It has been a while since we had an update, this is because there is nothing unduly major to report but we have grouped several minor updates and I want to give a window into what is happening behind the scenes. We expect to be making a few larger, more focused updates ones over the coming weeks/months.
Last week we signed our second investment, it is a company that was part of the original NCF backlog, there are a few things to wrap up but we will try to make a PR announcement in the next week if the remaining admin goes smoothly.
This week we signed our third investment, again into a company that was part of the original NCF backlog, the company concerned is doing some re-branding work so the PR announcement is being delayed until that is complete, probably a few weeks away.
Both of the above will be communicated externally for us by Wachsman, our PR agency, We will ensure the forum and NEM Flash is updated to carry the news.
The names are deliberately not public knowledge until that point as it gives the companies better PR exposure which helps them and as a result our investments in them.
2. Q2 Milestones Met
We held our second quarterly board meeting in early April with the governance group appointed by Core to sit over NEM Ventures and provided an update to Core (and by inclusion the Core Devs). All updates went smoothly and milestones are on track as agreed with the governance group - so approval was given to our second Opex and Investment budget draw down. We will have a similar meeting in late June/early July for Q3.
3. KYC Solution
Our KYC solution is now live, there was a slight delay due to some teething issues with paying invoices in FIAT which are now resolved. The provider is https://www.knowyourcustomer.com, they are based out of Hong Kong and Ireland and all companies we invest in will have to pass full KYC and AML checks, similar to exchange or bank level checks. This ensures we remain compliant with Gibraltar regulations and is good business practice. The solution is well automated and extremely cost effective (approx 5-10% of the price of paying for the service manually). If anyone needs a good solution for IEO/STO type activities feel free to get in touch and we can introduce you to them.
4. Trading Desk
As mentioned on NEM Red earlier today, we have had an internal trading desk running for several months now, slowly diversifying some of our budgets out to Fiat and other currencies to allow us to protect NEM Ventures in the event of a major dump and also to allow us to assist with some market making activity. We have been able to help a couple of long standing Nembers with some liquidation needs and are starting to work with other NEM entities and super node holders to offer the ecosystem a cost effective OTC function which helps prevent some of the larger sell orders impacting the market.
Naturally, our OTC capability is restricted by our budgets available and requirements on those, however we will try and help wherever possible with trades over ~$50k. All customers will need to pass KYC/AML in the same way they would with Exchanges or other OTC services.
5. Media Opportunties
Wachsman have been doing a fantastic job securing commentary opportunties, podcast appearances and journalist interviews. These are important to help us ensure NEM receives regular coverage in the media and we can explain what NEM, NEM Ventures and the team are all about. To date I have covered most of these but expect to see that changing over the next few months as we move other team members into more public positions as well. I hold my hands up that some of them have gone well and others could have gone better than they did, none have been awful thankfully! Its a learning process and we are getting better with each opportunity. A couple of very prominent Crypto media appearances are coming in the next 2-3 months and we will be sure to let the community know when they are available.
Commentary so far has appears in Forbes several times and other major Crypto and non-crypto outlets, we have little control over the headlines but the content is always monitored and corrected where possible if answers have been misinterpreted. A quick google for NEM Ventures will turn a few of these up.
6. Wachsman - NEM Foundation
We mentioned in an earlier update that the contract we have in place with Wachsman to cover the NEM Ventures PR work, also covers the NEM Foundation. We have been working with Alex, Laura and Jason recently on helping ensure all the messaging is unified and the Foundation are now also working with Wachsman to help with the media distribution of announcements. This is important over the next few months as we lead into Catapult releases and Laura has been doing a fantastic job coordinating the Catapult series.
I know a couple of criticisms have been aired about some older news stories being re-shared. While I understand the frustration for older Nembers who are seeing the same news again, it is important to help ensure the message is seen by those members in the community who have joined recently and any reshares of that news ultimately helps cement NEM as a consistent news story so is helpful generally. We are doing our best to ensure there is plenty of new news coming tho, rest assured ;).
7. Investment Deal Flow
Most of the above are support functions necessary to run NEM Ventures day to day, a very important part of that is ensuring we attract sufficient proposals of an invest grade quality. At present we are receiving an average of 3-5 a month and have ~14 in the pipeline in varying stages of assessment. It is impossible to say how many of those will be funded until Due Diligence is completed but a couple of new ones that have come direct to NEM Ventures are looking very promising. These contain a mixture of use cases, benefits to Nem, strategic partnerships, investment amount/stages.
There are 2 proposals from the original NCF backlog which are still being assessed; for good reason their business planning has taken longer than others and there is no rush to close that process down. The companies are progressing well and need investment in short-medium term, but its not needed immediately so it is preferable they focus on building rather than fund raising and we are working to support them as we can; names deliberately not released for privacy.
We are now starting to work with co-investment partners to share deal flow and increase awareness of NEM generally, over the next 3-6 month we expect this to start moving more formally. A beta opportunity is being assessed with the first partner right now and the process is helping us enormously given the lean size of our team and budget.
We are actively working with the executive teams of a couple of major players in the Crypto space with a view to forming strategic partnerships across multiple streams. I can’t share much more information on these due to their sensitive nature and they will take multiple months to come to fruition, but when/if they do there will be plenty of PR around them and it will become obvious; they include liquidity providers, banking partners and exchange listings.
9. NEM Ecosystem Activities
As always we have been trying to ensure we stay active on telegram, answering questions where possible. If anyone asked something important that we missed do please ping admins etc to highlight it for us.
We have been actively working with various members of the ecosystem (Tech Bureau, Greg Evias, Paul Rieger & Julian of EU, Jeff as interim CTO and recently other NEM Foundation members) on a Security Token special interest group. Providing input, discussion and access to partners who are interested in Security Tokens generally. This was initially off the back of the work done to incorporate the Verified Token Framework into Catapult requirements and has now expanded out to cover the topic in general.
The chair of our Investment Committee and Governance group David Shaw has been working with the NEM Foundation as per their recent announcement in an advisory capacity on various organisational change and commercial items. I would expect to see more on this in the coming weeks as well.
I am writing this update from Toronto, Canada. Where I have interrupted a family holiday in the region to join Alex for a Hackathon ( https://www.toronto.cryptochicks.ca). We hope to be able to attend similar events over the next 6-12 months as a good way to support NEM and meet potential investment opportunities. The Tutellus event mentioned in earlier updates was for similar reasons, if you are aware of other events we should look at, do please let us know.
It is also important for people to meet face to face in my experience and a good chance to sit down with Alex to discuss collaboration opportunities generally.
David Shaw went over to Consensus in New York for similar reasons and spent time with Alex from NEM Foundation and Nate from Tech Bureau along with 40+ other private meetings to help spread awareness of NEM Ventures and NEM in general. Several of those meetings are feeding into and strengthening the strategic partnerships noted above.
That is about all I can think of for now, watch this space for a few more announcements coming soon…