Alibaba Fintech Division to Invest in QEDIT

$10M worth series A financial round was led by MizMaa Ventures; Ant Financial, Meron Capital, Collider Ventures, Jovono, Target Global and RGAX took part too
08 May 2019   275

QEDIT, developing privacy-oriented solutions for commercial blockchains, closed a $ 10 million round of financing for Series A, led by venture capital firm MizMaa Ventures.

Among the participants of the round there are also Fintech division of Ant Financial, which is part of the Alibaba, Meron Capital, Collider Ventures, Jovono, Target Global and RGAX.

QEDIT develops solutions based on zero-knowledge proof compatible with private commercial blockchains. It is noteworthy that Ant Financial intends to use the technology in its blockchain services.

Note that earlier QEDIT raised $ 3 million in a seed round and $ 1 million in grants.

In the summer of 2018, Ant Financial, following the results of the round of financing of Series C, raised $ 14 billion to develop blockchain solutions an launched a cross-border settlement service based on distributed ledger technology soon.

Interview with Danil Myakin from Squilla Capital

What is Squilla Capital and how they run business in the blockchain industry
14 May 2019   208

Today we are having a conversation with Danil Myakin, Squilla Capital co-founder. Let's start with a couple of questions about yourself and then we will move forward to Squilla Capital. Why did you come to the US? Tell us about your experience.

I am an entrepreneur. I’ve done tons of different things in my life - from working in a bank and selling credit cards to selling trucks of sunflower oil internationally. Before switching to the blockchain, I worked as an HR Director of a retail chain and HR consultant.

I was always interested in tech, so it was inevitable for me to buy a mining rig at some point. Then, since I had to sell mined coins, I found myself day trading crypto, but I quit it after about a month. Information noise was crazy.

When I was doing an MBA program in San Francisco, my good friend offered me a position in his new company. I became the 3rd employee in the company. Now, in one year, we have almost 30 people. From that day, blockchain and cryptocurrency became a major part of my life.

Tell us about Squilla Capital.

Even though we have "Capital" in our name, I would call us a blockchain company, not just a fund. Here is why.

First of all, we have our own projects in the space and an in-house team of developers. This allows us to understand the technology and bottlenecks better when we evaluate investment opportunities. At the same time, we can support our portfolio companies by outsourcing some development for them, or giving access to our technologies.

Second, from day one, we decided to build a platform to automate as many internal processes as we can, such as investment and deal tracking, order execution, coins tracking, sentiment analysis, assets and stakeholder management. This decreased our overhead and gave our internal team of analysts and traders an edge over the market.

Right now this platform is in alpha test internally and with selected partner funds. We may offer it to a broader public later on.

And third, our LPs and partners have really amazing experience in fintech, gaming, and gambling. This places our fund in a sweet spot to benefit from the blockchain technology. Plus we can apply our company’s portfolio technology to existing businesses, giving them that much-desired traction and revenue.

Can you give us some examples?

Yeah, sure. One of our LP is a big microloan provider in Asia and CIS. So we invested in collateralized crypto loans early in the market. Now we are working on the application of blockchain and new approaches to credit-scoring, like a branch, to let unbanked people take uncollateralized loans.

How do you structure your investments?

When we just started, ICOs played a huge role in our investment model. However, the market has changed, so right now we are focused on Trading liquid assets, SAFT and SAFE deals.

We are closely following STO market and companies like sharespost, but haven’t been active in this domain, yet.

What industries or use-cases are you interested in?

As I stated before, fintech, gambling, and gaming are core expertise of our company, so the majority of deal flow is aggregated there. However, we are not limiting ourselves to only mentioned topics. We are actively exploring possibilities in BaaS and Web 3.0 fields.

What is your typical investment process?

We are quite small in terms of AUM, but we have a big team of developers and a good set of LPs. Hence, we try to invest as early as possible, but with a smaller check size, around 50k - 100k. From there we are helping founders to receive traction.

We share our connections to writers, share technology and resources. Since we have our technical team in Russia, we can significantly decrease costs and handheld a company to their first paying clients or promising pilots. From there we use our network to take them to bigger funds.

How the crypto winter affected you?

I would say, we got lucky. While we have been assembling the team and legal structure, winter already came. This allowed us to focus on internal processes and test our strategies and algorithms in really tough conditions.

Moreover, we couldn’t see too many opportunities with good liquidity on the market, so we started the development of internal projects.

By the end of the day, it allowed us to grow the team’s confidence and expertise, and now we are ready to roll.

Blitz:

Facebook and blockchain?

I surely can see a bullish case for them here. With their enormous user base spread all over the world, they have a perfect position to capture massive market share in cross border micropayments. Yeah, a lot of people deactivated their accounts, but they still have them.

IOEs

Hyped ICOs. Fundamentals are the same, plus major exchange listing is basically priced in from the beginning limiting growth drivers. I do not see this model sustainable in the long run.

Best investment?

BNB. When the winter has started, I expected some consolidation and Binance was the best bet. Plus they rolled out a very solid set of products. That allowed me to make 350% ROI during the bear market.

What are your expectations about the market?

We are betting our careers, and, to some extent, lives on this market and technology. That is how I feel about the market.

View Squilla webpage or follow Danil on Twitter: @DanilMyakin