Bitcoin prices have fallen to their lowest levels since the end of February as momentum wanes and the bears start rousing from their six-month hibernation.

Avatar

Published

on

In early Sunday trading, BTC prices had fallen to their lowest levels for over 11 weeks, hitting $46,700 before a minor recovery.

The last time Bitcoin dropped to these levels was at the end of February during the second major correction of this ongoing rally. A rebound off that bottom sent prices above $60K for the first time in the two weeks that followed.

Later today, Bitcoin is going to close another weekly candle. In case the candle closes at those levels, this will become the worst weekly close since February 22nd, when BTC ended the week at $45,240, according to Bitstamp. Two weeks ago the weekly candle closed at $49,200, which the current lowest week close since February.

Second ‘Lower Low’ For Bitcoin

This time around, things feel slightly different and the bearish sentiment is returning to crypto-asset markets. Since its all-time high of $65K on April 14, Bitcoin has made a lower high and has now formed a second lower low on the daily chart, which is indicative of a larger downtrend developing.

Analyst ‘CryptoFibonacci’ has been eyeing the weekly chart which also suggests the bulls could be running out of steam.


ADVERTISEMENT

The move appears to have been driven by Elon Musk again with a tweet about Bitcoin’s energy consumption on May 13. Bitcoin’s fear and greed index has dropped to 20 – ‘extreme fear’ – its lowest level since the March 2020 market crash. At the time of press, BTC was trading at just under $48,000, down 4% over the past 24 hours.

Market Cap Shrinks by $150B

As usual, the move has initiated a selloff for the majority of other cryptocurrencies resulting in around $150 billion exiting the markets over the past day or so.

The total market cap has declined to $2.3 trillion after an all-time high of $2.5 trillion on May 12. Things are still high on the long term view but losses could accelerate rapidly if the bearish sentiment increases.

Not all crypto assets are correcting this weekend, and some have been building on recent gains to push even higher – although they are few in number.

Those weekend warriors include Cardano which has added 4.8% on the day to trade at $2.27 according to Coingecko. ADA hit an all-time high on Saturday, May 15 reaching $2.36, a gain of 54% over the past 30 days.

Ripple’s XRP is also seeing a resurgence with a 13% pump on the day to flip Cardano for the fourth spot. XRP is currently trading at $1.58 with a market cap of $73 billion. The only other two cryptocurrencies in the green at the time of writing are Stellar and Solana, gaining 3.7% and 12% respectively.

SPECIAL OFFER (Sponsored)

Binance Futures 50 USDT FREE Voucher: Use this link to register & get 10% off fees and 50 USDT when trading 500 USDT (limited offer).

PrimeXBT Special Offer: Use this link to register & enter POTATO50 code to get 50% free bonus on any deposit up to 1 BTC.

You Might Also Like:


Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://cryptopotato.com/bitcoin-falls-to-11-week-low-as-150-billion-exits-crypto-markets/

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