Contrary to popular opinion, money does not equate to power, community does, according to London’s biggest crypto fund co Founder Shane Kehoe. Originally from Dublin, Kehoe moved to London after his business degree looking to get onto a graduate programme with one of the major investment banks.
“I sent off letters asking 35 investment banks for a place on one of their graduate training programs, and got rejections from 34,” he laughs. “One bank was kind enough to offer me a place (it was Deutsche Bank) but over the summer I interned with a hedge fund called Villay Asset Management. I went for three months and stayed for seven years.”
During that time Kehoe swiftly rose up through the ranks and was put in charge of the global equity trading desk which managed some $100million worth of trades every month – and where the average cost of a trade was in the region of between $5 and $10 million.
“It was ironic because in this role I got to meet the Heads of Trading of the main investment banks, including Deutsche Bank, but rather than being a junior graduate I was the client.”
At the top of his game, Kehoe was headhunted by BlueCrest Capital Management founder by ex-rates trader from JP Morgan, Michael Platt. He was hired as a portfolio manager and ran their global equity capital markets strategy where he managed IPOs, secondary offers and block trades.
At that time BlueCrest Capital Management had AUM in excess of $35 billion, of which the desk Kehoe worked on was responsible for approximately $6 billion in equity exposure. He was promoted to managing partner of the firm, and was the youngest in the firm’s history. He was only 33 years old at the time.
When the financial recession was at its worst in 2010, BlueCrest decided to divest away its equities portfolio. Kehoe was the last man standing on the equity desk and stayed on for a further year.
“2010 may have been a tough year in finance, but I had made my money and was now independently wealthy. I had a choice to retire, go back into another hedge fund or follow my passion,” he says.
Ever since the mid 90s Kehoe had a passion for DJing. When not doing the day job – at weekends – he had DJed across London at parties and clubs. Now he had a chance to do the same across the world and he stepped up to the mark.
“Some people love golf, I love DJing,” he says simply. “I joined the Ministry of Sound as one of their residents DJ’s and travelled all over the world. I played in Columbia, Hong Kong, Dubai, Miami, Russia, Japan, Lebanon,Tel Aviv – even Damascus which was pretty hairy.”
When the equity markets started their comeback in 2013/14 Kehoe decided to go back into the markets. With his business partner, Hugh Cochrane, he opened a boutique brokerage investment firm called SVK Capital Management. The idea was to manage his own personal wealth as well as his business partner’s. The firm was fully authorised and regulated by the FCA and managed a handful of clients with AUM around the $75 million.
“It was while at my desk in 2016 that I first stumbled across bitcoin, or rather its Phoenix-like rise following the Mt Gox hacking. Bitcoin had fallen to about $150 originally but it was now back and breaking the $1000 mark. I knew we needed to get into Bitcoin.’
It took Kehoe 30 seconds to make that decision but a further five days before he could put together a trade to purchase $100,000 of Bitcoin.
“I knew instinctively that Bitcoin was a new asset class. I still call it gold 2.0 or digital gold. I also decided that I wanted to focus exclusively on the cryptocurrencies markets and so SVK Crypto was born.
“We spent 2016 learning all about cryptocurrencies which was not easy given the lack of public interest and news outlets prepared to cover the nascent industry. We started to attend all meetups on the topic. I think I expected the meetups to be run on investment bank lines,” he says. “You know the type – all stuffed suits and ties. And I was really delighted when I discovered it was more like being at a club – half the meetups were in basements and they included pizza and beer.”
Kehoe’s next step was to want to share this exciting new sector with everyone else. SVK Crypto started a daily blog which now has 3000 followers. They started hosting their own monthly meetups soon after with some of the top speakers in the area. Then they created a daily podcast called ’15 Minutes of Crypto Fame’ which also travels the world interviewing people – it has been going strong for 180 shows with no misses so far.
The core team also includes, Charles Storry, Head of Strategic Partnerships, Oliver Mehr, Blockchain Analyst, and Marc Delesalle ex 25 year veteran and partner from Accenture, and they al began focusing on all community efforts.
“It made sense to grow our community by being active,” says Kehoe.
“As anyone in the space knows the messaging app Telegram is a great hub to connect and build a global community to engage with each other. So we began to deploy time and capital to run all divisions of the media component and actively grow our Telegram channel which everyone is welcome to join. Just type ‘SVK Crowd’ to find us,” he says.
By enhancing the community, SVK Crypto was introduced to Block.One which lead to the backing of their new $50m fund.
“Working with a market-leader such as SVK Crypto is a positive step as we grow the impact and footprint of the EOSIO developer ecosystem,” said Block.One CEO Brendan Blumer.
With the mainnet launched last month, EOSIO is now listed as the fifth most popular cryptocurrency or protocol with a market cap of $7.76 billion.
“I cannot stress enough how excited we are to be in this exciting new business. It makes me humble to be at the core of the most amazing movement to hit the world since the Internet and it’s going to be as big if not bigger than the internet. To be at the birth of an emerging technology that will change the world for the better is phenomenal.
“People once thought money was power but I disagree,” he says. “Community is Power.”
SVK Crypto is based in Shoreditch, East London. They are current rapidly expanding their team and now actively looking for EOS-based projects.
“Given the interest, the fund may be doubled. That’s a lot of EOS activity.”
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