Muzz (Mike Jarmuz) from Lightning Ventures joins me to chat:
- The world of Bitcoin VC
- Is it fiat?
- Investing in companies
- Thinking long term
- Problems with chainalysis
- Bitcoiner Jobs
- Should you evangelise bitcoin?
- Tips for founders
- Site: ltng.ventures
- Twitter: @MikeJarmuz
- BTCPrague.com (code LIVERA)
- Swan Bitcoin
- Unchained Capital (code LIVERA)
- CoinKite.com(code LIVERA)
Stephan Livera links:
- Follow me on Twitter @stephanlivera
- Subscribe to the podcast
- Patreon @stephanlivera
Stephan – 00:00:08:
Hi, you’re listening to Stephan Livera podcast, a show about bitcoin and Austrian economics, brought to you by Swan Bitcoin. Today for episode 444, my guest is Mike Jarmuz, also known as Muzz. He’s joining us from Lightning Ventures and we talk about a range of things. He’s coming from the world of Bitcoin venture capital. And we chat about bitcoin venture capital, obviously, and we talk about this idea of whether it’s fiat. Is it corrupting the system in some way or is it taking advantage of that? We talk about the general process of investing in companies thinking long term. We chat about his thoughts on the problems of Chainalysis as well as bitcoin or jobs, whether you should venturize bitcoin as well as tips for founders. But before the show, a message from the sponsors. Mempool.space is a next generation bitcoin blockchain explorer. It shows the multiple layers of the bitcoin ecosystem. It’s a comprehensive explorer. You can use this to target your fee before you send a bitcoin on chain transaction. You can also use it to check transactions. Now of course, you can use it yourself without trusting a third party. You can host this yourself or otherwise. Go to Mempool.space. Now, it will show you multiple aspects. It can show you the mempool, it can show you the blockchain, it can show you second layer networks like the Lightning Network. And if you’re with an enterprise, Mempool.Space offers customized Mempool instances with your company’s branding, increased API limits and more. Go find out more at Mempool.space/enterprise. If you’re looking for multisignature security for your long term hodlings, Unchained Capital can help you. They’ve got a multisig vault that’s easy to use yourself. If you want to, you can go to the website unchained.com and spin up the vault yourself with your own hardware or otherwise. If you need some assistance, they have a concierge onboarding program where they walk you through the process of setting up a two of three multi signature vault. Now, of course, you keep those two keys in two different locations. You have your own backups and Unchained holds the third key. And recently they’ve got the Unchained inheritance protocol to make sure you’re prepared for multigenerational bitcoin savings. So think about that also whether you have your stack. Have you thought about passing it on to the next generation? Unchained.com is the website to go to find out more. This show also brought to you by Blockstream, who have a new community that they are starting up. It’s called build on L Two. This is a community led effort by contributors and companies building on Core Lightning and the Liquid Network. This is an interactive community platform where builders ranging from product managers, designers and engineers can come together through events. There’s a mentorship program to fast track success and you can join and build a community. You might be able to get expert help to build your project. You may be able to showcase your work to the community, ask for support. There may be even opportunities to connect at events or join a program to fast track success. If you’re interested, go and sign up for this platform over at Build on L Two. And now onto the show with Muzz. Muzz, welcome to the show.
Mike – 00:02:54:
All right, thanks for having me, man. Nice to be here.
Stephan – 00:02:58:
Yeah, well, I’ve seen you around at some of the various conferences and have known you in the space professionally, a little bit here and there. And yeah, keen to chat a little bit about what you’re doing and also just what’s going on in the world of bitcoin. I know you were recently going at this notion that nothing’s happening in bitcoin. Is that true? There’s nothing going on in bitcoin month?
Mike – 00:03:18:
Nothing’s going on in bitcoin. It’s absolutely dead. It’s deader than ever. And not only have we hung out at some conferences, but we are peers. Because you are an active angel investor, seeding a lot of these companies with your own shop over there, the Bitcoiner Ventures crew, right?
Stephan – 00:03:37:
Yeah. I mean, from us, it’s, you know, it’s basically a syndicate. We, you know, we invest along with our syndicate members. We don’t take any carry on that this is kind of like for all of us, this is like our side thing, right to our main thing. But of course, there are various ways to get involved in the space, whether that’s professionally, investing, developing, educating, podcasting, whatever it is. But, yeah, excited for that. And I saw you had a great talk on this as well over it. This was Baltic Honey Badger. You did a talk on that and about kind of the space generally as well. So, yeah, I mean, I think that’s cool. Let’s chat a little bit about that and how you got into that world, right? Like, were you a bitcoiner before you went into that world, or were you already in that world before you came to bitcoin?
Mike – 00:04:18:
No, I’m a 2013 bitcoiner around that era. I remember that Thanksgiving 2012 table where I got laughed out of there by my girlfriend at the time. But, yeah, that 2013 era, that first altcoin boom, that Mt. Gox, the Silk Road, all of that sort of world, that was it at the time. That was pre-bitlicense, and I actually owned a bar in New York City. We had the second bitcoin ATM that was in Manhattan at the time, behind the one in midtown, the famous one there. I think Charlie Shrem had something to do with that one. So I’m from that era as far as bitcoin goes, and I didn’t do anything really in the bitcoin space. I just had small businesses, had a lot of my own things going on. I was in the music business for many years before that, and I started investing in private companies in 2015. So those would be mainly late stage secondaries. And my first investment was actually in Lyft, and I focused mainly on the late stage secondaries because I didn’t want to lose all my money. And that’s what people do when they invest in early stage stuff, they lose all their money. And around 2018 or so, I met someone at a conference. I was showing them what I was doing, and I was doing pretty well with these later stage deals because we were in a healthy IPO market. So the Draft Kings, Spotify, everything, Slack. Everything that was coming out was good because you didn’t have to keep your money tied up for too long and you would get a nice return. So he took a look at what I was doing. He said, if you really want to do this, you’ve got to start doing the early stage stuff. And I didn’t want to lose all my money like nobody does, right? So I started really getting into more education and I’ve been obsessed with it since I got going in 2015. But really getting into the education of learning as much as you can and it’s endless what you can do when you really start digging into this world. So I dialed up my deal flow and started investing in early stage stuff. And then I never really looked back at the late stage. That was kind of it. Once I discovered the early stage stuff and a lot of these VCs that I still really had the most tremendous amount of respect for that I learned a ton of stuff from these are not the bitcoin VCs, these are outside normie VCs, but just learned as much as I could. And I somehow invested in over 2000 deals when you count the follow-ons. So a lot of small checks, of course. And you just learn from every deal. You learn from everything that happens. So if you get