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Ash Egan Launches VC Fund With $55M in ‘Inception Capital’

Acrylic has raised $55 million from an array of funds and investors to bet on early-stage crypto projects.

Jul 7, 2021 at 12:34 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 1:22 p.m. UTC

Ash Egan, a partner at Accomplice VC for the last three years, is opening his own fund called Acrylic.

The name is a reference to the kind of paint. "I think crypto investing is still an art and not a science," Egan said in an interview with CoinDesk.

Egan has raised $55 million from an array of funds and investors, including Cendana, a fund-of-funds; Accomplice, his former employer; Digital Currency Group, CoinDesk’s parent company; the founders of Bison Trails, the crypto staking company acquired by Coinbase; and others.

The fund is far smaller than new war chests from Andreessen Horowitz and Blockchain Capital but represents perhaps a more refined approach to helping crypto projects thrive.

Egan said founders have become much more clear in how they want investors to help, including in strategy, growing the community and promoting their ideas. While working on his own for now, the plan is to use the $55 million to "build an entire firm entirely focused on helping founders accomplish their vision."

Acrylic will aim to be among the first checks for very new projects, which he describes as "inception capital."

The firm has already made four investments: a governance startup called Automata, a North American mining operation called US Bitcoin Corp and two firms in rounds that have not yet been announced, one that makes decentralized finance more accessible for businesses and on that audits smart contracts.

Building blocks

Egan says he’s looking for the last few crypto primitives to come along (so far we've seen things like automated market makers, tokens and prediction markets, for example).

He’s on the lookout for the very first applications that cobble those primitives together. He wants to make equity investments in companies that are making cryptocurrency and blockchain technology accessible to the wider public.

"Broadly, my thesis is that smart contracts and crypto networks will permeate every industry, Egan said. "My belief is every kind of marketplace – every time you're interacting with the internet – can be underpinned by crypto networks."

Egan said he expects his investing to focus heavily on Ethereum due to its lead in developers and communities, but he remains blockchain-agnostic.

"I think one of the parts of the fund is just being reflexive and definitely following traction on these other layer 1s," he said.

Prior to Accomplice, Egan made investments at ConsenSys Ventures and Converge. His wins across his investing career include early backing of firms like Chainalysis, BlockFi, Balancer, Bison Trails, Mina and others.

DISCLOSURE

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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