Dove Dispatch #34 (Victor Rortved - MetaCartel Ventures)
Investment DAOs landscape evolution, importance of vibes, adding value as a DAO, and much more
GM and welcome to Dove Dispatch #34!
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MetaCartel Ventures was established in 2019 by Gabriel Shapiro, Peter Pan, and Ameen Soleimani. It has quickly become one of the most respected venture DAO’s in the space. They have invested in more than 40 dApps and recently backed MetaMundo, Snapshot Labs, and reNFT.
Victor Rortved is a Blood Mage at MetaCartel Ventures DAO, having joined as one of the founding members in March 2020. He is in charge of finding and vetting potential investments, helping lead the governance and strategy calls, and coordinating several cat herding initiatives like accounting and their quarterly Coordinape incentive mechanism.
He sat down with us and shared his thoughts on investing.
The investment DAOs landscape is becoming more crowded with several players joining the space - how do you see this ecosystem evolve over the next few years?
More entrants, more failures, and more lessons.
I think we’re starting to emerge from an overreliance on legacy governance patterns (quorums, token voting % as measure of community health) but I don’t think much of what’s in place today will survive in what we’ll see in mature investment DAOs a few years from now.
One major trend I expect is that we’ll see clear speciation, with a handful of distinct models tailored with different tools to particular investment use cases (member-managed vs. GP/LP model, permissionless ownership with liquid tokens vs. member-gated, etc). I also think we’ll see the emergence of more extreme and divisive models like an anon zkDAO premised on alpha through mercenary psyops practices.
Another thing to watch as DAOs move from looks-like-a-toy to must-have-financial-implement for existing capital is how much legacy entrants adopt web3 culture and practices vs. DAOs moving to increase their legitimacy optics by tethering to regulated institutions and seeking traditional credentials. I’m also interested to see whether and when sovereign jurisdictions begin competing to offer attractive benefits to DAOs who domicile there.
The MetaCartel Ventures DAO whitepaper was released in December 2019, and the MetaCartel community started in September 2018 as a technical working group - what has made this journey so successful so far?
Vibes. Not trying to be flippant, vibes were and are the force that created and maintained this meta-community. Peter Pan willed these bonds into existence through his own personal coordination blitzkrieg in 2018 and 2019. He inculcated a place to meet talented people trying to build the web3 space that was fun and absurd, like if LinkedIn was a scrappy chatroom run by Tim and Eric. A lot of his writing about the value of community and the web3 manifesto highlights the more sober and idealistic side, but in my view, the reason it’s been such an attractive and sustainable place is the lulz. This space can be brutal to people’s mental health, with doomerism, exploit anxiety, and overcommitment leading to burnout. The MetaCartel vibe gets that strain and supports people in their weakest moments, while also helping celebrate their Ws. Another key piece here is that the well that the MetaCartel family drew from in its first couple of years was people who were in the space during the bear market, so there was a pretty substantial values filter in place.
Founders now want to onboard hands-on investors that can add real value - do you think a venture DAO organizational structure can represent a strength to meet these needs?
This is certainly the case - web3 founders have practical and philosophical challenges that web3 natives have experience navigating. We experience the pain of our current web3 tooling and UX when it comes to gas and liquidity and governance and community management and can help vet actual solutions rather than just pass along a whitepaper or aspirational roadmap.
MCV members do the pragmatic stuff like offering referrals, helping recruitment, and connecting aligned projects, but one of the things I’ve found most satisfying is getting into post-deck level conversations with founders about latent design choices that could affect the direction of the project and its community.
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You are one of the most knowledgeable investors when it comes to diversifying a DAO treasury - to what extent do you think these rounds could co-exist with traditional venture rounds?
As a DAO with an entirely on-chain treasury, we only use web3 payment rails and encourage on-chain cap tables via token vesting contracts that reduce admin overhead for everyone. Given these efficiencies and the fact that we’re not planning to go back to wire transfers and moar intermediaries, I think we’re likely to see a steady erosion of the traditional venture process in favor of the web3 native model. Trad funds on trad rails will still be involved for a while, but web3 founders building web3 products will only be willing to jump through legacy hoops like establishing an ACH-powered bank account for as long as the benefit from the trad investor clearly outweighs the additional hassle they entail. Soon such demands will be seen as a signal that the traditional fund is just larping Web3 values and that founders might want to look elsewhere.
You guys managed to build a well-thought model and are one the most respected investment structures in the space - what is your roadmap for the coming years?