something sent to you and you read it and it looks great, and then you get those updates from the founder, right? And it’s the hottest deal, it’s the best thing ever. It’s the greatest company. And then you read the update a couple of months later and it’s all we had a little bit of trouble launching and we couldn’t do some higher, okay? And then maybe three months later you get another update that’s not great. And then eventually it’s all COVID, India, we’re shutting down. Dissolution. Apology letter from the founder. Here’s our learnings, which is the most important thing, all right? You can fail as a founder, but everybody has to learn something. And that includes every single person who invested in your company. Don’t ghost them and just shut it down because you’re going to go on, you’re going to start something else. You’re going to go on to your next company and you’re going to want to leave things the way they should be left. So when you archive this stuff and you look back, you can kind of do this really cool postmortem and you can go back and say, what was I thinking at the beginning, right? And you get to see all, everything else and everyone who lost a lot more money than you did. If you’re a small check investor, and then you can kind of read from these updates and then you can get something from it, right? That’s the most important thing. So when you amass a lot of experience from being in a bunch of different deals that all go to IPOs and acquisitions and zero, you learn a lot about the different types of things that can happen along the way. You’re like this living, breathing API for stuff that can happen. I was really investing in a lot of deals and I wanted to start Lightning Ventures. Actually, some friends really motivated me to do it, to just focus on bitcoin, right, because I can’t really add a lot of value to drones that are delivering medical devices in Uganda. Okay? I mean, I like investing in that stuff. I love flying cars and hoverboards, everything else in the world. That stuff is great, but there’s only so much that you could do, right? You have to have specialized knowledge. So we started Lightning Ventures to really just focus on the bitcoin space, which I know very well and I believe I can add value to, and really work more closely with founders and kind of leverage the network. So we raised a small fund, we started deploying out of that, that was a very small fund, friends and family, and then started building out the syndicate, similar to bitcoiner ventures, although we do have a carry and a referral scout program and some other things there. And then just really focus on trying to get the most accomplished, awesome group of people that we can put together, whether that’s co-founders of other bitcoin companies, whether we invested or not. Developers, retired cryptography experts, marketing people, Press people, lots of good lawyers, just as many quality people that we can together, and then hopefully, eventually leverage them to really add value and support the company. So that’s really been the main focus, us versus a lot of other bitcoin focused VCs. They really raise big funds. They raise big funds and then they deploy out of it. It’s a different model, just like your syndicate. We get money from the group, right? We pool it all together and we invest and then we champion them. Not really like a single GP who’s going to maybe take a board seat and lead a round. It’s a different sort of structure. But I’m working tirelessly. In the past 15 months, I think we’ve deployed about $6 million and invested in maybe 25, 28 or so bitcoin companies. And I love them all.
Stephan – 00:11:04:
Fantastic. And so I’m curious, your thoughts then in terms of as a bitcoin, which obviously you are, and listeners are and everything. I hear some criticism coming from some Bitcoiners because they think of this idea that, all right, if you’re doing VC, you’re trying to IPO, and that’s very fiat. That’s like you’re trying to sell out to the fiat in some way, shape or form. How do you view that?
Mike – 00:11:30:
Well, this is kind of funny because Cory fights this battle a lot. People seem to think that you should be able to buy Bitcoin for no fees. And unfortunately, that’s not a very scalable business model. You can’t just hire and grow and do all sorts of other things and build and innovate without capitalism. So he goes through that same thing with Swan quite a bit. And VCs are not all bad. Just like in every business, right? There’s lawyers, there’s insurance people, there’s necessary industries that you have to deal with, right? And some of them have worse reputations than others. Same thing with real estate agents. But if you’re doing the right thing and you’re focused, you kind of stand out because there are luckily, so many not so great people that you’re competing with. Look, I mean, we’re not saving the manatees, okay? This isn’t a charity. We want to make money. We want to see these companies become the future world-beating, disrupting various industries, whether it’s podcasting or communications or peer to peer exchanges or you name it. We want to see these companies succeed and we want to be paid in the process because this is all I’m doing for a living. I mean, this is all anyone who is a VC, especially a bitcoin-focused VC, I mean, this is our job. So there are costs, right? If you’re going to sponsor the meetup for the hackathon or your local Bitcoin meetup, it might only be a few hundred dollars, but it’s always going on your credit card unless there’s some kind of fee structure. So a lot of people say VCs are bad and they’re terrible and all this, and there’s plenty of examples of terrible VCs and unscrupulous stuff. I mean, sometimes a VC will give a founder advice that really just serves the VC. So you have to be careful about things like that, probably in all aspects of life. But no, I don’t think that VCs are bad. I don’t think that IPOing or any kind of exit is fiat. I think that it’s interesting because people call these things exits, right? You’re waiting for an exit. What does that mean? So if you invest in a company and they’re acquired or they IPO, that is an exit, right? But that exit is really kind of the entrance for that company’s life as being a public company, right? So it’s referred to as an exit. But that’s really just the beginning. When Swan does IPO, god willing, on the NASDAQ, and that happens, that’ll just actually be the start of Swan’s life in a new chapter in the business. It’s certainly not a bad thing. And if you want to talk about democratizing it and allowing everyone to participate. Let’s just without getting into a whole bunch of semantics here. Everybody can buy a publicly traded stock, okay? Everyone could buy Swan if it was public on NASDAQ right now, all right? Not everyone can invest in private companies, whether it’s the accredited hurdle, whether it’s deal flow and access and all these other things, right? Even minimums, right? Even if it’s $1,000 minimum, you could buy those $30 worth of Swan stock in a publicly traded environment. So there’s a lot of positives that come from that. I really don’t see it as a fiat negative.
Stephan – 00:15:12:
Right, I see. And so some of the criticism I’ve seen and just commentary I’ve seen in the space is things like, as an example, our friend Steve Barber, where he’ll criticize the fiat maxis and say, look, never sell equity to a Fiat maximalist, only try to deal with other bitcoiners per se. Because I think some bitcoin is, I’m not saying I personally hold this view, but I’m trying to represent that view. Some of them see it like it’s almost like once you go to a certain level, that it kind of corrupts the business in some way. I’m curious if you see that or if you see it more like, well, the scaling and the benefit of that aspect, that’s just a necessary part and parcel of being able to operate at that kind of scale.
