What is your background briefly?
I’m a finance guy specializing in investing and advising throughout the full lifecycle of companies from early stage to some of the largest global institutions. I started my career in early stage lending at Export Development Canada before diving in as an investment banker at the Bank of Montreal. At BMO I led multiple projects and teams across Capital Markets, including in Fintech, M&A, and Financial Institutions. I also was lucky to be able to help lead the charge on several of Capital Market’s early blockchain initiatives. I left BMO in early 2018 to co-found Bicameral Ventures, an innovative Venture Capital Fund focused on taking positions in exceptional early stage projects developing real-world business models on top of the Aion platform.
Along the way I earned my CFA designation in 2013 and was awarded multiple scholarships towards my MBA from the Rotman School of Management where I was a Bregman Scholar and a mediocre, but enthusiastic, member of the Rotman Hockey Team. Rotman is where I first met Kesem Frank, my co-founder for Bicameral.
Does it seem like a logical background to what you do now?
I entered into the Blockchain industry from the other side of the spectrum, the finance angle. Beginning my career at Export Development Canada, a crown corporation designed to supplement the private market’s risk appetite in order to maximize Canadian exports, I learned early to think beyond traditional rational risk and return frameworks into maximizing for things other than pure profit. I am enthralled by the idea of the most efficient way to get capital from the hands of those who have it to those who need it, and that drove me to do an MBA and join the industry at
the most tangible nexus of capital, investment banking. I quickly specialized in Fintech as the industry that was most quickly pushing the barriers of friction and settled in blockchain as the technology that pushes these limits furthest. In fact blockchain pushes those limits well past what a traditional industry like investment banking was structured to accommodate so I left in 2018 left to join Kesem to co-found Bicameral and keep this evolution going!
1 min pitch for what you are doing now?
Bicameral Ventures invests in the top blockchain projects in the world and incorporates the value proposition of interoperability into the projects in whom we invest. We work closely with the Aion Foundation to help our projects realize that value proposition in the real world. We raise our capital from private investors, the majority of which is in Aion coins which we invest directly into our portfolio companies. To leverage this investment, we take very active roles in our portfolio companies and bring to them a wide array of partner companies in the Aion ecosystem who are set up to take this Aion in exchange for services required to launch a project (advisory, smart contract
audit, marketing, development, legal etc).
Who are you investing in, why?
At its core, we believe that blockchain allows people and companies to acquire trust in both actors and data for orders of magnitude cheaper than in the current analog and mutable digital world. And we believe that seamless, decentralized interoperability between tailor made blockchains is absolutely core to the complex, real world
business models that allow this to happen in a scale that matters. We invest in projects that allow the most trust to be created by those who value it most for the least cost. In the current landscape, the most direct interpretation of this is that we look for projects who are allowing consumers of data and creators of data to directly interact and compensate eachother and also projects who are creating the infrastructure to allow this to happen. We place a big premium on having some level of institutional adoption in hand as they are currently the scale consumers of data. We
have several excellent portfolio companies that we’ll be announcing over the coming weeks and the first one is ClanPlay which is creating a marketplace to be able to monetize data generated by actions taken inside video games.
How much do you plan to invest per project / in total?
We invest between 150k – 750k per project generally, although can play outside that range if the situation warrants. We’re raising about US$40 million equivalent to deployto the pioneers of the Aion ecosystem!
What tips would you give for people looking to successfully get investment?
Really understand what blockchain is doing for your project. Nothing turns us off faster than people who conspiratorially wink at us and say they’re really just using it as a funding mechanism.That was 2017. We want a well thought out plan that leverages more than just blockchain’s ability to transact value. How can you add decentralized logic to this value transfer and how are you allowing your counterpart to operate in a way that they could not in the current world? Also, we’re a venture capital fund, no matter how cool your project is we need to understand how we
are going to realize the returns that incent us to take on the early stage project risk. Blockchain business models are wildly different than traditional business models and we’re as untraditional as it gets, but help us understand what the actual investment opportunity is.
How can people find out more about you & the investment program?
We have a great website at bicameralventures.com. We stay active on our Medium Blog and keep it updated with our investment rationales and press for ourselves and our latest investments as well as bigger pieces on our overall thesis and operating model. We’re very active on twitter @bicameralcrypto. We’re also very active in the Toronto community and on the international conference tour. Kesem and Alex are both speaking at Blockchain Solutions World in Barcelona in October and Alex is speaking at CoinAgenda and FinNextCon in Vegas in October. Since the launch
of the fund this summer we’ve been invited to speak at well over 10 conferences.
Anything else you’d like to add / we should have asked?
We’re always on the hunt for people with amazing takes on things in the industry and people who are doing things differently. We pride ourselves on being able to generate value out of a ton of different types of partnerships and we have all sorts of stakeholders in the Fund which makes for a very vibrant network. We have no idea how the industry is going to evolve in the next 5 years so we’re creating an awesome future proofed ecosystem to position ourselves as the most flexible,adaptive fund out there! Get in touch