Today’s guest is Ian Lee, the Co-Founder of Syndicate. Syndicate is a decentralized asset management platform and social network. It creates an investing syndicate for 1000x less time and money. Syndicate is a decentralized investing protocol and social network transforming how the world creates value. Previously, Ian was Managing Partner of IDEO CoLab Ventures, a crypto venture fund backed by IDEO focused on web3, crypto, and blockchain startups. From 2017-2021, Ian led investments and helped incubate 80+ crypto startups in the areas of DeFi, NFTs, DAOs, and more. From 2014-2017, Ian was the Head of Crypto at Citigroup and Citi Ventures globally. We discuss various topics, including Syndicate, Investing’s role in society, the ETH merge, the dynamics of angel investing, and much more. We began our conversation by discussing Ian’s background and what brought him to the crypto space. Ian shares how when he understood that Bitcoin and Crypto were an open Fintech stack, everything clicked for him, and he fell down the crypto rabbit hole. Ian explains why the investing industry is ripe for disruption. He breaks down how the tech stack is archaic, how bloated and slow the industry is, and how crypto can disrupt the investing sector. Ian also explains why investing is so important to society. Ian stresses that investing shapes our society by helping allocate monetary and human capital. Ian discusses how the venture capital infrastructure is incredibly inaccessible for many people because of the expenses required to start and participate in a fund. We discuss how Syndicate enables a new paradigm of capital formation by removing these barriers and eliminating the unnecessary overhead needed to create a venture fund. Our following conversation focused on how angel investors were the initial driving force that powered the Bitcoin and crypto industry. We discuss how they fueled the first startups of the space by being their primary source of capital for these early companies. We discuss the importance of DOAs and syndicates will empower more angel investing from a wider pool of people. Our next conversation topic centered around investing clubs. Ian shares that most investing clubs result from preexisting social connections and relationships. He explains how the main value these angels provide founders is not monetary but mentorship and guidance. Another fascinating topic of our conversation was reimagining the utility of ERC-721s and how they can be applied to different verticals. Ian explains how NFTs can be considered social networks and their possible applications. We discuss how Syndicate is enabling the formation of guilds. Ian describes how people with a unique set of skills are forming guilds to leverage their skills and help organizations that need these various skills. A fascinating topic we discussed centered around the ETH merge. We discuss the possible unintended consequences of the merge and how the move to POS will impact regulated organizations. Our final discussion topic centered around how Syndicate enables a swath of investing organizations to be built using Web3 tools. Please enjoy my conversation with Ian Lee.
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