Mike – 00:15:55:
Well, if you’re raising money as a founder or even as a VC, right? Because a lot of people just kind of think that founders raise money and they’re the only ones with that challenge of raising money. But VCs have the same challenge too, right? We’re in the same boat. I go through the same or will, maybe if we have a real fund, go through the same struggle that a founder goes to. Okay? So if I’m pitching somebody to invest in a fund, or any bitcoin VC out there is pitching someone to invest in a fund, if you have to explain bitcoin to that person, you’re just wasting your time. That’s just the end. The conversation has to stop right there and now there’s enough of a bitcoin ecosystem in funding to where you don’t have to do that. And that’s why it’s kind of a breath of fresh air coming to one of these bitcoin VCs, because we’re not asking why bitcoin. We’re not asking why bitcoin only? We’re not saying what’s Lightning? Is Lightning bitcoin? There’s no confusion. There’s no when are you going to add tokens? When are you going to add these other things to if it’s an exchange product or whatever? All that stuff kind of goes out the window. Now, if you’re a founder and you’re raising money and you go to one of these Fiat maximalists, you have to deal with that person moving forward. Okay? It’s not necessarily a marriage, right? It can be if they’re leading your Series A and they’re taking a board seat and there’s elements of control and other dynamics that are negotiated there. It can be right, it can be a marriage and they might be a huge pain in the rear, but if it’s something smaller, like a syndicate deal or maybe a seed round or a little safe note, there’s not really too much they can do other than just annoy you. So you definitely have to be careful who you take money from because they might just flood your inbox, they might demand all sorts of information rights and other things, even if they’re not supposed to get them right. So you kind of have to be careful who you raise money from. I mean, never raising it from a fiat maximalist, that’s probably really good advice. The question is, is it that or you don’t build anymore? Does that then kill your idea? Or do you just wait until the perfect trusted capital partner surfaces?
Stephan – 00:18:17:
Right. And oftentimes an idea can’t wait. Like if there’s an idea that you really need to get it delivered soon, speed matters because there are competitors out there or maybe this is an important project or software or some product or service that needs to exist. So maybe that’s part of the argument. But I think it’s also fair to point out, and as you have also, is that it’s not only venture capitalists, that there are other ways to raise funds and there is also that option of bootstrapping. So do you want to elaborate a little bit on how to sort of see those different options?
Mike – 00:18:49:
Sure. So first off, not everything is an investable business or at least suitable for venture capital investing. And people should not take it personally. And it’s never really a no. It’s always like a no for now. And these relationships cultivate over years. There are so many mining companies that I’ve never invested in. We’ve never closed a mining investment through Lightning Ventures. I send them stuff all the time. Hey, this person’s got a ton of miners, this person’s got a ton of electricity. We’re not investing in either, okay? But we keep a record, we keep a database and we’re able to facilitate partnerships and still be helpful to them. Right? So it’s not like a door slammed. There’s still a lot of good things that can come from it. VCs have to really return capital to their investors. Okay? So if you’re running some sort of obscure node management liquidity tool that’s still absolutely needed, that’s awesome, you shouldn’t stop doing that. You should either maybe think about what are the types of returns and the types of TAM, a total addressable market, how big is it, what else can you do to get this to a venture backed company or project? And whatever you’re doing, but just know that it might not be perfect for it. Right? And you can go out to Geyser, depending on what you’re doing, you can go out to other crowdfunding platforms all over the world, right? In the UK. In Europe, in the US. Here you can raise money in other ways. You can also do the friends and family route. You can do the Syndicates, which, I mean, it’s loosely VC, right? It’s like a micro VC sort of group. Right. But there’s many other ways to raise, and you shouldn’t ever get upset when someone doesn’t want to invest in your company. And I’m really hoping that through other things that are being built on, like the Liquid sidechain, that there’s going to be even more access and more easily. It’ll be easy to invest as a, quote unquote pleb or a whale or whatever you are, right? Because they’re going to cut a lot of these fees. They’re going to cut a lot of these inefficiencies. This whole industry is littered with inefficiencies. I mean, it’s terrible. I don’t want to say anything bad about Angellist, but I’m sure you log into and you do things on there and there’s a lot to be desired. There’s a lot of upgrades that could happen to that entire process for a company that’s worth, I don’t know, billions of dollars, right? You would expect, I don’t know, their website to work. So there’s a lot of things that can be upgraded there. And I’m just hoping that it becomes more and more since this crowdfunding has started. Equity crowdfunding, not like Patreon type of thing, but equity crowdfunding has come a long way and the limits are being lowered and the amounts that companies can raise are going up. So in terms of bootstrapping, though, let me just say this, I don’t want to talk all over you here. In terms of bootstrapping, the best founders do the most can ship an MVP with really no funding. Those are my favorite types of founders where they’ve gone from incorporation to beta and maybe they’ve spent 70 grand of their own money and they have a working product. Okay, that’s great. And then conversely, four Guys that Want to buy a bunch of S9s and put them in a barn and they want to raise $10 million and they’ve done nothing, that’s like on the other side of Terrible, what’s the old adage, ideas are cheap. Ideas are cheap and don’t worry about the NDAs and don’t worry about the funding, but you got to get out there and build something. And maybe that means getting a co-founder if you’re a solo founder, I mean, two is better than one. A lot of VCs will say that. I completely agree. There’s definitely a founder makeup that’s very valuable there. Can one of the founders sell and market? And is the other one super technical? Right, because just a technical founder on his own, he might have some problems. Right. And a solo nontechnical founder, I know some VCs personally that they won’t even invest in it. So just a few things to think about.
Stephan – 00:23:36:
Yeah, for sure. And so I think for listeners, they might also be interested to hear some thoughts about valuations. So company valuations and across the cycle. So maybe if you could take us through, like, just for someone who’s not as familiar with this world, could you walk through what are the different stages of the life cycles involved in typical investing in companies in this kind of realm?
