Mid-way through 2017, a close friend of mine said “Hey, remember Nick? He’s raising a fund. You should ping him.” So, I pinged Nick. It had been nearly three years since we really chatted. It turned out that Nick, who had been a very early employee at Coinbase and someone who just fell in love with the technology before “crypto” was cool was going to spin out of the VC fund he was working at to start a token fund.
That gave Nick and I an excuse to reconnect, and I’m glad we did. A few years removed, I was finishing up Haystack III and preparing a transition to Fund IV. Nick was telling me about his new fund, 1confirmation, and how he would raise a small fund, maybe $10M if he was lucky, to buy tokens in new projects and work with founders he liked. As he was explaining his model and asking me questions, it reminded me of when I started to invest small checks back in 2013. Not that I held infinite wisdom to share as I’m still learning myself, but I think I was able to impart some wisdom that hopefully saved him time and headaches. In the process, I cleared the hurdle to make a small investment in the fund via my VC fund — not a common practice, and I had learned the hard way that I should’ve done this once before, too.
After committing, I offered to introduce Nick to a bunch of LPs and other VCs that I know, many of whom backed me when I started. I told the group how I have known Nick (a funny story below) and nearly everyone asked for an intro to Nick and many ended up investing. Fast-forward a few months, and Nick closed his debut fund with a star-studded list of VCs, professional LPs, and celebrities. They all saw in Nick what I had known for a while — that Nick wasn’t overtly driven by flipping tokens or trying to make a quick buck, but that he had demonstrated years of commitment, organizing, and an undeniably pure interest in the space. And, if you see his portfolio, it is clear some of the very best founders in the space want Nick to be on their side.
Nick is now well on his way with 1confirmation. I met Nick originally through a funny vignette I nearly forgot until I started digging back into my email search. Back in 2014, after the last startup I worked for was sold to a big company, I thought about joining Coinbase and interviewed with some team members, including Nick. I didn’t get the role and ultimately ended up becoming a venture partner at GGV Capital while getting Haystack off the ground, but I was really excited about Coinbase, their strategic market position, and the team, which included many friends back then. Despite the outcome, Nick and I shared volumes of email threads about the space, and now re-reading them tonight, his passion for the space is so clear — even way back then. So, a few years later, Haystack is very excited to be a small part of the big things ahead for 1confirmation.