Lasse Clausen, a founding partner at 1kx, an early-stage crypto investment firm has transitioned his focus from a tech entrepreneur to an investor in crypto funds. Against a backdrop of waning confidence in conventional finance and government establishments, Clausen envisions crypto playing a more profound role in society. Drawing on his experience from two startup ventures, he brings a prowess for managing early-stage enterprises.
Insights from the experience as an Entrepreneur
Clausen pursued a degree in International Business Management at the European Business School Madrid. In 2012, captivated by the potential of Bitcoin for mobile payments, he executed his first Bitcoin purchase and pioneered the world's premier mobile Bitcoin wallet, which had not been released on the Google App Store. While initially investing in Bitcoin due to its monopoly in mobile payments using crypto, he remained skeptical of its broad adoption, attributing his reservations to the challenges of transitioning numerous buyers and sellers to a novel payment framework.
Simultaneously, he founded FOUNDD, a mobile software enterprise, from which he gleaned that innovation entails addressing genuine user dilemmas rather than solely pioneering advanced technology. His second venture, Daily Ride, furnished him with valuable insights into user-centric design and market validation.
Delving into the Cryptocurrency Landscape
In 2013, Clausen observed the burgeoning enthusiasm for Bitcoin in Silicon Valley and encountered Ethereum, a versatile platform extending beyond payments. Intrigued by Bitcoin's latent potential, he engaged in Ethereum's ICO, marking his substantial entry into the cryptocurrency realm.
As blockchain technology gained mainstream traction in 2017, he discerned an opportunity to amalgamate his entrepreneurial acuity with the crypto. His prior experiences led to launch an early-stage investment fund targeting crypto industry expansion. To identify suitable entrepreneurs, he predominantly forges relationships with established startup founders. His strategy hinges on aiding prominent entrepreneurs while attracting new ones through word-of-mouth endorsements.
Mindful of how to nurture startup founders based on his past ventures, he underscores that 1kx's ongoing fundraising approach circumvents the urgency to secure funds at specific junctures, thus facilitating the integration of fresh LPs whenever necessary. This negates the pressure for swift liquidity and ultimately redounds to the benefit of entrepreneurs. Furthermore, against the backdrop of easy capital availability, he accentuates that VCs must furnish startups with more than mere financial backing.
Clausen's Posture Amid a Bear Market
After discreetly observing the bull market in 2021 and early 2022, Clausen promptly escalated his investments during the bear market that unfolded in Q3 2022. "We really like the bear markets," Clausen said, "We know that this is the good time to be very actively investing.” While bull markets allure companies driven by quick profits sans foundational underpinnings, bear markets showcase visionary entities concentrated on tangible product development, rendering them more enticing investment prospects.
1kx adheres to a policy of retaining investments for no less than three years, a guideline Clausen finds fitting given the industry's breakneck pace of innovation. Elaborating, he expounds, "The space overall just innovates much much faster than anything else, so I think a three to five year time frame makes sense for crypto venture."
Meanwhile, 1kx has recently directed capital towards technologies such as zk technology, on-chain identity, decentralized data centers, and NFT finance. Noteworthy investments encompass Matter Labs, the architects of zkSync—an Ethereum layer-2 scaling solution—Safe, a smart contract wallet ecosystem expansion, and Impossible Cloud, a provider of distributed multi-service enterprise cloud solutions. Through these endeavors, 1kx remains at the forefront of investment and cultivation in the dynamic crypto landscape.
Writer: Chris Park, Research Contributor at DeSpread
Reviewed by Jeehyun Ham, PR Lead at DeSpread