Mike – 00:24:01:
All right, so you and I, we have the best idea ever. We have rad bitcoincompany. XYZ and we’ve worked together before. We know each other very well, we have a history, and we start our company and then we start to build something. If we immediately go out and get funding, that’s not good, right? Unless you previously were, I don’t know, co-founder of Blockstream. It may be a little bit easier to go out and raise kind of pre work, right? But we build something, we get it working, and then we want to do a small, very small friends and family sort of angel round, okay? And then we only raise as much money as we need. That’s the thing. A lot of founders are always like, how much money should I raise? Only what you need. Only raise the amount of money that you need to hit the next milestone. So you and I, we need to hire a dev, and we decide that if we can go out and raise $250,000, that will get us this one dev that we need. And that’ll kind of pad our cushion for a runway moving forward. And then we’re going to shoot for 500 users, 500 people. So where do we go? We go to Lightning Ventures, or Bitcoiner Ventures, or Oleg at Fulgur or somebody. Right. Or maybe the typical Giacomo Zucco, or Brad Mills or any of these type of individual angels who might come in for 25 or 50,000 or pick a number, right? It doesn’t matter. But we start piecing together quality people that might be able to help us and that we’re not going to get sick of and we’re okay with dealing with. Okay, so maybe Bitcoiner Ventures puts together 150,000, maybe we put together 50,000, and maybe there’s a few other angels who come in and there’s our $250,000, right? So that preseat is done. All right, now that valuation is another conversation, okay, that’s a whole different ballgame. They’ve been inflated, right? While everything was great and money was cheap and IPOs and everything, but in reality, it should be low. It should be no more than $5 million. On a safe note, maybe, right? And that’s high because if you’re using real metrics here on, like, ARR and revenue, there’s numbers that the normie VCs use. So if you’re worth $20 million, you’re probably doing $900K a year in ARR, and that gets you to a low 20s multiple. And even that might be actually overpriced, but at least it makes some sort of sense. And in the bitcoin world, just like everything else with Bitcoin, everybody’s wacky. Okay? And here we go. You and I, we take another route. We don’t raise the 250,000 and we know that we’re sitting on the next unicorn. This is it. Or a dinosaur baby egg, as I like to try and find. So we think our company is worth $30 million, okay? We don’t just want to raise $250,000 to get to the next milestone. Hire that one death and go, we want to raise 2 million. We want to raise 2 million on a 30 million post and that’s what we’re going to do. And that’s a terrible strategy. That’s terrible. So lower everything. Raise just enough that you need to get to that next level. And by the way, after we raise that $250K successfully and we pass 500 users, now we have something. Now we have an MVP. It’s working. We have some form of product market fit, okay? Now we can raise it a little bit higher of evaluation. You know what, let’s raise another 500 or let’s raise 500 or 750 on maybe an $8 million cap. I don’t know. But you come with a number and it’s a negotiation. And then you just take it slowly, manageable steps, right? You don’t come out the gate wanting to raise 3 million on a $30 million post money note. I mean, that’s just disastrous.
Stephan – 00:28:26:
Yeah, I think that’s a great way to put it. And this might be handy for people out there, whether they are builders or just people who are curious about the process. Like, what does it work? What does it look like? What is this world that seems a bit opaque, maybe to people who are not in that world? Then we have these stages, right? So precede seed A round, B round, et cetera. And so the idea is that each round or each stage, there should be some meaningful progress, right? Like, what kind of progress and steps would you be looking at? Obviously it’s kind of hard to talk about in a general case, but what kind of progress are you looking for at each round or each step?
Mike – 00:29:04:
So following on is tricky, right? So when you invest in a company for a second time, that’s generally referred to as a follow on investment. And there are some investors out there who, no matter what, right, they invested in Rad Bitcoincompany XYZ in the preseed round, okay? If we failed to deliver now, if we burned that 250,000, by the way, the first thing that we did after we hired that one Dev, was we went out and we dumped like, 60 grand sponsoring a conference. That’s a great way to just light money on fire. That’s not coming. We don’t even have anything built yet, right? But let’s just go out and spend. And we did the T-shirts and everything so we don’t hit any sort of meaningful goal. And now we want to raise more. And that’s when you have to be careful. Now, some people call bridge rounds, right? They call them a bridge round. They say a bridge to nowhere, of course, right. So you want to be careful. I don’t even like the term bridge round. I much prefer to call it an extension. But if you’re going to invest in one of those rounds, there has to be progress. Now, maybe their revenue is up 5X. Maybe their users are up the charts, up and to the right, but meaningful measurable progress, and then really looking at the use of funds. Okay, what are you going to do with this? We’re going to roll out this big user acquisition strategy, right? We need $500K to go ahead and get into full on build user mode. Okay, well that makes sense. It’s not that all bridges are bad or all extension rounds are bad, right? There’s meaningful progress. The chart is up and to the right, there’s a clear use of funds. That’s a good time to invest again. Conversely, there’s a lot of times where things are not going well and investors will just even see a higher valuation. That’s what’s funny, is there’s a lot of ways that VCs chart their markups. This is kind of a contested area. If you invest in something at a $5 million safe note cap and that company comes back five months later and they’re raising another round or another small tranche at a 10 million cap, that is not a markup. You are not 2X on that investment. Not even close. Okay. And there are a lot of VCs out there who will go ahead and kind of mask that. And it’s certainly a good sign as long as the numbers back it up, it’s definitely a good sign to see these things increase right, when the numbers back it up. But that is by no means an actual markup. Okay? So there are just a lot of people out there who will just continue to invest again. They see that top line number, they think everything’s great, and they don’t really do the research.
Stephan – 00:31:55:
Right. And so I think probably a lot of people now are also thinking about due diligence and what went wrong in the crypto world with the likes of FTX and so on. And I’m curious, your view there, do you think it was that everyone was just pinging off what everybody else was doing? Were they just lazy? Were they saying, oh look, Sequoia. Or, name your big name fund, or Tamask, that Singaporean fund that, oh, look, they must have done a lot of due diligence. I’m just going to piggyback off their due diligence. I’m just going to run into this round. So I’m curious if that’s what you think happened or something else.
Mike – 00:32:30:
Well, now that’s interesting. And in the industry, that’s called signaling. So if anyone doesn’t know when you’re kind of getting started with angel investing reviewing deals, looking at things. That’s a great tool. That is your number one North Compass star. Your North Star right there is who else is investing? Who else invested previously? Are those previous investors investing again? If not, why? Who are these new investors coming in the round? Right? Because let me tell you that Founders Fund, Sequoia, all these big names, listen, for them to lead and invest in a round, we are talking months. We are talking months of due diligence. That’s just short of giving the founder a colonoscopy, okay? We are talking about custom dashboards. Every metric that they would want to see. It’s actually closed. It’s actually proprietary. They won’t even share what those VCs want. Then they got to get like, nine people all in a room that all say yes. When Founders Fund’s leading a round, you had a bunch of people that are sitting in a room who all said yes, and that is tough to do after all of that due diligence. So that’s not to be taken lightly. In fact, that’s a great way to help you get started investing when some of these investors are in the round. Now, how did these things happen, right, with Voyager and everything else? Well, this is not really looking like a regular SaaS company, okay? This is not a collaboration tool. This is not a Notion or a Slack or one of these things. These VCs just probably are out of their element with cold storage, custody audit process, all these type of things that are really probably new to them, and they probably just took some people at their word. And when you’re at the early stages like we are, we don’t get a lot of information rights. We can’t really go into the line by line financials of a company that’s raising a seed round, nor do I, to be honest with you, nor do I really even want to, especially at the valuations and the amounts that we’re talking about. Our check size is $100,000-500,000. We can’t really get into the financials. We can get high level burns. We can go into with the founder, whichever they want to share about their overall monthly burn. What can we tighten up? There are certain things that you can do from a distance, but we can’t really dig in and get there as far as line by line, inflows and outflows for the company. So they probably just missed it with the rehypothecating and all of the merry go round of pushing it over here and taking another loan. And when you put it on a sheet of assets and liabilities, it’s tough. It’s tough to really dig in. But if you are on a board, if you’re a VC and you’re on a board, which I hope to be one day, it would be nice to really have the full picture, all right? And maybe that you could stop some of that damage before it starts.
