Overview

I invest across all sectors, industries and asset classes, with a focus on web3 DTC/B2C/B2B2C/consumer brands in startup, devnet or testnet stage.

I operate an online platform and knowledgebase that informally organizes other investors like me who are interested in web3 DTC/B2C/B2B2C/consumer brand startups. Please review the FAQs below and if you are interested in participating, please contact me.

My general investing process is also outlined on this page.

Investor Knowledgebase FAQs

  1. It is really hard to find prospects and just takes mundane search and checking sources, like incubators, accelerators, hackathons, etc.  It is better if a group can do this to divide up the work.
  2. Some time is required to get involved with a project, and it is better if that can be divided up as well so that one person is not overwhelmed with following many projects.
  3. When we crowdsource our expertise, we get smarter as investors.
  4. As a group, we can bring more leverage to help a project, such as if they need product testing, product promotion, business planning feedback, introductions to industry/companies, etc.

I focus on the DTC/B2C/B2B2C/Consumer brands startups vertical because my entire professional background has been exclusively in this vertical, which has given me significant experience that I think can translate to identifying investment prospects.

There is linear growth and exponential growth.  I focus on exponential growth opportunities because they have the potential to deliver outsize returns in the coming years versus linear growth opportunities.

There is blockchain technology, with the major sub-categories including web3, infrastructure, DeFi and metaverse, which are all considered exponential growth categories.

Web3 has generally emerged as the term to describe consumer applications of blockchain technology that are manifesting as the next iteration of the internet.  More about web1 vs web2 vs web3 can be found at https://eddiesoehnel.com/web3-for-consumer-brands/

To draw parallels to web2, think of Facebook/Meta, Twitter, Amazon, Uber, Spotify, Reddit, etc. These companies are consumer focused apps that got their start in the nascent stages of web2 and went on to deliver outsized investment returns.   We are in the nascent stages of web3 and I believe we will see the rise of web3 companies that will mirror the reach and size of these web2 examples.

There are other exponential growth categories including AI/ML, robotics, electrification, 3D printing and genome sequencing. But investing in blockchain as opposed to these other exponential growth categories is different in that it is giving small investors like me the potential to invest in high quality prospects.

The most difficult aspect of traditional startup investing is access to high quality prospects.  There is so much money and A-list investment groups that it is impossible to get access.  I am not an A-list investor, nor even a B, C, D-list, etc.  I am a no-list investor, which prevents me from access to good quality, even mediocre quality prospects.

But blockchain investing is different because many startups grow in the open with active participation from regular people like me. There is a tendency to reward this participation, which generally manifests when the project releases an initial coin offering (ICO) to its early supporters.  There may be opportunities to invest before ICO in earlier rounds, too.

For me, web3 might afford the best investment opportunities because it is consumer focused apps with exponential growth potential that could offer people like me access to high quality prospects.

Web3 startups tend to release their projects in stages: testnet is considered an alpha release and devnet is considered a beta release, with both processing test transactions only and not on primary public blockchains.  Mainnet is considering its public release that is actively processing transactions on-chain.  It is best to ID a project in the testnet or earlier stages to get involved with them and support them.

My criteria is not experienced investors with lots of capital, but people who:

  1. have an interest and passion for web3 like I do;
  2. are willing to get involved with projects in which they believe have great potential;
  3. are willing to learn and be challenged in their thinking and assumptions;
  4. willing to contribute their expertise and knowledge to help others (because our knowledge, experiences and expertise do no good locked up in our heads; let’s pass it on to help each other).
  5. and, are willing to do this for the long haul, spending a little time each week to manage the tasks and projects in which they have been assigned.

Since each person makes their own decision about investing, I don’t care how much or how little capital a member has.

As already mentioned, blockchain investing is a bit different in that average people like me can get involved with projects early on and provide feedback, product testing, project promotion through channels like Twitter and other activities.

As a group, we may be able to add leverage to this participation.  If a group member is involved with a project that needs more product testers,  or help promoting a product release, or help crafting its business plan or value proposition, we can leverage the group to do things like that.  Or if a prospect is looking for certain industry or company introductions, it is possible our group might have relationships to help.

