Eniac is diving deeper down the crypto rabbit hole

From personal investments to an institutional strategy

by Vic Singh and Dan Jaeck

Image: Unsplash/Art Rachen

Over the past 10 years, Eniac Ventures has prided itself on staying ahead of the most important platform shifts. In fact, we like to think we’ve done our part to fund those shifts, with early bets in mobile, cloud, and AI. Now we’re making a commitment to the next big computing platform — blockchain technology.

If you’re a crypto-native founder, you may be reading this post with a little bit of skepticism. We know that traditional VC funds can make for an awkward fit with the decentralized ethos guiding many crypto startups, and we’re hardly the first generalist fund to jump on the bandwagon.

But the truth is, we’ve already begun investing in crypto-native startups, which represent three of our 12 new seed investments so far this year. And we firmly believe that we’re still in the first few innings of technology built on chain: Layer one winners are still emerging and growing, while layer two protocols built on those chains are relatively early in their adoption. This gives us confidence that we are investing at an inflection point, where the ubiquity of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology is rapidly reaching mainstream adoption.

We’ve also rethought our investment strategy to accommodate crypto startups’ financing needs. And beyond our financial resources, we believe our experience and network can be useful to founders in the space.

How can we help?

We are marrying our interest in crypto with our passion for getting in the trenches to build companies alongside early-stage founders. Working with founders to build web2 companies gives us a unique perspective on building web3 projects. In particular, given our experience backing startups focused on developer tools, distributed computing, and open source technology, we believe we can be particularly helpful to founders building projects across the crypto stack.

As a byproduct of investing in these startups, we hope to help connect Eniac’s current network and platform to the crypto ecosystem. In doing so, we can play a small part in accelerating the flow of talent and passion into the blockchain community, further catalyzing crypto adoption and bringing it to the mainstream. (It helps that we’re headquartered in New York City, which we believe is and will continue to be one of the centers of the crypto universe.)

And although we’re only announcing our institutional investment strategy now, Eniac’s founding GPs Vic, Hadley, Tim, and Nihal have all been investing personally for the past five years, through multiple bull and bear cycles. Everyone at the firm feels that same interest and excitement, and we’re itching to use this energy to work with crypto-native founders.

How are we going to do this?

Since Eniac’s inception, we have been steadfast in how we approach investment structure and ownership limits. But we recognize that this approach may not make sense for some crypto startups, and that we need more flexibility to partner with the most exciting companies and founders. As such, we now have the ability to invest in token offerings. We can also write smaller checks and participate in syndicates following crypto-native leads.

Our goal, frankly, is to learn from the crypto founders we invest in, building up our in-house infrastructure and knowledge of the space while sharing our own company-building expertise. Over time, we believe this structure and process will allow Eniac to achieve its long-term goal — to make crypto one of our core investment verticals.

Looking ahead

We’re approaching crypto with humility and gratitude. Many in the community have already been generous with their time and expertise, giving us the knowledge we needed to jump in. We hope to continue those conversations in the months to come.

Nothing excites us more than the opportunity to meet and support a new generation of founders as they build the next era of computing. Our first three investments in the space have been focused on gaming, social, and DAO tooling, but we’ve got promising deals in the pipeline across the broader ecosystem.

So stay tuned for additional announcements. And of course, if you’re working on an exciting crypto startup, please reach out.