Stephan – 00:35:47:
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Right, because once you’re on a board then theoretically you should have right, to see more information from what’s going on in the company, whether that’s financial statements, whether that is other contractual information or agreements and things really what’s going on in the company. But that said, you could still fall victim to a liar, right? Like it could just be that SBF and them were just straight up lying or omitting or just being misleading about the way things were, such that FTX and those in that example was just maybe just this freak case.
Mike – 00:38:36:
I just had my first personal situation where a founder was completely very dishonest with me. I take everyone’s word for it. I’m a very trustworthy, easy going guy. I guess it’s don’t trust but verify, right?
Stephan – 00:38:54:
Perhaps I should.
Mike – 00:38:55:
But in this world, there’s only so much you can do and it’s kind of shocking that somebody would really just lie outright. So even though Bitcoiners have good hearts and they’re special people, definitely something to put in the file manager for the future, right?
Stephgan – 00:39:16:
And look, to be clear as well, there have been scams. And I know you’re a 2013, just like I’m a 2013 and I recall looking on Bitcoin talk and seeing scams all the time. Like there were just total scams. And in the earlier days, I remember there was even the infamous butterfly labs, right? And so this is where the two weeks joke came from. People were saying, where is my minor? And the joke was, it will be coming in two weeks. And that’s that’s where this joke actually came from. So people and I mean, it also came from like the general kind of software lifecycle thing where people just kind of they’re asked to kind of put their finger in the mouth to kind of say, oh, how long is that going to take? Oh, yeah, two weeks. Okay, let’s just say two weeks, right? And of course that’s where Bitcoin has this whole saying don’t trust verify, which is I believe it’s like a play on the Russian saying, which is trust but verify. I think it was also a US president who famously said that also. But nevertheless, people can scam. And just because somebody’s bitcoin only doesn’t mean they’re not a scammer, right? As our friend Michael Goldstein says, everyone’s a scammer. So important for us all to think about that. So one other question that I think is interesting, we like to think of ourselves. We talk about Austrian economics, we talk about being low time preference, being patient. And I guess it’s easier to say one thing, but then when we’re in a bear cycle, that can get more difficult, right? And I think historically there have been times where let’s say venture capitalists might have pushed companies to go and do things that maybe were not very low time preference, right? Like obvious examples might be even in the scaling wars in 2016-17, maybe there was pressure from venture capitalist firms onto companies, whether that’s Coinbase or others, to try to raise the block size and take that easy way out, right? And so I’m curious, your thought there, do you see that as people can say they think long term, but actually when rubber meets the road. They’re not that able to do that.
Mike – 00:41:09:
Yeah, I actually have a valid Gox claim right now, so I’m with you. In terms of the old school scams, I never bought one of those butterfly labs machines, but I was hoping that those days were kind of over. There was the Quadriga, there was Big Burn, crypsy. There was a lot of other things that went down, BTCE or whatever, but I was really hoping that these venture backed, top tier, tier one VC kind of backed companies were really doing the right thing. Fortunately, I didn’t have any funds on there, but I really thought it was over. And if you saw, like, BlockFi’s last deck, I mean, it was like 68 pages. You had to be like a neuroscience to figure out what the hell was going on in there in their relationship with that stuff. And sure enough, it’s the same old story, you know? And will people learn this time? Probably not. You know, I don’t know. Until they they just can’t do it anymore. I’m sorry, I forgot your question.
Stephan – 00:42:13:
Yeah, so I was just getting at that idea that when times get tough, is that really when people get tested? And whether that is the temptation to just go shit coining, or whether it’s the temptation to, you know, in an exchange where maybe they go fractional, obviously fraudulent. But, you know, I think that’s also something to really think about, right? Like, are we capable of really playing the long game? It’s one thing to say we’re playing the long game, but is everyone playing the long game?
So in terms of boards and pressure, that comes much later. Okay, so no early stage company or a series A, even a series B, their investors, their board members, whatever the governance is, it’s very limited on what they can force them to do. They can’t force someone like Cory to add Ethereum to Swan. It’s just not possible. You’re just not in that situation after you’ve raised series D and Eand everything else down the line, you can be forced out of your company. As a CEO. Those are the things that I find very interesting is how does Travis Kalanick get forced out of Uber. How do these companies you take a ce out and you install someone else at the much later stages. But early on, it’s really difficult, really impossible to assert that sort of influence. And there’s really no guarantee that any bitcoin company isn’t going to start getting into nonsense. And we saw it recently with Casa getting into nonsense. And there’s even some companies in the space. I think maybe bitwage has wavered from a bitcoin only company to other things. Even beloved companies, right? Everyone loves bitrefill, you know, and then you look at what bitrefill accepts, and they accept other things, right? And he’s a great guy, and he has another story. He says, this is what our users want and whatever it is. So there’s really no guarantees in the case of like a Kraken. They just don’t have to innovate. The easiest way to not do new things is to just add garbage, okay? So Kraken plateaus and what can they do? They can increase leverage trading and they can just increase the amount of junk that they sell. Right? Now you look at somebody, you look at a company like Swan. Swan is innovating. Swan private IRAs retirement products, getting into things like wills and trusts and others sort of becoming an actual financial services company without ever wavering on the bitcoin only side of it that’s true innovation. Because what would be easy is to just start throwing crap out there, you know what I mean? And selling junk, right? And if you’re not going to do that, then you come up with new ways, right? You release a debit card or a credit card or other sort of tools to become that all in one bitcoin neo bank that everyone’s out there trying to do. So we could invest in a company that ends up adding nonsense and it’s not our fault if they do it. But it’s just life, right?
Stephan – 00:45:22:
And there’s all kinds of competitive pressure out there and at the same time companies have to try to be profitable or at least try to get to that stage, get to that level of being profitable, while at the same time dealing with being a part of the space and trying to contribute in the space. I know there are in some ways people in the community can get really very purity signaling or very purity testing about they can get really strong about purity testing companies, but at the same time I think the companies that exist in the space, they also need to make a profit too. So it’s kind of like yeah, it can get tricky, right? We already know just in general, the value rate for these companies, for companies is quite high and that’s even built into the model, right? Obviously with VC and the model is essentially that, you know, a lot of these companies are not going to make it. So that’s kind of rough. But that’s part of business, right?