It is really up to us to be creative to help projects that we believe have great potential.

It is up to you.  Managing my investments is not my full time job and I do it on the side.  So far, I think I might average 1-2 hours per week on time spent on web3 startup-related activity.  And investing is a marathon, not a sprint.  Expect to be in it over the long haul.

The time spent will include keeping up with prospect searches for the sources in which you have responsibility, any direct involvement in projects, contributing to this group’s Discord, and any other research and interactions with this group’s members.

No. This is an informal group only with no centralized fund that members contribute to nor is it a legal entity.  Each member handles their own investing in projects.

As much or as little as you want.  If you invest when a project does an ICO, it is up to you how much you want to put in.  If you get the opportunity to invest before ICO in a seed round, there may be minimums required.

Knowledgebase Items

Task List

I basic task list which outlines who is covering what sources to regularly search and with which project each person is involved.

Calendar

  • A Google Calendar with events, online or IRL, with respect to projects we follow and/or events members attend.

Tools Directory

  • A directory of tools in the form of google docs/sheets/dataset to help us finding and analyzing investment prospects.
  • Any documents or tools specific to a project.

Discussion Server:

  • We handle discussion on projects via Discord.

Platform and Project Updates

  • We create bi-weekly updates on the platform and individual projects which are posted to Discord.
  • Each person reports on their task responsibilities with any updates or requests for help/assistance.
  • We cannot expect all of us to review each and every discord thread, so curating these discussions into updates is critical.

Market Intelligence

  • Submit any other relevant articles or web links related to web3 startups to Discord.

CRM Directory

  • A CRM dataset of current knowledgebase members (see another FAQ for more information about the CRM).
  • New members include a short bio in the Member Intros channel.

The knowledgebase technology stack includes:

  • A WordPress website running here on my domain, hosted on WP Engine (a dedicated WordPress hosting company) which includes a member login to protected content with directories of published tools, content and datasets.
  • Tools are published in Google Docs and sheets.
  • List emails running through Mailchimp, if we want to use a list email service.
  • A backend database, whose front-end runs on Knack and the database through Amazon S3, manages the member CRM and member responsibilities; datasets are published to their own pages.
  • The discussion platform running on Discord, a popular discussion platform used by many companies and online communities.

Yes, they can.  It will be up to each member to decide if they want to participate using their name or a pseudonym. I personally prefer my name because that is a great way to network one-on-one with others. However, since I run this group, I will need to identify each person.

CRM

There is a CRM and it is basic so that members can attach some context around the makeup of the membership base in order to find each other and interact one-on-one as they so choose.

Included is first and last name (or just a pseudonym for those that want to remain completely anonymous),short bio and location (city/state).  If people want to use their full name, that is fine too, and I expose those CRM fields for people OK with that.

The goal is to allow networking and interaction to the level that each person feels comfortable.

Web3 DTC/B2C/B2B2C/Consumer Brand Startups Knowledgebase Links

Knowledgebase Login Page

Knowledgebase Main Page

My Investing Process and Tools

Overview

My mode of operation for learning and doing is to write what I learn and create tools that I can use.  I publish my content and tools so that hopefully others can benefit.

The process below is iterative and feeds back on itself. 

  1. Do research to identify trends – long, medium, short term – then prospects that fit the trends;
  2. Make investments based on investment criteria;
  3. Learn from successes and failures and document;
  4. Adjust investment criteria, then invest again based on research.  

Process

  • I use underline, caps, other text modifiers and symbols to help draw my attention to items.
  • I refer to this page constantly to keep me on track.
  • The main tools I use include a cloud-based database I built with many datasets (objects), Google Docs and Sheets, Evernote and Google Drive

Applicability

My process on this page covers any level of investing, from startups through public opportunities.

Content

Access to most of the content below is restricted.

Managing Information Flow

  • Hub Dataset 
    • All additions to my intelligence platform to help me retain information and use it for investing.