MCV is the brainchild of Peter Pan (who contributed to community and culture), Ameen Soleimani (action-oriented code with minority investor protection), and Gabriel Shapiro (fusing on-chain events with legal structures). We’ve encountered a number of coordination challenges in the past two years but the fundamental model created by those three has proved itself as a viable investment DAO. Our roadmap is more of a discovered artifact rather than an explicit thesis-driven projection. It’s been shaped by hundreds of conversations between DAO members that reveal the direction we’re helping build toward. We’ve constructed and maintained a culture that evaluates potential investments not just from an ROI perspective but also as to values alignment. Having witnessed the precipitous decline of web2’s moral stature through its surveillance capitalism extractive model, we know what the stakes are for this transformative technology. You don’t even need to squint to see the Black Mirror version of how this goes with the wrong values baked into the most convenience-optimized solutions. We want a credibly neutral web3 that enhances human freedom and dignity and opens up new frontiers for personal and financial growth. We can smell web2 extractive business models from a mile away, no matter how many layers of virtue-signaling buzzwords try to mask the stench. Our culture is our compass, and we’ll keep working to champion the projects that align with our values.
Many thanks to Victor for sharing such valuable insights.
Last week 22 projects announced fundraising rounds:
Vesta Finance | Ethereum-based over-collateralized lending protocol — with participation from Tetranode, DCFGod, Fiskantes, Not3Lau Capital, Sam Kazemian, 0xmons, Anthony Sassano, Eric Conner, Mariano Conti, Shuyao Kong, Wartull, Calvin Chu, and Wangarian.
Play It Forward DAO ($6M) | DAO making P2E more accessible - building a Plug-and-Play ecosystem across SaaS platform and large guild — with participation from Signum Capital, Kyber Network, UOB Venture, Jump Capital, GBV Capital, LD Capital, GSG | Great South Gate, Octava , 975 Capital, Arcane Group, Tokocrypto, AU21 Capital, Double Peak, NxGen, DWeb3 Capital, Faculty Group, GSR, SL2 Capital, and Mintable.
DarleyGo | The revolutionary Solana-based horse racing game — with participation from Jump Capital, GBV Capital, Waterdrip Capital, PANONY, GuildFi, Solar Eco Fund, Athena Ventures, Paribus Ventures, and Follow[the]Seed.
Bitfarms ($100M) | One of the largest cryptocurrency mining operations in N. America — with participation from Galaxy Digital.
Perion ($8.6M) | Leases meta NFT assets to the best gamers in the world — with participation from CMCC Global, KuCoin Labs, Gate.io, Forward Analytics, Cluster Capital, Genblock Capital, Apollo Capital, 0x Ventures, Possible Ventures, Kamal Ravikant, Brian Norgard, Drew Taggart, Alex Pall, Nicolas Berggruen, David Wachsman, Alameda Research, Framework Ventures, Pantera Capital, Gemini, Spartan Group, Jump Crypto, IOSG Ventures, and Synthetix.
NFTScan ($1.5M) | The most professional NFT browser and data analysis platform on Ethereum — with participation from Mask Network, Cipholio Ventures, SNZ Holding, and Antalpha.
CyberHash ($20M) | World's leading distributed storage provider — with participation from Lemon Capital and Alex Zhu.
More Than Gamers | A collection of 10,000 generative 3D side profile characters fighting for survival in the gamers Metaverse — with participation from QGlobe.
Overeality | A metaverse community to bring people together and give everyone a voice — with participation from DHVC.
aquama ($980k) | Providing solutions made from water, salt, and electricity to clean and disinfect with an Application system.
Battle of Guardians ($4.4M) | First real-time multiplayer NFT fighting game — with participation from Good Games Guild, NGC Ventures, ExNetwork Capital, X21 Digital, FOMOCraft Ventures, Faculty Group, Master Ventures, Maven Capital, ZBS Capital, BullPerks, Titans Ventures, NewTribe Capital, Chain Capital, Infinity Capital, Blockpact Capital, Pluto Digital Assets, Kirin Fund, Shima Capital, Synapse Network, Momentum 6, RR² CAPITAL, Magnus Capital, Dutch Crypto Investors, Crypto Avengers, Alpha Moon Capital, Fairum Ventures, IDOResearch Ventures, Bluewheel Capital, Kent Capital, Gem Capital, GoldenShovel, CryptoMinati Capital, and OIG Investment Group.