Mike – 00:46:18:
Oh man, the death rate everyone likes to talk about died suddenly. That’s actually pretty funny. Died suddenly with your startup, man, that’s really funny. No, but it’s the truth. And we haven’t had anyone die suddenly just yet. At least not through Lightning Ventures. Right? I mean, through my personal investments and all sorts of other things, right? The next HR startup in Southeast Asia, all of these things that had all the makings, they were NYC and they had all these great investors. Now they dissolve and they unwind and it’s on a consolidated tax form against hopefully all your winners, right? So they are statistically supposed to die and boy, I really don’t want them to. So luckily they haven’t yet. And hopefully they don’t, right?
Stephan – 00:47:15:
Yeah. And it could just be that a company fails to just kind of get traction, and so eventually they just wrap up. And especially now, as I’m sure you’re aware, bitcoin has these big bull and bear cycles. I think historically, it’s fair to say that that has been the case. So then do you believe that presents a unique challenge for a bitcoin entrepreneur, or do you just think that’s just not that unique?
Mike – 00:47:37:
I mean, it’s kind of in every industry, right? I mean, if you’re a home builder, if you’re a housing builder, you’re familiar with market cycles. There’s times when the pre builds are sold out, and then there’s times where they sit, right? Housing is a great example. Real estate agents, construction, there’s high tide and low tide everywhere you look. With everything with bitcoin, it’s not terrible. If you’ve been in this for a while, you don’t even care what the price is. To be honest with you. I could care less. I’m sure you could care. It really doesn’t even affect you. It doesn’t matter. It’s an arbitrary number. I can get a little emotional about stocks if I have a stock or a recent IPO, because that’s real, right? 1000 shares of rent the runway is not 1000 shares of rent the runway. Like, one bitcoin is one bitcoin. So those type of things can bother me. But the price of bitcoin, it doesn’t. It’s just a good time to build, and it’s an even better time to invest. This is when you want to invest, when everything is frothy and hot and great, that’s when those valuations, you can get kind of roped into something that might be on the high side. And I’m being nice by saying on the high side, but right now, things slow down, they contract. I actually really like this environment because, for example, when things were hot and we talked to a founder and we like the company, we’re a small team here. So by the time that we circle back to that founder ten days later, hey, listen, we’re ready to go. We’re ready to do something. Oh, the round is full. We’ll talk to you next time. And that was the case many times. And now we can circle back with a founder four to six weeks later, and there’s still room in the round, and they’re still happy to talk to us. And things are taking a little bit longer to close. But deals are still happening. I mean, companies are still getting funded. It’s just more challenging, right? Just like anything, if you can get through this period, if you can persevere, right? Whether you’re investing in bitcoin companies or whether you’re building them, whatever you’re doing, if you can get through this, the other side of it, which it’s funny, after you’re in a bear market for a while, you can’t even remember the bull, right? Can you remember what it feels like, those $5,000 pump days. The memory is so funny how you forget those times.
Stephan – 00:50:04:
Yeah. And look, I think everyone gets sucked in, right? And even in different places in the bitcoin ecosystem, right? Whether you are a miner or whether you are an investor in companies, whether you’re just stacking stats, obviously, which all of us are as, your advice is always stack stats first, right? We’re talking about investing in companies, but it’s important to have your stack of stats before you even think about purchasing or looking at bitcoin, any kind of bitcoin equity, right? But yes, look, I think I echo a lot of your sentiment. I think after you’ve been in the game for a while, you are a little bit more numb to the price movements because you’ve kind of been on that roller coaster for a while. It’s like that meme with I think they’ve got that meme of Mr. Bean on the rollercoaster and he’s very lackadaisical and all the people around him are freaking out and losing their minds. And that’s like a classic. Once you’ve been through a cycle or two, you become more like Mr. Bean. So one other area I thought was really interesting, I saw you were critiquing chainanalysis. I want to hear more about this. So what’s your beef there?
Mike – 00:51:05:
It’s just such a terrible company. Somebody had sent me a deal for it and just reading it was so disappointing, I almost vomited. This is a fairly new MacBook here. I almost ruined the thing. Just looking at their prior rounds of funding, this company is worth billions of dollars. The investors who have invested their memo, their deck, their entire thesis is to help governments enforce taxes. That’s blatant in the memo. It was so shocking. I was just so disgusted by it. And it’s always kind of put as, oh, this is going to stop the bad guys and this is going to whatever. And their whole TAMis governments around the world and people who want KYC free sats. I don’t like the term KYC free, but I don’t know what else to say. Or people who respect their privacy want financial sovereignty. They’re just going to get in bed with every government around the world to just enforce it. And it’s sad. It’s pathetic. I could never invest in a company like that.
Stephan – 00:52:18:
Yeah, I think it does bring that whole question as well. And I see people criticizing on Twitter, for example, they’ll say the whole idea of bitcoin is meant to be this sly, roundabout way, right, as an example. And I think part of the approach I see is, of course, I think being able to be private with bitcoin matters. I’m not against non KYC coins or unregistered sats, let’s say. But I also see it as we need to build adoption. And I think having enough adoption and having enough mind share is important. I think this idea that people can exclusively come in only from non KYC. I don’t know how realistic it is. Right. I think a lot of people, and maybe I could be wrong, right? I think a lot of people who came in today came in through KYC, and then later they learn about privacy. Now they learn about why these things are important. But at the same time, obviously, I dislike these chain surveillance companies, and I think they are trying to play this kind of regulatory game where they insert themselves in and tell governments, oh, look where necessary, or they tell banks, oh, you need to do this, otherwise you’re not compliant with the law and everything. But for better or worse, I still think getting people in is the important thing. But I’m all for people getting into peer to peer. That’s how I see it anyway.
Mike – 00:53:33:
How old were you when you had your first job? You remember the first time you ever worked?
Stephan – 00:53:37:
14 years, eight months.
Mike – 00:53:38:
All right. I think it was 15. And change in Arizona was the legal limit that you could start working part time. I didn’t have a driver’s license. I didn’t have an ID. I didn’t have any of that. So if somebody was going to purchase some bitcoin, right, even a nominal small amount, it’s not like everyone can KYC from birth. There’s a lot of people who don’t have driver’s licenses. I was just in Africa. There’s a lot of IDless people out there that need this, that need to be able. There’s 40% is the is the recorded inflation rate in Ghana. That’s what they tell the public is a real number. I can’t even imagine what the real, real number is. And they just they need this. And you can’t always go out and upload the front and back of your driver’s license and a passport and your thumbprint and the face scan and everything else. It’s just not possible.
Stephan – 00:54:41:
Yeah, for sure. And I think there’s certainly a lot of people who literally cannot KYC even if they wanted to. I’m hopeful to see more non KYC and peer to peer stuff. So I’m curious to see that grow. I think part of it is just like, because it’s such a cyclical industry, we tend to just kind of get a lot of people who come in when the price is going up. I wish we could get more people coming in in bear cycles so that they sort of get to experience more of a real bitcoin sense rather than only seeing it in the crazy bull cycle times.
