The financialization of Bitcoin with venture capital investment
Companies that build Bitcoin and Lightning infrastructure need investment to grow. Alyse Killeen and Stillmark help fund these projects.
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On this week’s episode of “Bitcoin Bottom Line,” hosts CJ Wilson and Josh Olszewicz are joined by Alyse Killeen, founder and managing partner of Stillmark.
Wilson begins by asking, “Focusing or a lot of focus on Bitcoin makes your experience as a venture capitalist totally fascinating to me. Where does it all start?
Killeen replies, “I started in venture capital about a decade ago and have always focused primarily on infrastructure technologies. In doing so, I discovered Bitcoin and specifically recognized an opportunity for a financial technology that served the poor and the very large unbanked and underbanked global population well. For me, it was so compelling.
Shifting the conversation to Stillmark, Olszewicz says, “You’ve been really focused, at least based on your portfolio list, recently, on Lightning. Was that a decision early in his development, and beyond Lightning now, what do you see in the future?
In response, Killeen reflects on the structure: “We invest in two compartments, and the first compartment is the financialization of bitcoin, the asset… Compartment number two is companies that are doing these ‘moon projects’ built on Lightning …Where the market has been, and so where we’ve focused on infrastructure-related businesses, so sometimes it might feel a little less personal or a little less flashy or relatable. affect the daily experiences of Lightning users are under construction.
She goes on to say, “Instead of being a bitcoin fund, we’re actually a generalist fund, in the bitcoin space, so we’re doing top-down — everything that’s happening in bitcoin right now.”
Wilson asks, “How would you say trust in founders is shifting from traditional VC to bitcoin businesses?”
Killeen replies, “It was an opportunity for Stillmark. It wasn’t about adhering to the old school VC mindset, it was about applying the tools and framework of traditional businesses that really work amazingly well to support founders and applying it to a new paradigm.
Continuing on the venture capital line, Killeen explains, “We think of venture capital as simply being resources to help founders accelerate to where they are going. So we normally support people who will make it anyway, and then hopefully with us, through capital and sometimes with network introductions and support from previous lessons learned from working with hundreds of companies, the founders can build faster. Now, from Bitcoin’s perspective, there is another nuance… If we do a good job, hopefully that means adoption is catalyzed, and the set of utilities offered in Bitcoin grows. So I hope that if we do a good job, the fundamental value of bitcoin can be increased.
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