The Story Behind My Investment In Coin

In September 2013, I was at an event and ran into one of the best pure technology investors in the Bay Area. We started talking about mobile, specifically advancements in phone hardware that were coming with the iPhone. I must’ve started talking about my excitement about BTLE, when the investor said, “Oh, you have to see this other company then.” He opened his iPhone, opened YouTube, and showed me a grainy homemade demo for Coin.

“I’d love to invest,” I said, right on the spot. I sent him a follow-up email right as we were speaking, so it would be sitting in his inbox. The investor kindly followed-up, the founder responded right away, and within a few days I was slated to meet the founder up in SOMA.

I walked in, shook hands, and we hung out in the conference/game room and just started shooting the breeze. I wanted to explain what I do, and specifically my interest in mobile, as well as why I’m doing this fund. At the end of the meeting, the founder said, “I’d love to have you. Any recommendation from Manu is like gold. I looked you up. I know you can help. I’ll send you docs.”

That was it. First, that was extremely kind of Manu to extend such a strong recommendation. And, second, the founder – Kanishk – put me right to work, helping on some parts of the app for QA, design, and strategy about announcing his news. Kanishk put me to work immediately, and it was fun to meet his team, learn about the robots they were building, discuss and refine consumer positioning, and more.

Months later, when Coin was unveiled to the world (for pre-orders), I was blown away by the reaction. I knew Coin was cool, but the excitement was over the top. I don’t know the specific numbers, but I know they fielded way more orders than they had anticipated — and that’s putting it lightly.

Now, the folks at Coin have a exciting, tough, complex road ahead of them. Sometime this summer, they’ll be shipping the first Coin credit cards to fulfill those pre-orders. And, with the increased attention (and expectations) donned upon them last fall, there’s little margin for error. Kanishk would probably say there’s zero margin, and he’d be right.

So, when people ask me about Coin, I say something like this: “I am extremely lucky to be involved. Essentially, someone recommended me, and I got a small chance to help out. For the team, I’d imagine they’re both thrilled and under-the-gun to meet the demand, so they’re on the hook to deliver.” That’s all I know for now. I shared this post with Kanishk before posting this, but he didn’t want to share any other information. Stay tuned for the summer. I know Kanishk will lead his team to pull this off.