Mike – 00:55:14:
Yeah, that’s why the DCA is king, right? I mean, once you just turn that on, it helps any sort of new coiner get over that price deal, right. Because the price is down, you’re excited because you’re buying another X amount of dollars that day and the price is up. You’re excited because you bought X amount of dollars for the past however long. And it doesn’t matter what it is you just are in it, right? But instead of KYC, it should be KYF. It should be know your food. They should take that to the grocery store, and they should really ID every freaking kernel of corn and chicken that’s there. You know what I mean? And stop worrying about Aunt Mary’s $300 bitcoin purchase, right?
Stephan – 00:56:05:
So, I mean, looking out at I don’t have a crystal ball, right, but it looks like we’re in a bear cycle, and we don’t know how long that will be. It could be a year, maybe two years. We don’t know. Do you have any ideas on what people out there can be doing to help grow the movement? What kinds of things should we be doing to grow the movement?
Mike – 00:56:22:
Now, this is interesting because grow the movement, okay? And there’s a lot of this kind of kumbaya in bitcoin with this grow the movement. And that stuff is all well and good, but what do you mean by grow the movement? Bitcoin is going to grow on its own. Like, everyone wants to talk about what you know, what nation’s going to adopt it next. Chris Hunter gave a great keynote in El Salvador, which is like, it doesn’t matter, okay? We don’t need to be asking permission. We need to be asking forgiveness. You know, bitcoin needs to spread to a point where they can’t turn it off, they can’t arrest everyone, and it doesn’t matter which, you know, which nation brings on. So when you say, like, help the ecosystem or support the ecosystem, what do you mean by that?
Stephan – 00:57:13:
So what I mean is by helping pull people into the idea of saving bitcoin, rather than for example, there are a lot of people right now who save into property or stocks or worst bonds, and those people could be served if they were to just start saving with bitcoin and take a long term view, I think. And I think maybe this kind of gets to that idea that, like, people like Cory mentioned this idea of trying to win the race or run the race to avoid having, like, a war. So this idea of building enough people who are using bitcoin ideally non custodially, such that it’s harder and more difficult for the whole thing to get shut down, I think, from my point of view, I don’t view bitcoin as being inevitable. And so I think if I can help spread that right in the same way that for me, if it was an article or something that got me to see bitcoin in a certain way, are there ways that we can do that for other people to help them? Because as much as people may not like the term of marketing, I think we still have to market bitcoin to help grow these things, of this adoption so that you have trade partners, so that it’s more normalized, and therefore it’s less likely that the use of bitcoin will be, let’s say, criminalized. Or punished or overregulated.
Mike – 00:58:23:
So we’re from the same bitcoin alumni. The same bitcoin alumni school year. And do you remember screaming from the mountains and the hilltops and everywhere else in the world and everyone that you met back in that, I don’t know, 2013 to 2015, I don’t know, whatever that period was when you discovered bitcoin and it was so hard to buy, it was so difficult. It was so difficult to spend, to buy, to do. It was a question of what can you do with your bitcoin? Right? That was the number one question. You remember that, right?
Yeah, for sure.
Speaker B – 00:58:57:
Didn’t you get sick of it? Didn’t eventually you just say, you know what? I’m retiring. The buy bitcoin speech, it’s over. The Muzz buy bitcoin speech has been retired for many years. Okay? It’s got to be like it’s got to be a crazy situation to come out of retirement and to give someone that speech, and they got to discover it on their own. I’m trying to do what I can, working with founders and funding companies. That’s my passion. That’s what I love to do. I mean, I love what I do. You have this amazing show and platform. You’re an incredible host and moderator, and that’s what you do. You’re doing it. But for me to go knocking door to door to the cell phones guy in the Italian restaurant and the cannabis shop and everything else and just try and onboard them, it’s very tough. How do you get somebody I mean, maybe everyone should have a goal. Maybe the number is 21 people a year. If every bitcoiner tried to onboard 21 people a year, do them all in January, do them all in December if you’re late with your homework. But if you can get 21 people to download, pick an app and get them comfortable, maybe that’s like a bare minimum. But it’s tiring. It’s tiring answering the same questions over and over again to people.
Stephan – 01:00:17:
Mike – 01:01:39:
So those groups like the bitcoin policy institute, these type of groups that can really meet with elected officials and kind of educate them, I think that that’s great. Right? They’re all nonprofit. As long as I don’t know what they’re saying in those meetings, I imagine it’s all good. But what did the Satoshi, what was the post?
Stephan – 01:02:03:
If you don’t believe me, I don’t have time to convince you.
Mike – 01:02:06:
Even he got fed up or she or whatever or them or it or I don’t know, got fed up because it’s like, enough already. And I think if somebody comes to you and says, hey, I heard that you know something about bitcoin, can you show me something? I’ll drop whatever I’m doing for that. You know what I mean? Always. But this sort of like, tireless, like, oh, you don’t have any bitcoin, and then they’re going to I gave my father like $50 worth of bitcoin. I thought I set him up with Muum. I have no idea how he lost it. And now he’s just like a huge pain in my ass about this. Like $50 that’s gone. So maybe not everyone is meant to be a bitcoiner. All right? Maybe it’s not for everyone. What is the universal sort of zen like, you don’t discover bitcoin. Bitcoin comes to you when you’re ready to receive it.
Stephan – 01:02:52:
I can appreciate that. It’s kind of like the saying, when the student is ready, the teacher appears. Right? I think it’s like this idea that I think at a minimum, as you do, we have to make ourselves available for people who want to learn. It’s not to say that everybody has to go out there and be an evangelist and door knocking and so on, but I still see it as a good thing. If people do want to take it on, I know it’s work. It’s like organizing a meet up or organizing a conference or an event or some way of trying to bring knowledge or bring mind share to bitcoin. I think it helps. But I appreciate it’s not for everybody, and maybe it’s not their skill set or it’s not their passion, it’s not their interest, so I can definitely appreciate that.
Mike – 01:03:32:
I also think it’s probably the best time ever to work for a bitcoin company. So a lot of people out there who are in jobs that maybe they’re miserable, maybe they’re doing something they’re not passionate about and they’re just kind of going through the motions, they’re not challenged. There are so many good bitcoin jobs out there right now and amazing companies, everyone’s hiring and it’s like such an exciting time and even just kind of shifting from your Fiat job that you really you need, right? You need your job, but you’re not very passionate about it. Even just shifting your employment and just looking at bitcoin or jobs, right, which I think is another Swan product and that you guys are at bitcoinjobs.com just for anyone.
