The Metaverse, which refers to a network of digital environments, along with the Web3 technologies that make such infrastructure possible, is currently a rich space for start-ups and the venture capitalist firms that invest in them.
On this episode of The BARE Ventures Podcast, Samir Vig introduces founder and partner of Alpaca VC David Goldberg. Goldberg’s insight and expertise gives listeners a clearer understanding of enigmatic Web3 technologies and what the future of The Metaverse may hold.
Listen to the full episode with host Samir Vig and David Goldberg here.
An Untraditional Path
David Goldberg’s experience as a practicing lawyer prepared him to join the finance world–most notably at Merrill Lynch–before he felt drawn to the world of start-ups. After building and selling a successful “sharing economy company” in the men’s fashion sector, Goldberg partnered with digital entrepreneur Ryan Freedman to launch Alpaca VC, a venture capitalist firm focused on the power of technology to shape the world.
Goldberg’s experience aligned with Freedman’s vision, and the two focused on establishing the company’s unique culture during its first months. Eight years later, Goldberg describes Alpaca VC as a “research-driven, thematic investor” that chooses start-ups based on “trends in the market and a clear catalyst for growth in the future.”
Goldberg describes the facets of Web3 as “block chain technology powering everything” and virtual “decentralized organizations and power structures.”.
“The space is hot”, Goldberg says. “The money is flowing.”
Despite huge growth in the sector, Goldberg acknowledges the relative novelty of Web3 technology and the importance of focusing on the infrastructure necessary to power cryptocurrency, NFTs, and the Metaverse. Goldberg compares the technology landscape to a baseball game. “The technology is in the 4th or 5th inning,” Goldberg says. “The ecosystem is maybe in the 2nd.” Alpaca VC is particularly interested in helping to build out this virtual “ecosystem”, which will allow more users to become familiar with Web3 applications.
Deciding Where to Invest: “Second Wave” of Web3
Goldberg admits that though he “dabbled” in cryptocurrency and block chain technologies during what he calls Web3’s “first wave”, he largely missed the boat. But he and his team at Alpaca VC were ready to “jump headfirst” into the sector’s current resurgence.
Alpaca VC gives careful consideration to potential investments. First, Goldberg says, the firm conducts “field studies” in areas like gaming, NFTs, digital art and collectibles, and creator tools.
Goldberg shares examples of recent investments, which include virtual real estate in The Metaverse, companies focused on on-ramps, or ways of making Web3 technologies available to the masses, and a company Goldberg calls a “one-stop for DAO formation and investment.”
The Metaverse Emerges
Despite the rapid growth of The Metaverse, Goldberg cautions against “continued supply growth and not enough demand.” Some of the barriers include “friction, intimidation, and on-ramping,” Goldberg says.
The solution? Leveraging The Metaverse’s potential for inclusivity by building out infrastructure and creating access. Goldberg encourages potential users to get involved by joining communities, absorbing, and learning in “low stakes” environments. He recommends platforms like The Sandbox, which feature built-in on-ramping tools.
“Run around in The Metaverse,” Goldberg says.
The Role of NFTs as Early Use Cases
According to Goldberg, NFTs are a simple way to introduce the general public to Web3. Everyone can “understand things like trading cards, collectibles, and art”, he says.
Goldberg acknowledges that though NFTs, like the baseball cards and Beanie Babies of previous generations, may not ultimately be “the most prudent use of time and money”, they are nonetheless playing an essential role in the growth of Web3 tools by acting as an “early use case”–in other words, digital collectibles like PDFs of cartoon animals are widely accessible, and the large amount of money they generate “fuels” the development and use of various tools.
The Future of Web3
Goldberg’s advice to companies looking for investors is to “Zoom out.” Though it’s easy to be caught up in the explosive growth of Web3, Alpaca VC is most drawn to companies with both extensive experience and an uncommon perspective.
“Make sure that this is where your passion lies,” Goldberg says. “Make sure… that after you raise a couple million dollars to get out of the gate that there is something years down the line that’s actually really important and valuable.”
Bringing together founder, operator and investor experience, BARE Ventures as a firm strives for a well-balanced approach to fund management. With an institutional investment background, BARE Ventures focuses on proven traditional methodologies combined with emerging learnings in the ever-changing venture capital landscape.
Learn more at https://www.barevc.com/.
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