Outlier Ventures has been around since 2014. We were one of the first institutional investors in blockchain, and we believe the first in Europe. We’ve backed over 20 projects from pre-seed to Series A, and supported live networks to scale. Last year we were voted ‘Europe’s Hottest Blockchain Investor’ at The Europa’s, followed by ‘Outstanding Business Partner’ by leading exchange Huobi.
We were an incubator.
In the past, we incubated projects at R&D stage, in most cases over several years, from token design all the way to rolling out networks and customer go-to-markets, delivered by a team of 30 staff. As far as we are aware we were the first incubator globally to hire a Head of Tokenomics, who went on to deliver award-winning work with Imperial College of London called: The 3Ds of Token Design.
We aren’t a ‘fund’.
What most people don’t know about us is it’s always been our money, not 3rd party LPs. We never created a ‘fund’ in the classic sense, we never took management fees or carry and so we have never had to deploy capital or distribute profits to the 20+ partners, that make-up the amazing Outlier family, myself included.
We have been, and continue to be, deeply committed to the space, our portfolio and long on digital assets, or rather what we like to think of as digital commodities that will power Web 3.0. We have only very rarely invested without being engaged as an advisor, and where we feel we can directly impact the success of a project. Where we are an advisor any upside typically vests over multiple years mirroring founders for alignment.
During this time we have seen sentiment rise and fall. Competitors and partners have come and gone but we made the conscious decision to reinvest all profits back into the Outlier platform, to continue to support our projects and expand a highly synergistic portfolio, we call ‘The Stack’. This equates to several million of our own hard-earned cash back into activities from events, including our own developer conference called Diffusion, building direct integrations between protocols via OV Labs and directly supporting developer/enterprise customer adoption.
But whilst we have been doing all this we ourselves have been a startup ‘finding fit’…
Condensing 6 years into 3 months
Late last year (2019) almost 6 years into our journey we decided to take everything and everyone we know and condense it into an intense 3-month accelerator program, called Base Camp, initially based out of London HQ.
We brought together our amazing network of leading Web 3.0 investors, founders and entrepreneurs as well as senior executives from major corporations into an insanely intense program. The first cohort is now off in the wild closing customers, investment and partnerships, including with the rest of The Stack.
Where in the past, we would have been the lead and often sole advisor here we are primarily facilitators and guides providing a structure that surfaces and responds to the unique needs of each startup through a network of amazing mentors. We also discovered startups working together as peers during this phase rather than in isolation made a huge difference to their progress, but also mental health and wellbeing.
Furthermore, an accelerator is infinitely more scalable, and ironically more impactful, than a multi year incubator. We have now gone from working with a handful of projects a year to eight per cohort, which we can run multiple times a year across multiple cities. We are now beginning our second cohort in London this March, and are rolling it out first to Berlin in Summer 2020 and a third city in the Autumn.
Because of the emergent qualities of Web 3: new business models, tokens vs equity, new fundraising methods, business models and value capture as well as nascent developer tooling we believe this new paradigm needs a new accelerator. The 100+ applicants we receive for every cohort would seem to agree.
In short, we found Fit.
We are a Deep Tech accelerator, focused on ‘The New Data Economy’
We’ve always looked at blockchains and crypto in the context of their relationship with other technology domains, in particular, IoT, Big Data and AI. Many startups in our portfolio are as much an AI or Big Data company as they are a blockchain startup. So to all intents and purposes we are a ‘Deep Tech’ accelerator, the critical ingredient and common denominator being data: its production, commodification and consumption.
Where previously we focused mainly on protocols and infrastructure now the stack is maturing Middleware companies that productise it and onboard the 99% of developers are emerging and increasingly Apps that fit the needs of a given industry, most interestingly in Transportation, Manufacturing, Health, Energy and Telecommunications. This means we love equity as much as tokens.
From our thesis to OUR thesis
The goal of our accelerator is to help each cohort get further, faster, with clarity on mission, positioning, product momentum and ecosystem contacts. We are now directly inviting our network to provide input into the design and thesis of our next cohorts.
As such we are recruiting sponsors to share in the commercial upside through co-branded programs, including the ability to directly inform the startup selection process and city roll-out.
If you are a blockchain fund, traditional tech VC or a corporate venture arm looking to gain access to the space and wish to become a strategic sponsor or even just get us aligned with your thesis please hit me up!