High profile Australian investors will soon be able to get exposure to cryptocurrency in a way more familiar to them than currently available. This comes thanks to a new fund founded by Dominent Venture Partners’ Domenic Carosa and Holger Arians, and Herik Andersson, himself an experienced Wall Street trader. Apollo Capital, as they’re known, are attempting to raise a $30 million for use in the blockchain space. They aim to focus on cryptocurrencies, blockchain-based projects, and initial coin offerings. The fund will be Australia’s first to manage crypto assets and will be reserved for investors with a minimum of $50,000AUD available.
For Carosa such funds are inevitable and are all part of providing the necessary legitimacy for the space to flourish. He told the Australian Financial Review:
“It’s still very embryonic, but for us this is part of the market maturing and bringing more credibility to the space… You hear that people like Bill Gates, Richard Branson and funds like Andreessen Horowitz taking long-term bullish views on bitcoin and blockchain … this also adds further credibility.”
Meanwhile, the NEM.io blockchain development fund is also expanding to Australia. Jason Lee, their global director of partnerships and strategic alliances aims to invest around $14 million in Australian fintech ventures. The $80 million fund are also looking for opportunities to bring innovation to their own blockchain XEM through their financing of startups. So far, NEM.io have invested in CopyrightBank, a service aiming to protect digital assets based in Melbourne.
The XEM development fund has a unique approach to allocating funds. At least 3% of their network of 20,000 users must agree to a project. Lee explained this community approach:
It came together as a group of people believing in the concept of blockchain. We wanted this to be available for the community as well, which is why we’re a community fund, not a VC or private equity fund.
However, not every Australian venture capital fund have fully warmed up to the idea of cryptocurrency and blockchain just yet – well, not enough to allocate funds to it. Paul Naphtali of Rampersand explained why he remained cautious of the space:
“I worked through the past two boom-and-bust tech cycles. The almost feverish excitement around blockchain and cryptocurrencies reminds me of the heady days of mobile ten years ago, or the web 20 years ago – new tech changed the world, but with the hype also came some spurious companies.”