Research

  1. Trends Dataset   
    • From research, trends roll into this dataset as a master overview. These are long-term trends. 
  2. Focus Dataset
    •  Based on long-term trends (Trends Dataset), this dataset helps to narrow focus where I think I should be in terms of sectors, industries and specific markets for investment.
  3. Current Investment Themes
    • From my research in the Trends and Focus datasets, I create high level investment themes to help guide investment decisions.
    • I RANK them based on current investment importance.
    • Investment Sub-Themes here
      • Another dataset that lists sub-themes to the main theme to help surface them for my information management purposes.
  4. Info Sources Dataset    
    • Where research and data comes from.
    • This dataset includes many free and paid sources, which I maintain and I cross-reference with most of the items below.
    • I RANK them and pay close attention to ones which have a high ranking. 
    • I keep my attention focused on those info sources that support my focus and investment themes.
    • I use a TASKS dataset and/or EVENTS dataset in my database to help remind me when to review these sources for any new information, but most of these sources automatically send new information because out via email, post to twitter, etc. or I setup search alerts.
  5. Startup & Early-Stage Project Growth Resources
    • This page is a FILTERED view of my Growth Resources Dataset  to only include those that represent good potential sources of startup and early-stage projects in which to invest.
    • I use a TASK LIST dataset and/or EVENT dataset in my database to help remind me when to review these sources for any new prospects they have supported which may be of interest to me.
  6. External Dataset
    1. I add external datasets that look interesting to this table. Could be anything I come across, whether publicly available or subscription/paid only.
  7. Data Lake  
    • This is unstructured data where all base research gets deposited.
    • It is folders or Evernote notes with embedded documents where base level content gets deposited.  
  8. Company/Project Dataset 
    • Structured data on companies and specific investments.
    • I am adding companies to this dataset all the time, even though most will not become an investment prospect, so I at least have a record that I looked at them. 
    • I rank them by LEVEL OF IMPORTANCE (named HIGH PRIORITY FILTER), so new ones added might get a high ranking and after additional research or over time, they may no longer be of investment interest, so I lower their rank so they stay out of this filter.
    • Other important FILTERS include:
      • Idea, startup and early-stage prospects (named STARTUP FILTER);
      • Prospects where I am working with them directly via mentoring, advising, consulting, providing services, etc. For these prospects, I keep a log of what I do for them via this dataset (named TRACKER SUMMARY).
  9. Business ideas Dataset 
    • Business ideas I come across or think up on my own.
    • I log them here so I do not forget about them and periodically review this list to see if they spark any new ideas.
  10. Future Planning    
    • Short-term outlook (less than 1-yr) that attempts to put the information contained in the Trends and Focus datasets along with possibilities and events (known or anticipated) to a calendar that affects me and requires action from me.
    • I include everything professional and personal for my life in this tool, categorizing by month:
      • Events;
      • Opportunities;
      • Threats;
      • Upcoming accounting/financial-specific events
      • What to be on the lookout for that might not be tied specifically to a month or date range
      • I record what happened, including what was not anticipated so I can try and improve on the tool for the future.  
    • This helps me think through and list actions to do ahead of time based on what is upcoming. 
    • This is a graphic like a Gant chart.
    • While trends and focus datasets help narrow the WHERE and WHY, this Gant chart attempts to layer on TIMING, or when to do the where/why.  
  11. Q & A/Discussion Board    
    • Add Q&A and provide comments and discussion around any research in the datasets above. 
    • This dataset is really for any questions that might not be tied to a specific investment prospect, to help them stay top of mind so I can get answers to them.
    • I use a discussion board around each question because I have others which I allow access to my process and they can participate.

Investment Principles and Criteria

  1. Investment Principles  
    • A dataset of timeless principles to help with investing that I add to and maintain.
  2. Investment Criteria and SOP’s   
    • This details my investment criteria, including style, trading strategies and screens.  I also include my standard operating procedure(SOP) on what to do and when in terms of researching prospects, making and managing investments. 

