Companies who are building out Bitcoin and Lightning infrastructure need investments in order to grow. Alyse Killeen and Stillmark help fund these projects.
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In this week’s episode of “Bitcoin Bottom Line,” hosts C.J. Wilson and Josh Olszewicz are joined by Alyse Killeen, founder and managing partner of Stillmark.
Wilson begins by asking, “Having some focus or a lot of focus on Bitcoin makes your experience as a venture capitalist totally fascinating to me. Where does it all start?”
Killeen responds, “I started in venture capital about a decade ago and always focused primarily on infrastructure technologies. As I was doing that, I discovered Bitcoin and specifically recognized an opportunity for a financial technology that well served poor people and the world’s very large unbanked and underbanked population. To me, that was so compelling.”
Shifting the conversation toward Stillmark, Olszewicz says, “You’ve really focused, at least based on your portfolio list, recently, on Lightning. Was that a decision early on as it was developing, and beyond Lightning now, what do you see in the future?”
In response, Killeen delves into structure, “We’re investing in two buckets, and the first bucket is the financialization of bitcoin, the asset … Bucket number two is companies that are doing these “moonshot projects” built on Lightning … Where the market has been, and thus where our focus has been is in infrastructure-related companies, so sometimes this can feel a little less personal or a little less flashy or relatable. However, the pieces of infrastructure that are really going to affect the day-to-day experiences of people using Lightning are being built now.”
She goes on to say, “Instead of being a bitcoin fund, we are actually a generalist fund, within the Bitcoin space, so we are doing top to bottom — all of it that is happening in Bitcoin right now.”
Wilson asks, “How would you say that confidence in the founders changes from traditional VC to bitcoin ventures?”
Killeen responds, “That was the opportunity for Stillmark. It was to not be adherent to the old school VC mindset, but to apply the tools and the framework of traditional ventures which work really incredibly well to bolster founders and to apply that to a new paradigm.”
Continuing on the venture capitalist line, Killeen explains, “We think about venture capital as just being resources to help founders accelerate where they are going. So we are normally backing folks that are going to get there anyway, and then hopefully with us, through capital and sometimes with network introductions and support from prior lessons learned from working with hundreds of companies, founders can build quicker. Now, from a Bitcoin perspective, there is one other nuance … If we do good work, I hope that that means that adoption is catalyzed, and also the utility set that is offered in Bitcoin expands. So my hope is if we do good work, the fundamental value of bitcoin can be increased.”
Listen to the full episode for more!