Mike – 01:04:20:
I got the email that came out today. I’m just like, wow, I’m not even looking for a job. I’m like, should I do that? But there’s some really amazing stuff. So it’s not about necessarily the bullhorn man on the street, but maybe it’s like, you know what, I’m sick of healthcare administration. I’m sick of being an accounting assistant, you know what I mean? Why don’t I be a junior financial analyst for name the company, right, and start that, I think would be that’s like a number one thing. There should be no bitcoin jobs available because those are the coolest, most interesting, fun companies on the planet that you can work for. And those should all be scooped up. They should be forced to do that other job because there are no bitcoin companies hiring, right? Which is kind of how it used to be. There was very few jobs and now there’s just a plethora.
Stephan – 01:05:11:
Yeah, that’s a good comment. There are a lot more bitcoin jobs available right now, so it’s a great time for people, especially, I would say there are some people where maybe they make that calculation, I’m going to earn more in my fiat job and I’m just going to chop wood, carry water, right? I’m going to mind my fear in the fiat mines and I’m going to stack stats and that’s all I’m going to do. But there are some people who maybe you just can’t stop thinking about bitcoin and your mind is so consumed by this that you would really be passionate and love to work in a bitcoin company for this kind of person. Bitcoinjobs.com or any of the other platforms is a great option out there. So let’s wrap it up now and have some closing thoughts from you, Mike, and just hear a little bit about, I guess, as an investor in the space. Do you have any tips for people out there, let’s say if they’re a founder and maybe they are making that decision about whether they should raise funds or any tips for them, or if you have any tips on what does a successful bitcoin business look like?
Mike – 01:06:12:
Yeah, and by the way, that block clock behind you is so cool. I got to get one of those. I just saw it flip over, man, that’s so cool. So founders that are looking to raise. First off, be strategic, okay? Get a really tight one paragraph about what you do. And have that down. Have that down, because when you start emailing people, you got, like, 30 seconds of, like, what do you do? Why should anyone care? Okay? And just get that tight. Don’t reach out to somebody with this giant 37 page document of everything else. Just get that dialed in. And then make sure that you are in a good position to actually raise. Make sure that you are incorporated and you’re incorporated properly. LLCs don’t work. With the exception of some mining stuff, LLCs are not good. Okay? So maybe even reach out to someone like myself or maybe the Bitcoiner Ventures crew or a VC in the space and just say, hey, here’s what I’m building. I’m getting ready to incorporate. Do you have any advice? I would never not respond to that email, okay? And get yourself set up in the right place. It’s not good when somebody you don’t know, you’ve never spoken with, they somehow got a link to your calendar. They book a spot, you don’t even know what it is, and then you get there, and they’re not even really in a position to raise. So don’t do things like that. Have a shared drive somewhere that has a lot of stuff, your certificate of incorporation. Maybe you have wiring instructions. Maybe you have a bank. Maybe you have some metrics or financials, maybe not. Maybe have a marketing plan. Maybe you have a business plan, a deck, some KPIs that you’ve been monitoring, something. Get whatever you have in one area so you can easily share it with a VC or somebody who’s a potential investor, okay? Kind of get some of this stuff ready to where one click Google Drive, and then you can open it up. You can go through everything. You can look and see. That’s great. Not a lot of this back and forth and nonsense. And then, like we were talking about earlier, set realistic goals, set milestones. Think about just what you need. Think about if you’re by yourself. Maybe you want to find a co-founder first. Apply to the accelerators, apply to Pleb Lab, or participate in bolt fund. Bolt fund is great. Now, look, you’ve got Wolf in New York City. If there’s another one I can’t think of, it the Tim Draper one, the Bitcoin accelerator. I know he does a lot of crypto stuff, but he has a bitcoin devoted kind of program there, and you’re going to learn a ton of stuff in there. If you go through the Draper program, which I went through the Draper heroes myself, that’s not a Bitcoin thing. That’s just years ago when I’m trying to just understand what founders do and how to invest. I went through that. You’re going to learn a ton of stuff. I mean, you’re going to learn a lot, and it’s not a waste of time, even if you don’t get funding from it. So there’s a lot of these tools out there that you can just kind of apply to get in the fold, learn as much as you can and just keep building. But what I wouldn’t do is rush it and then start emailing all of these bitcoin VCs and just start raising before you’re incorporated, before you have a deck or anything else to share. And you’ve done a lot of this stuff. And there’s plenty of other accelerators, too, that are not necessarily bitcoin focused, but sometimes bitcoin companies get in there and just going through this process helps you actually understand your business. Just filling out the stuff for YC will help you get everything done, okay? Because they’re going to ask you the questions that you need to think about. Maybe you’ve never thought about your TAM. Maybe it just never dawned on you, how big could this be? Maybe you’ve never thought about traction or retention or what’s our numbers look like after 90 days, how many people uninstall our app? You know what I mean? There’s a lot of different kind of exercises that you can go through when you’re learning how to be a founder or you’re learning this whole thing. So I think that that stuff is incredibly helpful. It’s don’t just focus on the money. There are times when the money matters, okay? But it’s usually not 95% of the time. It’s not. Right then for you. Right then for you is like forming a team, getting people who are going to work for equity, getting an options pool created, getting a vesting schedule, getting your company set up for success, building something that’s at least some sort of an MVP, some sort of a beta, getting something going. And that’s not always about we need a know you can do a lot with a little or nothing. And we talked about some of those alternative fundraising things as well. Plus there’s friends and family and you can always take a $5,000 check from a couple of good friends. Careful what terms you set with them if you want them to be your friends afterwards. But there’s a million things that you can do. I just wouldn’t rush it. And don’t fixate on the money.
Stephan – 01:11:58:
Yeah, for sure. Okay, well, that’s great. Muzz, where can listeners find you online?
Mike – 01:12:02:
All right, so our website is Ltng dot Ventures. Lightning Ventures is ltng.ventures. And there’s an application little thing there if you want to get in our fold and see some of the stuff that we’re working on. Or if you’re a founder and you’re looking to raise, there’s a little bit of a form there. We’re actually getting ready to redo that and it’s going to be a little bit more difficult. But yeah, that’s our website and I’m on Twitter. It’s just my name. It’s Mike Jarmuz. Mike J-A-R-M-U-Z.
Stephan – 01:12:29:
Fantastic. Thanks, Mars. Great chatting with you.
Mike – 01:12:31:
All right. Thank you.
Stephan – 01:12:32:
So, what do you think? Is Bitcoin venture capital fiat, or is it actually compatible with the ideals of Bitcoin? Let us know what you think. Get the show notes at stefanlivera.com/444. Thanks for listening and I’ll see you in the Citadels.