Investing

  1. Current Investment Strategy 
    • I roll up all my research into a summary document that defines my current investment strategy, including the specific investment themes I am targeting, the upside and downside risks, short-term considerations, and how much I allocate to each theme, when to sell and, and risks to watch out for that may require me to change my investment strategy.
    • This high level document serves as a gut check
    • It helps keep me focused on the path when it is easy to get lost in the detail and go down rabbit holes.
  2. Decision Analysis    
    • If a company becomes an investment prospect, it is added to this dataset.
    • ANALYSIS FRAMEWORKS and WORKFLOWS:  there are varying levels of research and analysis done prior to reaching entry into this dataset.  A lot comes to me from other analysts I subscribe to (for public investment, for example), but for private startup and early-stage investing, I do the analysis myself using specific analysis frameworks and workflows I have created.
    • This dataset includes investment prospects to choose from based on INVESTMENT THEMES and RISK/RETURN CALCULATIONS  and PROJECTIONS.  But not all prospects, especially startups, have risk/return calculations as it is not feasible to try and project for them.
    • I include fields to record results and analysis if successful or not and why
    • Startup Filter 
      • This dataset FILTERS the Decision Analysis dataset to only include startup and early-stage investments.
  3. Investments Tracker (see template below) 
    • This spreadsheet tracks positions and near real-time results.   
  4. Current investments
    • My current list of investment prospects from which to choose.

Post-Investment

  1. Investments Tracker
    • I update this spreadsheet to reflect current ownership and maintain transaction logs.   
  2. Decision Analysis   
    • Once exited from an investment, I try to include why sold, outcome, and analysis.  For long-term holds that not yet exited, I might update each prospect’s record entry with results to date and learnings. 
  3. Focus Dataset  
    • Items get archived in same dataset where they live when they are no longer relevant.
  4. Loose Notes Page   
    • This is an Evernote created for each week of the year that includes links, documents and copied text from research to review.  Once all the items are reviewed, the note is archived.  Sometimes research builds up and runs into the next week so this note stays active until everything is completed.  
  5. Info Sources Report  
    • I track where a lot of my information originates.  This report counts helps me see which info sources are most valuable to track and keep my attention.   

Admin & Other

My NFT Strategy

My goal is to invest in NFTs based on the following guidelines that are important to me.

Social Tokens

  • Community-level tokens that I like, in which I want to participate, and where I can help build the community that reflect what I want for the community and my identity within the community;
  • And, that builds value that I can profit from over time, such as through revenue-share from community, if available, by borrowing against the value of the NFT to leverage that value into something else,  or to sell the NFT at an appreciated value in the future.

Subscriber Tokens

  • Community I subscribe to (usually on a paid level) that delivers benefits to me, such as knowledge or access to events or people.

NFT With Commercial Rights Reserved To Token Holders

  • The NFT asset has commercial rights, giving owners the right to do anything they want with the NFT, such as building a brand around it that extends into product/services or other offerings for which others would pay.

Wearable NFT

  • A digital wearable from a brand I like that can be utilized on avatars in the metaverse or which might appreciate in value allowing me to by borrow against the value of the NFT to leverage that value into something else,  or to sell the NFT at an appreciated value in the future.

Art-based NFT

  • AN NFT that represents a digital piece of art that I enjoy owning or whose value might appreciate allow me to borrow against the value of the NFT to leverage that value into something else, or to sell the NFT at an appreciated value in the future.

Citizen Science Projects

  • An NFT that is minted to represent and authenticate a item, like an image or research piece, from work performed by citizen scientists to help advance our knowledge, understanding and appreciation for science.
  • I think the structure of the NFT and their respective platforms for exchange are not just to buy and sell assets for monetary gain and to prove ownership, but can also be used to help advance any kind of social good.

NFT To Prove Ownership of Physical Items

  • An NFT tied to a physical item which serves as its certificate of authenticity (COA), which also means the NFT, along with its physical item, can easily be listed for sale via web3 platforms.

NFT of Objects and Real Estate in Metaverse Platforms

  • An NFT that represents ownership of an item or a piece of land in a metaverse platform.

POAP NFTs

  • These are NFTs issued to demonstrate proof of active participation (POAP), such as attending an event or performing an action, whether online or offline.
  • POAP’s may not have much value that can be sold be help confer identity and additional benefits from performing actions.

Other NFTs

  • Such as NFT domains.