Interview With Sep Alavi
Fund / GroupWhite Star Capital Digital Asset Fund
LocationNew York, Montreal, Toronto, London, Paris
Number of portfolio companies3
Focus AreasBlockchain, Digital Assets, Crypto Networks
Stage(s)Seed – Series A
HOW AND WHY DID YOU GET STARTED IN PRIVATE INVESTING?
I started investing in private markets as a VC in 2014 after spending 12 years in Capital Markets. I saw an opportunity in tech and digital transformation, and launched Residence Ventures, a seed stage fund in late 2014. I quickly became passionate about backing entrepreneurs and helping them scale internationally. I was always an early adopter in all things tech and the notion of being the first investor in transformative ideas was very attractive to me. In 2017 I joined White Star Capital, a series A and B global venture fund to build on my conviction.
WHAT IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU VALUE IN AN INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY?
Backing great founders more than anything else
WHAT ARE THE BEST INNOVATION THEMES THAT YOU SEE IN THE MARKET TODAY?
WBlockchain as a next-generation computing platform enabling new, secure, censorship-resistant and frictionless business models. As well as Digital Assets as a new asset class empowering users all over the world.
The adoption of new technologies and the use of digital products and services have now hit the explosion we need as tech investors. Now, and in great part due to the current situation that we’re living in, these critical adoptions have finally become a norm and it’s not going to go away. So now more than ever we are very excited about investing in these companies that are tech enabled and that can scale to the mass market that we’re seeing in Latin America.
BEYOND ECONOMIC RETURN, WHAT KIND OF IMPACT DO YOU HOPE TO MAKE WITH YOUR PORTFOLIO?
ESG as much as possible – Financial inclusion (banking the unbanked) – Helping entrepreneurs achieve their dreams.
We are investing in the most innovative companies, that are employing thousands, that are bringing technology and better products and services to our economies.
WHAT ARE THE MOST PRESSING CHALLENGES OR PAIN POINTS IN MANAGING YOUR DAY-TO-DAY PRIVATE INVESTMENT ACTIVITY?
- Educating investors
- Saying no to entrepreneurs
- Keeping up with all the deal flow
- Achieving inbox zero
WHAT IS THE HARDEST INVESTMENT LESSON YOU’VE LEARNED AND/OR THE BIGGEST INVESTMENT MISTAKE YOU’VE MADE?
Not having enough ownership in my winners.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE INDUSTRY INFORMATION SOURCES AND/OR SERVICES?
The Block, Messari, Token Terminal, CoinMetrics & Kaiko.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE NON-BUSINESS INTEREST OR HOBBY?
Electronic music production and DJing, Skiing, Triathlons
PLEASE LEAVE US A BOOK RECOMMENDATION (BUSINESS OR OTHERWISE).
Life After Google by George Gilder
WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON THE PRIVATE MARKET OVERALL?