Infinity Swap ($1.5M) | The platform to create, stake, and swap tokens on the Internet Computer — with participation from Polychain Capital, Draft Ventures, and cycle_dao.
Sperax ($6M) | A financial layer including stable coin and financial products, to enable developers and token holders to create an ecosystem that connects to the real economy — with participation from Amber Group, Alameda Research, and Steve Aoki.
Ready Player Me ($13M) | Cross-game avatar platform for the Metaverse — with participation from Taavet+Sten, Tom Preston-Werner, NordicNinja, Konvoy Ventures, SamsungNext, Hubert Thieblot, Gautam Shah, Stefano Corazza, Khaled Helioui, Marvin Liao, gmoneyNFT, Niftynaut, Joachim Hedenius, Artur Sychov, Anand Agarawala, Kaarel Kotkas, Brian Corrigan, and Tiny VC.
Myco ($800k) | Digital social clubs for passionate people — with participation from Adrian Tavares, Alex Adelman, Alex Masmej, Auryn McMillan, Billy Luedtke, Brian Flynn, Cameron Hejazi, Corbin Page, DAO Jones, Derek Hsue, Dima Buterin, Dragos Rizescu, eGirl Capital, Eric Juta, Evin McMullen, Eylon Aviv, Forester Music, Framework Ventures, Garrett MacDonald, Jahed Momand, James Young, Jesse Grushack, Joseph Bender, Jenil Thakkar, Mathemphetamine, Moonbase Fund, Neil Harounian, Own Fund Collective, Palm Tree Crew, Pet3r Pan, Rahilla Zafar, RAZ, Robert Keenan, Roach Capital, Sam Feldt, Seed Club Ventures, Siddharth Jain, Stefan George, Tarun Sachdeva, Tegan Kline, Theresa Rodriguez, Thomas Klocanas, Trent McConaghy, Trevor McFedries, Yehuda Duenas, Yoni Ben Shimon, and Sequoia Capital.
Sarcophagus ($3.67M) | A decentralized dead man's switch application built on Ethereum and Arweave — with participation from Inflection, Infinite Capital, and Lo Enterprises.
Kudo Money ($4M) | Identity passports for Metaverse and Web 3.0 — with participation from AU21 Capital, Bixin Ventures, LD Capital, Digital Strategies, ExNetwork Capital, Zokyo, BTX Capital, Bitcoin.com, Magnus Capital, X21 Digital, Insignius Capital, DCI Capital, DWeb3 Capital, ZBS Capital, MiH Ventures, Sentinel, Arcanum Capital, Extra Watts, CoinSummer, Damo Labs, Oasis Capital, R8 Capital, CatcherVC, 7 O'Clock Capital, BlackDragon Capital, Scorpio VC, Basics Capital, Novabit Capital, Peech Capital, GTA Ventures, Hashrate Group, BlockOG Capital, Lumo Labs, and Gate Labs.
Sportium Fan | A multi-faceted sports NFT platform with the goal of bringing traditional sports to the Metaverse — with participation from Dapper Labs, Libertus Capital, Animoca Brands, and Folius Ventures.
Primex Finance ($5.7M) | Decentralized brokerage liquidity protocol for cross-dex leverage trading — with participation from CoinFund, ZBS Capital, Wintermute, Stratos Technologies, Peech Capital, Morningstar Ventures, Magnus Capital, LedgerPrime, Hypersphere Ventures, Mask Network, HG Ventures, GSR, and Mapleblock Capital.
Scarce City ($690k) | A marketplace that uses Bitcoin technology to sell Bitcoin goods for Bitcoin — with participation from Jason Williams, Brad Mills, Plan B Ventures, Lightning Ventures, and Fulgur Ventures.
DeBank ($25M) | The leading DeFi portfolio tracker that supports the largest number of DeFi protocols across 17 chains — with participation from Sequoia Capital, Dragonfly Capital, Hash Global, YouBi Capital, Coinbase Ventures, Crypto.com Capital, Circle, and Ledger Capital.
Metarun ($4M) | First Blockchain-based P2E multiplayer runner game with absolute asset ownership — with participation from Moonrock Capital, Genblock Capital, AU21 Capital, X21 Digital, Oddiyana Ventures, Magnus Capital, IceTea Labs, InnMind, Metrix Capital, Ellipti, ZBS Capital, AC Capital, Asteroid Ventures, IBC, and BitCreed Capital.
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