A former lawyer, software engineer and Wall Street veteran walk into a bar. By the time they leave, everyone there is jazzed about bitcoin.
That’s how the three founders of the Israeli investment platform iAngels are promoting crypto adoption, by working with blockchain startups to secure investment and educating traditional venture capitalists about the space.
“We’re building the crypto ecosystem together with them,” iAngels co-founder Mor Assia said of her firm’s startup portfolio, which includes an equity stake in mining hardware manufacturer Bitmain and token holdings in everything from Tezos to Telegram. “Having an engineering background is very helpful when talking with entrepreneurs, especially when doing deep dives on specific technologies.”
Plus, according to the team, the iAngels subsidiary fund 21M Capital has more than $60 million in assets under management, with bitcoin making up 20 percent of the portfolio. Co-founder Agada Nameri, the former lawyer, told CoinDesk that the fund has provided 40 percent returns this year to investors who were skeptical about holding crypto assets directly.
“Most of our investors are more traditional,” Nameri told CoinDesk in Tel Aviv. “We are able to provide portfolio management in this industry. … We’re the bridge between the old world and this new industry.”
The third co-founder, Shelly Hod Moyal, added:
“I definitely see myself as a bitcoiner. We manage funds for thousands of investors from 50 countries. … We’ve been very active in explaining and educating. I’ve had talks in elderly homes explaining to them what is bitcoin, and what is blockchain.”
Regardless of how they view themselves, these investors don’t match how most people expect “bitcoiners” to look and act. They aren’t bitcoin purists, having participated in initial coin offerings by startups like Orbs and Bancor. Yet even beyond being a woman-led investment firm, a rarity in its own right, these women acknowledge there’s a delicious irony coloring their participation in the space.
In particular, Assia, wife of eToro founder Yoni Assia, is also the daughter-in-law of First International Bank of Israel board member David Assia. Even as part of one of the most powerful banking families in Israel, Assia is educating her four children to value decentralized technology more than traditional financial institutions.
“This is the way they’re going to live their lives,” she said. “They’re not going to be reliant on traditional banking.”