What is Blockchain Technology and how can business angels and VCs lead this innovative disruption technology in Europe?
Even though blockchain technology is one of the buzzwords of our times, blockchain technology is not very well understood, and no one knows what exactly could be some of its applications.
What is blockchain technology after all? According to investopedia.com, a blockchain is a public ledger of all Bitcoin transactions that have ever been executed. It is constantly growing as ‘completed’ blocks are added to it with a new set of recordings. The blocks are added to the blockchain in a linear, chronological order.
The investment is Blockchain is opening huge opportunities for finance, banking and other industries and is now a hot space for investors in the world and special in Europe Fintech hubs.
Blockchain is a complex technology and based startups have to spend a lot of time in educating investors and VCs, first explaining distributed the power of the technology, but also ledgers, smart contracts and carefully explain whether they are or aren’t involved in bitcoin before they get to pitch their actual use-case. This makes the process difficult and very time-consuming. And investors need education and awareness in this process.
What could be some of the most interesting applications of blockchain technology? The following video, done by the world economic forum explains this innovative technology and its amazing possibilities:
Outlier Ventures launched Blockchain Angels Europe: Applying Blockchain technology to markets
Outlier Ventures, is Europe’s first venture builder dedicated to the “invisible” application of blockchain technology to markets. Outlier Ventures mission is to co-develop blockchain startups with entrepreneurs, corporate venturing partners, consortia and accelerators. Recently they launched Blockchain Angels Europe.
Jamie Burke, a serial entrepreneur and angel investor, digital thought leader and published author, and more recently a partner and investor in OutlierVentures.io, is one of the most active players now working with blockchain and is leading Blockchain Angels Europe in a way to get business angels and VC awareness about Blockchain and business.
Burke has a long history in launching successful start-ups in and around the web and social media space. For the past 16 years, he worked as a consultant with brands like Honda, Tesco, Mastercard, Nestle, Kraft & Microsoft realising digital innovation and change management. This included heading up departments within Comms groups like WPP & Cossette through to launching one multi-million pound EMEA-wide digital consultancy.
During that time he co-developed a framework for business in a real-time and Connected Age called ‘Open Business’. Jamie Burke co-authored with David Cushman a book called the 10 Principles of Open Business that was published by Palgrave Macmillan in Feb 2014. By Open Business he means “a business which uses its available resources to discover people who care about the same Purpose, brings those people together and joins with them to achieve that Purpose. It is designed from the outset to scale through participation. It makes partners of customers.”
Recently Jamie Burke engaged in another startup adventure, this time, concerning blockchain technology. He presently invests through a fund he set-up dedicated to blockchain technology called OutlierVentures.io and he is a shareholder / director in a number of companies such as: BlockStars.io, BuyMucho.com (previously RetailerSaver.com), MoneyCircles.com, AssetCha.in, GrowChilterns.org, Up&Out.io to name a few.
In Burke’s vision blockchains are about networks, not platforms. Plugging in all stakeholders to reach ‘network effect’ ahead of the competition is critical to success. Outlier ventures, aims to actively building an ecosystem of partnerships to rapidly innovate and scale well-funded startups with great teams of seasoned professionals.
About this subject Jamie Burke says:
‘‘Blockchain based startups spend on average an hour of time first explaining distributed ledgers, smart contracts and whether they are or aren’t involved in bitcoin before they get to pitch their actual use-case. That’s if they haven’t run out of time! This makes the process difficult and very time consuming’’ says Jamie Burke founder of Outlier Ventures, Europe’s first blockchain venture builder and fund.
Jamie Burke with http://www.blockchainangels.eu/has made it his mission to enable angel investors across Europe to better understand the space and be able to assess risk in order to capitalize on a once-in-a-lifetime investment opportunity. He will be hosting a Blockchain Angels VCs Meetup every 2 weeks in a new city in Europe for the next 6 months and is looking for existing angel meet-ups to plugin to.
“In our fund we are fortunate enough to have a number of angel investors that get blockchain but it’s not enough and it took us many one-to-one meetings to get them there especially because in our case as we are pre-seed. There is a distinct gap, traditionally filled by early stage angels, before the larger seed investors can get involved and that is significantly limiting blockchain startups getting to market”, Jamie said.
Jamie goes onto say, “A lot of the $1 billion that’s been invested to date has largely been from US VCs and focused on Bitcoin but that money has dried up as they wait to see if their bets pays off. They are keeping available funds to follow previous investments, not find new ones, in expectation they are going to need more money soon”.
Whilst this will change over time today this means the majority of startups, according to research conducted by Outlier Ventures, are self-funded through consultancy services, personal savings and / or friend & family loans. The conclusion is this is going to severely restrict the growth of ecosystem and its success to impact markets and raise the profile of the industry for the next 18 months.
This is where blockchainangels.eu comes in, founded by Jamie as an Outlier Venture, and ran with other entrepreneurs and investors in the space they are developing a platform centered around events that first educates angels, VCs to give them the necessary knowledge and understanding to assess an opportunity and secondly help get in front of the right startups to make investments.
Blockchain Angels Europe carefully select startups that are made up of credible teams, with great ideas well executed with a bigger focus than just Bitcoin which they believe to be a barrier to most angel investors. They also support and advise promising startups on how to structure fundraising if required and match them to the right investors who are ready to invest.
They understand for many investors new to the blockchain space it is complex, highly technical and filled with politicised and contradictory opinion. And yet, to those in the know, it represents the single biggest investment opportunity since the Internet itself.
As investors themselves they found once someone can get past the buzzwords and is given a clear commercial explanation of the basics, removing a lot of the technical clutter, when supported by real life use-cases they very quickly see the scale of the opportunity.
“Rather than do this on a one-to-one basis it made sense to facilitate the process through events”
The event format was first www.meetup.com/London-Blockchain-Angels-VCs-Meetup piloted in London in early February this year and was a great success with 100 people signing up in just a week-and-a-half with 50 attending on the day. It is broken down into 4 distinct phases.
Understanding blockchains workshop
20min session explaining the technical constituent parts and variations of blockchain technology including crypto-currencies, permissioned and unpermissioned distributed ledgers and smart contracts.
Investing in blockchain Session
We explain with research-based reports and data where and from whom investment has been in blockchain to date from both a global and regional perspective.
Investment Horizon Scan
We provide insight into where we see the greatest, yet untapped, opportunities for disruption and disintermediation by blockchain startups in the mid to long term.
We bring between three to four carefully selected blockchain based startups who are actively seeking investment to live pitch to an audience of now informed investors.
Angels are encouraged to signup at the website http://www.blockchainangels.eu where they are asked for their email and location. The tour will then go where they get the most interest.
If you would like to know more, feel free to contact Jamie:
Contact: Jamie Burke