Lucas Mateu is the co-founder and CEO of Vent Finance, a community crowdfunding platform for blockchain projects. He sat down with Jessica Abo to explain how Vent works and why people call his company the Kickstarter of crypto.
Jessica Abo: Lucas, tell us about your company.
Vent Finance is a multi-chain launchpad and accelerator. It’s a platform run on the Web3 space that takes projects and brings them to interested investors. It allows us to take the complexity of building tokens and taking them to market and dilute them into a very, very simple to understand concept and platform to acquire and purchase these tokens. We work with all types of projects from games, to platforms, crypto tokens, and anything that you can think out there. And we make sure that they have the right metrics, the right technology, to be able to come to the market.
Your company sounds like it’s the Kickstarter of crypto. Is that how you think about it?
That is the core of what we do. The difference is the involvement that we have with the companies. Kickstarter is more of a gateway in the sense that they have a panel, they have a gateway to pay. And they process the credit card and then basically send you the funds whenever we reach that threshold. That’s not what we do. Our platform has a layer of trust. And that level of trust actually comes from the upvotes from the community, from the governance. And what that means is projects have to be referred to us, usually through partners or through the community members. And then we really have to evaluate whether or not they have what it takes to come to the accelerator.
There are two types of projects we work with. Either projects that we incubate ourselves and we call them Vent originals or projects that actually already have a really high-level quality. What we’re doing is just connecting them to the resources that they need. But there’s definitely a high level of value-add as a company or as a project, where a Kickstarter is much more about scale. We’ve launched around 13 projects to give you an idea in the last 10 months, whereas a Kickstarter may have launched hundreds of projects in the same time frame.
Why do you think there’s always this separation between blockchain and the rest of tech?
When you think about big tech, these are very central companies that have, I’d say very hierarchical boards and directives. And that’s exactly what a lot of people in crypto don’t like, and we want to build something that doesn’t depend on anyone like these people. So when we look at our product, as a technology, we definitely want to bring the simplicity of any Web2 products like Uber or any other app that you would use like Instagram. But we need to leverage the technology and the ownership of this kind of gig economy/Web3 space. It’s still the same technology. We’re still using the same devices, it’s not like any of that has changed. What we’re changing is who owns the infrastructure. And then we’re also changing who’s building on top of it. What are the rules? Are there shareholders, does that concept even apply to this space?
And given your expertise, how do you think entrepreneurs should choose between venture capital and crowdfunding?
I don’t think one removes the other mostly because the racing appetite is very different. If you ask yourself, would you put, I don’t know, $10 towards a novice idea that you saw on Kickstarter? Maybe you’re like, you know what, I think it’s a great idea. I’ll put $10, but if I asked you to put 20% of your savings into a company that might or might not make it. You’d be like, you know what, maybe that’s not exactly what I’m looking for. But a venture capitalist that’s doing that professionally and understands how to evaluate and how to follow up. And that has insurance and all these other tools that maybe they can take that risk. And so I think a combination of both is really important.
What has kind of changed with the crypto and Web3 space is bringing together so many people and having this digital asset as a tool, a token. It just allows you to really give that sense of ownership or that sense of distributed funding, to an extent that’s way beyond what you would be able to do with the crowdfunding platforms that exist out there in the traditional space. And so for me, it’s the combination of both getting some really good VCs that believe in your idea and that support you long term with high risk. And then as soon as you can, and as soon as you have something tangible that you can go and say, ‘Hey, community, this is what I’m building.’ Then they understand the complexity of the product. And they’re like, ‘cool. I want to be part of this.’ And you can ask for something in return.