The new season is finally here (it took some time, I know), and I am kicking it off with Adam Draper, the founder and managing director of Boost VC, one of the premier accelerators in the world for crypto and VR startups.
Adam’s portfolio is impressive: his credentials include funding over 250 startups through Boost VC, with 90+ of them operating in the cryptocurrency space and more than 70 of the VR variety. With deep VC family ties, Adam continues in the footsteps of his family’s previous generation of venture capitalists.
Being a seed investor in CoinBase, arguably one of the biggest crypto exchanges today, Adam came full circle and made all sorts of mistakes along the way (he’s human, after all). For Adam, those mistakes made him what he is today and he sees a lot of the same errors in today’s businesses (pick up the phone, people!).
His take on VR and blockchain, apart from the mainstream use, is interesting and it all revolves around one thing in particular: solving the problems people routinely face:
“The reason to start a business is not for money. The reason to start a business is because something about the world frustrates you and you need it to change in an obsessive way.”
My today’s guest strongly believes that businesses don’t think it through. Some businesses are venture backable, some aren’t. VC companies aren’t going to back you unless you show there’s a tangible way you can return the investment.
With Boost VC, Adam is investing in pre-seed startups that aim to make sci-fi a reality. The aspect of time is important to Adam, with the unavoidable link to everything online (the freedom of geography, as Adam calls it) and undervalued meaning of being global.
Enough of my ramblings, let’s dive into today’s episode and learn how Adam sees Bitcoin, VR, and entrepreneurship, as well as share his advice and experiences.
In this episode you’ll discover:
1:00 – How Adam started investing.
4:44 – About his investing in Coinbase, founding and leaving Expert Financial and then buying it back.
6:09 On meeting Bryan Armstrong (founder of Coinbase) before cryptocurrencies made it big.
7:45 What mistakes Adam made, what it takes to make it when things aren’t going as planned.
13:52 Dialling for dollars: the importance of picking up the phone and calling instead of relying on email to do the bidding.
15:28 The highest high: when all the sacrifices were finally worth it, those moments that make it all worthwhile.
18:56 Adam shares his view on one of the main VR use cases (besides entertainment), gaining traction in the coming years.
22:35 Talking blockchain: non-bitcoin cryptocurrency Adam is most excited about and main applications (other than money) that the blockchain could be used in the future.
26:10 How people undervalue what global means in crypto.
27:03 What type of business is uniformly best for good and bad times?
29:06 The types of businesses that were successful over and over.
32:24 How Adam spends his time and his routine.
35:00 The aspect of time: how to build a business to save people time.
36:51 Which area offers the most opportunities for online entrepreneurs?
38:46 Everything is connected and there are still opportunities: what’s the problem you can solve for someone else?
39:59 One piece of advice struggling entrepreneurs
41:45 Make noise, just talk
“Bryan Armstrong said to me: “At some point, the world is gonna be on one financial infrastructure.” That phrase has, in a positive way, haunted my entire career. We at BoostVC picked bitcoin technology as our first focus ever.”
“Maintaining focus and listening to the customer are the two ways that I’ve seen over and over again how people succeed.”
“The best entrepreneurs are the most empathetic to their customer.”
“You should be obsessed with what you’re doing, not obsessed with the money you’re raising.”
“From a time perspective, all technology does is save you time.”
“If you believe that you are truly solving a problem for someone and you truly are, then you should be able to figure out who your customer is.”
Important notes from this episode: