Episode 485: Des Martin, Chief Marketing Officer at Outlier Ventures

In this episode, Mike Townsend interviews Des Martin, Chief Marketing Officer at Outlier Ventures where he sets marketing goals and objectives for the business, driving change and growth across the organization. Des joined Outlier Ventures from Brave, where he served as VP of Growth and Marketing for almost three years. Responsible for growing their daily active users from 800k to 11M, Des was key in positioning Brave as a breakthrough Web3 project.

Prior to this, Des led marketing teams at two high-growth tech companies, Perkbox and Qualtrics, through periods of rapid growth. Perkbox gained recognition from both Linkedin’s Top UK Start-Ups and the National Business Awards under his direction. Des continues to actively invest and mentor Web3 companies.

Host: Mike Townsend

Guest: Des Martin

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Episode Transcript

Mike: Thanks for tuning into another episode of Around The Coin. Today's guest is Des Martin, the ChiefMarketing Officer at Outlier Ventures. Outlier Ventures is a crypto web threeaccelerator. They have over 220 companies that have gone through the accelerator.Previously, Des was at Brave Browser. We talked a little bit about his time at.

Brave. We talked about what they'redoing at Outlier Ventures. We touched on the influence of US regulatory policy,the influence that the US has on other countries that is based in Ireland. Wechatted pre-show about living in Ireland and the influence that the UK has andwe just the international relations, as it pertains to crypto, which areespecially timely poignant now. Hope you enjoy this conversation. If you do, pleasegive us a thumbs up, a like share wherever you listen to it, and please dorecommend guests if you have guests you want to submit or people who want tojoin the show. Without further ado, I bring you Des Martin.  


Mike: All right, Des. Well,thanks for hopping on the podcast today. I'm really excited to dive deeper inwith you. You've been working at two really significant influential cryptoprojects, brave Browser, which I've been a big fan of for a long time. I'veinterviewed the CTO and Outlier Ventures now, which you guys are the largestaccelerator for Web three by volume of companies invested is my understanding.

That's correct. Yep. Yeah. If there'sany other context you wanted to add before we,

Des: Mike, great to behere. I think you've covered it. I, I think my, my kind of career story overthe last maybe decade and a half has really been about growing companies andI've been very lucky that I've joined quite a few companies during periods of,of, of high growth.

And, and outlier ventures where I am nowhas also in the last year gone through a rapid, rapid expansion. We were ourbase camp accelerator program, the throughput every quarter was about kind of12 to 15 teams. Last quarter in, in, in q1 we did 40 two teams and we're gearingup to do 50 teams a quarter.

And like you mentioned, that makes usthe largest, the number one. And Web three accelerator globally. And that'sreally interesting cuz loads of insights come out of like sitting on top ofthat and seeing the teams that come through the projects where founders are at,where the industry is at. So yeah, happy to share some of that Maybe o over thecourse of our, our chat.

Mike: Yeah, let's dive inthere.  

I'd love to better understand what arethe, the like two or three things that a two or three reasons why a companywould join an accelerator and then more specifically, outlier, obviously.Typically it's money, it's guidance for helping to grow or insights in theindustry for how to acquire users.

And then maybe recruiting, I mean, arethose the three big ones? Are there other ones that stand out?  

Des: I, I think there's,there's quite a few. And, and with outlier, we kind of pride ourselves on theextras that we bring. And I think with every accelerator you expect just thatsome sort of acceleration process, but with.

With outlier, like within the threemonths of our program, teams accelerate, 18 months plus. And that's, that'ssuper valuable. So if we're to look at, over the course of that three monthprogram the Hive Mind of Outlier, we have over a hundred and staff. We've gotsubject matter experts in token, omics, legal, regulatory marketing, advisory,go to market strategy.

And we've got a really broad range ofmentors from across the industry. All of those people feed in. And the feedbackwe get from founders is that it's really full on, like there's a lot coveredand they really co, they, they develop a lot in, in that space of time. Sothat, that compacted learning is, is really useful on a number of levels.

And the first one is you've learned witha group of peers. So you've got people you can share. So you have that sort ofnetwork that comes out of it. Plus our wider alumni, we've got 220, over 220companies in our portfolio. So you can imagine the, the amount of founders andthe sharing and the knowledge that can happen within that.

But a really big one is coming out theother side. We will introduce teams to our investor network. And those teamshave been through this Learning Pro process and they, they tend to do reallywell in terms of getting follow on funding and helping them with their nextphase of growth. Or indeed, sometimes it's launching a product and, and goingto market.

But yeah, it's, it's, it's a reallybroad range of, of, of things. Maybe the traditional accelerator is a littlebit limited in comparison to, to what, what we do at outlier. We, we really.Get behind each team and we try to put as much as we can into, ensuring thelater success of that, of, of those, those founders, first and foremost.

More, more so than anything. We arefounder first.  

Mike: Yeah. And so, so yourun these cohorts that are a quarter long. Are they culminated? Do they end ina demo day? Like a traditional  

Des: Yes. So our demo dayis called Elevate. Took place last week. And that's a chance for teams toshowcase what they're about to, to the public.

We also have a private event where teamscan pitch investors, but we do keep those separate. Obviously, investing in anearly stage and we need, qualified investors. But, but we, we have both. Sothere's a chance to show the world and there's a chance to to do thetraditional demo day in pitch to potential investors.

Mike: And how does it differfrom traditional. Web two companies. I think of fundraising for Web three askind of a skewed or slightly different approach where you're maybe raisingmoney to give away tokens or some sort of financial incentive. Typically, webtwo is like, or just a traditional capitalization structure for raising moneyis you're selling equity in return for money, and that could be in aconvertible debt where the equity is delayed, but that's.

That's basically the trade. What's thetypical trade or the typical mechanism for investing in web three companies? Orhow many, is it settled? Like do 95% of comp companies do it one way, or is itcompletely all over the map? Or what are you seeing there?  

Des: It, it, it changes asthe market cycle changes. So I think, if we were to look back maybe a year agoand, and even as far as kind of maybe up to nine months ago, it was very much,early stage projects, which would be what we would invest in, proceed andprecede.

Our looking at, at raising money byAaft. And, and, and that is ultimately. The exchange of tokens. Once once they'vedone token launch that market has slowed down, right? So the wider web threespace is going through, it's no secret, a bit of a bear market. And theemphasis now is very much on if a project has equity, equity takes takespriority and raising money by staff is still.

It's still possible, it's stillhappening. I don't have the exact stats, but the, the, in the current crop ofinvestors are really looking for how do I get equity and or tokens And, andalso they, they want to ensure that the team and the project has a path to to,to real break even like credibly.

And I think in the height of a bullmarket, in the height of maybe the biggest tech bubble, We've ever seen, Ithink people will look back and say the, the, the covid tech explosion wasmaybe on a par with the.com in some sec in some ways. So I think when, whenthings are weighed up, founders, investors that are looking for founders,they're looking for, can you get to break even?

Is this a project that is going to startto deliver? A tangible product, real revenues. And, and that's quite differentto what we would've seen 18 months ago. Now, outlier has always looked forthose things in, in our founders, but the wider market was really frothy andthere was very much a, a wider trend where people would invest and investorswould put money in hoping the tokens would come out, and then those tokenswould be liquid very quickly, and then they could exit.

And that's that, that some elements ofthat may return, hopefully a responsible element of that will return, but that,that, that world is behind us where that sort of money in to, to token flipquickly is not, is not a, it's, it, we don't see it in the market at themoment, not for real projects.

Mike: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.  

And is that because it just doesn't.It's just it doesn't work Or do you think it, it was too early or it, it justlike a bad, bad mechanism for raising?  

Des: Well, so I think Ithink at the moment there's not a lot of appetite to, to, to, to buy tokens.Right. I think there's been, the US unfortunately has gone considerably anticrypto, I think, I think it's fair to say, right.

Elizabeth Warren maybe behind thescenes, Bernie Sanders, they, they, they have, and, and, and the s sec thatthere has been a, a consistent move with this operation choke 0.2 0.0. That,that has reduced the I think the, the appetite to, to invest in the US and thenother parts of the world.

We've had inflation. People have lessmoney in their pocket. So all of these things mean that there is less. Appetitewhen a token comes on, comes on the market, but there's still scope forquality. And I think that's the important thing. So there are still qualityprojects that are coming out, that are launching tokens that are doing well.

Less, but, but that, that's still there.And I think when some normality returns to the market, when there's someclarity from the s e c when there is some international clarity aroundregulation, I, I think we will see a sea change and some data points aroundthis. Larry Fink. Sits over the biggest, assets under management globally withBlackRock, I think it's about 13 trillion.

He has said that he sees tokenization asbeing a an important part of how financial markets evolve. And, and many otherswho are in very senior positions have said similar things. So, so tokenizationis going to be a feature of the future, but the exact mechanism, the exact wayit's, it's done won't look like it was before, which was kind of flippingtokens quickly.

I think there will be a structure thatwill enable people to responsibly put out tokens. But it'll have to be done ina way that fits regulation and fits within legal jurisdictions. Would be my mytake on it.  

Mike: Further. Companiesthat you've seen, you've seen a lot of companies go through and, and there havebeen even before your time.

What are, are there certain filters,categories models that you have seen that seem to work? The best or better thanothers? Like is there a, of the companies that are working, maybe there's a fewexamples you can give of specific companies. Yeah, but I'm, I'm reallyinterested in what, what, what category of company is emerging as financiallyviable at this point.

Des: Yeah. Well there aretwo that I can mention. Now we invested in, in these companies way back, sowe're talking 2018, possibly 2019. Fetch AI and Ocean Protocol. Both are, Isuppose, riding the wave of some of the AI. Enthusiasm that's kind of brokenout recently. But we, we invested in them a long time ago and I think thoseprojects are kind of coming of age cuz it does take time for projects to, to,to, to, to develop.

But the reason I mentioned those inconjunction with AI is that we've had this thesis that, that goes backsometime. Our founder, Jamie, has referred to the convergence thesis and, andthat is that certain. Big technological trends are actually going to convergeand, and they will overlap. So we have ai, we have what's happening in the, inthe metaverse, and then with what's happening in kind of web three andblockchain.

And, and those things are starting,we're starting to see that, that, that, that, that overlap. Which, which is,which is really exciting. In fact, I dunno if you noticed on Twitter Grimes shehas said that her. Any music that is done with imitations of her voice, she'llsplit the royalties with people which is a combination of AI and blockchain totrack which is interesting.

And then there's a metaverse componentwith some of the the artwork that she does. So that's just one example whereyou're seeing all three in the last couple of days. It's kind of spark off eachother. But hopefully that gives you some, some insight. I think our, at thecore of where, where we look at is these big technological trends and we'veinvested in, in, in those three areas quite heavily.

Some infrastructure as well thatunderpins them, but we've invested heavily in those over the last five years inparticular. And I think that gives us a good balance. We didn't know Chay DPTwas gonna take off, but you can see these trends are slowly building and theyare. Coming together as well as they as they, as they grow.

Mike: So would the, wouldthe inverse also be true? Would you say that without convergence there is not asubstantial viable. Investment thesis, like if you were just to invest in acrypto project that is innovating on a specific like, foreign exchange tradingmechanism. Like if you take just a pure financial technology industry, thetraditional financial technology industry.

Yeah. And you have a, a web threecompany that just innovates on one part of that. It doesn't integrate ai. It'snot, it's not looking at social, it's just taking. Whatever commodityderivative something and they're just putting it on  

Des: webs  

of DeFi, something like that. Yeah.Yeah. I don't, I think.

The, maybe the breakthrough moments willpotentially come with some of the convergence. I think particularly when you'redoing early-stage investing, you, you're not looking at the world as it is.You're looking at the world as it's going to be in four or five, maybe even 10years time. And I think the things you've mentioned, we've invested in, in,quite a few DeFi projects and, we understand that there is going to be some.

Legal and regulatory hurdles that needto be, overcome. But there's, there's, there's actual tangible benefit. And thetraditional world of finance has quite a few. There are, there are moats that,that make it much slower for things to be adopted, but ultimately a, a, abetter product or something that cuts out a lot of intermediaries and a lot ofinter in inefficiencies.

It's kind of like, Water through rock,it finds a way over time. Right. It can be slow at the beginning, but it does,it does find a way.  

Mike: Interesting. I,

Iwanna ask you a little bit more about the, the influence of regulation. We'vehad. Or, NFTs, which are influenced by regulation, but certainly the issuanceof capital, the people investing in crypto projects, getting tokens, the, therise and fall of these different hype cycles is staggering.

At one point I remember, I had like fourdifferent friends starting an NFT trading business. And and actually a companyI was involved in was acquired through that. Where is there, is it, have thesethings gone to completely, like, I don't, I don't wanna say dead, but 1%, 2% oftheir previous existence.

When you think of investing usingtokens, NFTs you tell me like, Why are they so sharp and how do they live high?

Des: I think there are hypecycles and there are adoption cycles, right? And new, new tech tends to come inthis like S curve where the bottom of the S is always higher than the previousbottom.

Until there's a breakthrough moment. SoI think it's very easy, particularly in a bear market to write off. Everythingthat happened in a previous cycle. And, and the reality is there is a lot offraud and there's a lot of stuff that that should be written off, but there's alot of really good core, projects and primitives and things that are laid downthat, that maybe it won't be clear on until a little more time has passed.

And that's not just crypto or web three,that that's, that's railroads. That's the telecoms boom. Like, these, thesewaves of technology they have, after the hype, people tend to go overlynegative on things and they tend to go, well, everything is in the same bucket.And that's, that's actually opportunity.

That's, from an investor point of view,that's where there is real opportunity because you've got to see some of thesetechnologies in the wild. You've gotta see what some of the potential is. Yes,maybe some of the wider users or, or maybe some of the, the investmentcommunity have, have, have kind of moved away from them.

But the, the potential is there. Thepromise is there. And the thing that keeps me particularly excited about thespace is the quality of founders that are coming in, that are building uponthe, the infrastructure layers. But sometimes it's the previous projects or theideas we are seeing more founders applying to our accelerator than ever before,and the quality is up.

The background is, is really impressive.People who. Maybe had worked in, in, in well-known big tech companies or peoplewho had, pretty successful careers, multiple time founders. They're all nowlooking at some of the things that happened over the last two to three yearsand saying, well, that was actually really interesting, but maybe it wasn'tdone right or This bit had a lot of potential, it could be done this way.

So I think that that, that kind of crazyfrothy wave. There are green shoots in there and we will start to see them. Wesee them on our side, but I think the wider public will start to see them aswell in the coming maybe even the coming year.

Mike: How could, what, sojust to, so I understand you correctly,  

you're saying that you've seen moreapplications of founders come in this year than last year?

Yep. Given that it is a bear market to asignificant degree, how, how do you. Explain that. I would, I would think thatthat, that, that feels very counterintuitive. I think there's a lot morefounders rushing in when the market is super frothy. But you're saying the opposite,that people are now in a bear market, there's more people coming in andapplying.

Des: Yes. And it, it's agood one. I, I think about that a bit. I'm like, so why? And I think there are,there are many factors. I don't think we can put it down to one. I think.There's a lot of people who are sitting on the sidelines and with all of thevarious different tech layoffs and the different kind of changes that havehappened, I sense a lot of people are, are looking for, for somethingdifferent.

But the interesting thing is what we'reseeing now is the builders. We're not seeing the frothy, the people who, as yousay, maybe heard about something where they felt they could make a ton of moneyquite quickly. We are seeing people who are coming in to build coreinfrastructure to build projects with a long term view.

And, and that's, I think that's reallypromising, right? When the, when the tourists leave and the builders come outin, in numbers. I, I think that's yeah, that, that's a really good sign. I, I don'thave a very clear, like, we, we are seeing more, more applications and morebuilders for one reason.

But I, I do think a lot of peoplewatched the last three years play out, wanted to do something and now feel it'sthe right time.  

Mike: Yeah. Yeah.  

There's a kind of cliche that in thedown markets is when everyone builds, there's less excitement, lessdistraction. I would talk to people, I'd interview people in the podcast, andthey're, they're like, oh my God, the last week, the last two weeks are crazy.

And what they're getting at is, Thecrazy, the word crazy means distraction. It means people are sending youtelegram messages. This company's doing this. This is a massive change. And somaybe it's not about the up and down, maybe it's about volatility and like nothaving your Twitter or your telegram blow up with messages.

Means you're more productive. I wantedto ask you a little bit more. You, you mentioned Elizabeth Warren's declarationof war against crypto, and that seems to be a, a quite overt direction that thes e C and the United States Federal Government is taking against crypto. Isthis something that you see a a number of founders concerned about?

Do, do they just throw caution to thewind and jump in regardless? Do you think the. B existential risk of like theus like clamping down hard and almost banning all crypto projects and cryptotrading and the influence of the United States and the western world. Like, isthat a real threat? Because that it, it felt to me like we had.

Past the point of escape velocity. Youhave hundreds of companies in your crypto project. I talk to people who aresuper, super smart. They're running projects with dozens or hundreds of peoplewith millions and millions of do. It felt like this is, this is beyondexperimental mode. And now the, this talk of like banning crypto, it just, whatdo you think about this?

Is this like, She would be as worriedas  

Des: well, I suppose firstof all, I, I've worked for US companies and I've lived in the US but I'm not aUS citizen, so I'm always kind of wary of throwing in my 2 cents when I'm notresident in that country. So it makes me a little bit, there's an element ofsadness when I see the us turning its back on an industry that I.

I, I, I, I love one, I think as, as ahuge potential. What we are seeing is a lot of founders are very mobile, right?So, I don't have the stats to hand, but we've seen quite a lot of teams fromthe US get through to our investment committee too, which is the, the stagebefore we offer they can offer and to go on our accelerator.

But I understand some of those foundersare in, they're in like Lisbon in Portugal. Some of them are in Dubai, some ofthem are in London. Some of them are in Mexico Canada. So maybe there is, and Idon't have enough data points for this, so this is, some of this is, is Isuppose kind of anecdotal, but it, it does seem that founders are, are maybemigrating outside of the us or, or else they're looking to, be based in the usbut most of their energy and efforts will be overseas.

That, that seems to be the trend that'semerging.  

Mike: From an outside, fromsomebody not living in the US outside perspective, why do you think the US isso strongly targeting crypto as an enemy?

Des: I can just guess I, Ithink it, it does seem that there is quite a most of the people who areregulating so hard against crypto are, are over 70, right.

So they, they don't come from a positionwhere they really understand the space. And I also would assume that whoever islobbying them the hardest is, is probably not putting a very positive slant on,on, on the space. So, money talks to some degree. So I think crypto doesn'treally have a strong lobby.

I think we will learn from this. I thinkthere will be a very strong lobby that will emerge. That will maybe give cryptoan edge in time, but it's one of the things you gotta retreat, rebuild, andthen work, work forward. So I think those are, those are some of the things. Ialso think the ftx, debacle, whatever you wanna call it like that.

And from what I understand, and I, I doneed to check this, but as far as I understand, Gary Gensler was very close togiving. FTX regulatory clearance on a whole range of different things. So that,that would've, it's, it's pretty incredible that somebody so, so in, in thetent, somebody who was very close to the, the, the traditional financial systemgot exposed in such a way that I think there's I think e everybody must havebeen doubting themselves afterwards going, hang on.

Like if somebody, and I think there wasalways signs, I, I'm always skeptical as a, as a footnote, I'm always skepticalof somebody in crypto who kind of in one cycle appears explodes and, and, and,there's, you kind of need somebody run for two cycles to really understand theups and the downs that there's, but But that aside, I think the USestablishment is going, when somebody we thought was reputable, turned out tonot be and turned out to blow up in such a way, I think everybody then istrying to distance themselves and go, well, we had nothing to do with this andtrying to.

Put as much distance as as possible. Somaybe FTX fallout is also a, a consideration.

Mike: Yeah.  

So having a kind of a strong incumbentfinancial market, which probably has all the incentive and money to lobby the,the, the points in government like Elizabeth Warren who are most likely tolisten to it.

There's also obviously FTX fallout,which seems to me like it's just. Maybe it was a function of the culture, butit, it seemed like any bank could have done the same thing, and in fact, likethey did, right? Yeah. Silicon Valley Bank went under, but it wasn't for the,it wasn't for the, like the blatant.

I don't know if it's labeled fraud nowin hindsight, but moving money out of an account that you said would be justfor trading it, it seemed like it had really nothing to do with crypto, butmaybe the culture behind running a crypto company with super young people andThe Bahamas. Yeah. That is just like figuring out as you go.

So they didn't have, like if you go intoa bank, they're just gonna have this culture of regulation and oversight andYes. And that just, that just pervades every bank because they have to open upthe banking charter and they have to get the licensure and they have to have achief finance, like everyone is thinking about oversight and regulation.

Des: I. Yeah, we'll hit onsomething really, really interesting and that is that the earlier regulation inthe US pushed a lot of firms offshore and the fact that FTX was offshore meantthat, as far as I know, they used QuickBooks for their accounting system. Therewas a whole load of things that were just, so, there were like Swiss cheese,there was holes in so many things that they did.

And, and nobody was ever there to, to,to, to, to check it. They, they bought a lot of people really nice property inThe Bahamas and I understand that meant that they had, carte blanche in, in,in, in, in The Bahamas to kind of be and do as they as they choose. And that'sreally unhealthy cuz So they had no checks, there was no checks and balances ona very young founder.

And, and there are stories that, whenbig firms like Sequoia were talking about investing. He was like, okay, wellwe'll talk about investing after we played League Legends and whatever. And itwas all this sort of culture, which was it was almost too good to ask questionswhich is very suspect.

But again, I think the fact that FTXwasn't regulated is, is, is a, it was a core problem. What I don't understand,and maybe you can tell me as somebody who's sitting outside of the US. Coinbaseseemed to do everything they could to be regulated, to go down that route toget listed. Circle who are affiliated with Coinbase Jeremy Alastair, I thinkhis name is.

But they, they, they really dideverything they could the right way, as far as I understand. And now they havebeen kind of thrown under the bus. I, I can't quite understand that part. Forme, that's the question. When you had people who wanted to be your, yournatural partner, partner in the US be the flag bearer and, and then we gotdistracted or, or the US got distracted with, with ftx and now it's like, okay,it's all bad.

I, I. That, that part confuses me.  

Mike: Yeah. I, I feel like acouple influences play into this. One is the United States owns the globalreserve currency, and so that, and in a declining empire is one of the lastremaining major leverage points that a country has from a federal perspective.So yeah, crypto Bitcoin in particular is the off-ramp to that.

And so that's the escape hatch thatpeople can run to. If the United States starts printing off its debts andinflation starts really grinding up, and so they wanna block the exits before.They crank and start printing. That would be one influence. The second, as youmentioned, like the lobbying is the existing in infrastructure is the wholeworld.

The financial markets really run on USbanking rails, as determined after World War ii, those huge influence andregulation. So I think that's another thing. And when the crypto market iscranking and it's just. Booming, then you don't have any political leverage.Everyone's like, oh, this is the greatest thing ever.

But then as soon as there's the ftx, assoon as the market crashes, as soon as we hit the political instability, nowpeople want sa they prioritize safety over innovation. So that's where I thinkthe, the change in the, the political wins to look at crypto as the enemy meansthat, okay, just like a, I think of these systems.

Oftentimes is analogous to organicsystems. You have your body and then everything in it is looking for threats ofinvaders. And when it detects one, your immune system recognizes it and itattacks. The threat to the, the establishment regulated body is non-regulatedentities. So you'd say, well, why would they attack Coinbase?

Well, sometimes the body has anautoimmune disease where it recognizes its own self as the enemy and. It doesthat because of a, a a a, like a mischaracterization of what itself is. And soI think the federal government is now reconceptualizing itself as a US dollarentity, like the federal government and the US dollar are.

They're, they are the same thing. Theyare preserving themselves and so they look at Coinbase and they say, oh, you'rethe exit outta here. Even though you're regulated. We shouldn't have done that.That was a mistake. You shouldn't have been allowed to even get regulation inthe first base. Thus attack dogs and they figure out a way to bring 'em down.

Des: Yeah. Yeah. I also thinkthe nature of the Bitcoin narrative, as you say, that it is the off-ramp. Andthe, there's a lot of chat about de de dollarization around the globe and, andji she's, million dollar bet. All of those things. They don't go unnoticed. SoI think they do, they, they do bring us into conflict with with regulators andwith the Paris.

That be because it is a directchallenge. But I dunno if you've read, there's a book called a SovereignIndividual, if you're familiar with it. Yeah. Written in like the mid ninetiesre Smog and James Davidson. Jim Davidson perhaps is the name. But you know,it's very interesting. They laid out a lot of this stuff before, before Bitcoinwas around.

And they had a phrase that like cybercommerce would lead to. I think what they call it, it was some sort of like, adigital they didn't call it digital currency, but the, the equivalent. Butthey, they laid out a lot of the stuff that as governments start to lose powerand as they start to print more there, there is a, a temptation for people tostart moving into the digital.

And moving away from being kind oftrapped within a traditional nation state and being kind of trapped withintraditional regulations and taxation. So that's something people have beentalking about for a long time. And I think, I think the powers that be are kindof like, okay, we can't let that go too far.

And we're gonna have a very interesting,maybe decade ahead as these. Kind of forces play out against each other.

Mike: I agree. I think, Ithink Topology's point, I, I agree with many of the things he says. One of oneof which that I think is central to his perspective and mental model of, of theworld is the shift from left versus right, blue versus red.

Sprinkle in yellow and you have USdollar green for his Bitcoin orange, and I think that that, that's what he'seffectively betting on, is that there's gonna be, you have to be forced, likeDes, do you wanna join Team US Dollar Green or Bitcoin Orange? And that, he'slike that. That's enough of a tension.

Like there's a, it's not like OccupyWall Street where it's like 97 3, this is closer to 50 50 maybe. Like there's somestates, Texas, Florida, Wyoming, who have. Already passed laws that incorporatecrypto. So politicians are accepting salary in Bitcoin. Yeah, I think that'llbe the the tell. I, I wanted to ask you though, why maybe do you see, and ifnot, why not?

Why are there not more centralizedefforts among crypto companies and accelerators like yourself to organize akind of resistance, a centralized point of resistance, whether it's. A petitionthat people can sign, a campaign, a, a law, maybe just write the law and see ifyou can get it passed. I was, as a interesting side note, I was learning moreabout how psychedelics were regulated.

And there's a, I live in Oregon and mywife is really into this field. And the, the person who, the Oregon, it's likewe hear these high level things like Oregon passes psilocybin legalized magicmushroom law with clinical interventions. And they had this thing like mappedout. It's like, oh, go Oregon, but it's not go Oregon.

It's go these two people who sat around.And wrote a bill on Google Docs and drove to the State House and like pitchedit there. It's like, it's very grassroots and, but you can really make thingshappen over a course of a couple years. And I, I don't, maybe I don't see itand it's happening, but do you give me your take?

Like, why is there not a, why, why don'tyou and a bunch of other crypto people that are running large com firms justwrite the law, write the bill rather, and then. Try to get it passed. I getyou're outside the us I'm not saying you specifically, but I'm,  

Des: yeah, well, I, Ithink, and we, we do we do try work with the uk authorities over here.

And I, I suppose help educate and, and,and, and steer things. It, it's a good point. I, I believe Coinbase has triedto do this and they have tried to be a maybe a voice for, for, for some ofthis. It, it, it's a good point. I I don't, I couldn't give you a really, aconcrete answer. All I can say is that it's, it's needed, right?

And I think in the us and again, notbeing a US citizen, I'm was very careful of, saying too much. Cuz I don'tnecessarily know exactly how things are on the ground. But I do think you guyshave like a really strong. Tradition, I, I'm a big fan of the founding fathersand, and, and their initial documents, like there is, there is a real chance tochange.

And I think in the US it seems to me thechange maybe is not so much. I wrote a petition and went to the State House,but it's like I'm actually gonna move to the state, which is most friendly.And, and then you get this, people vote with their, their location and it's amore powerful vote than maybe a vote at the ballot box because it, it reallysteers things and the.

Apparent decline of California and therise of some other states is really shocking for me. For somebody on theoutside, I used to love San Francisco and the last time I was there was 2020,early 2020. And I was shocked. And I understand it's gone downhill quite a lotsince then. But I, I do think that's, that's part of the magic of the us.

People in Europe would not do that,right? That's not the European thing. I don't think anybody else in the US oroutside of the US has that sort of mobility where it's like, I'm gonna go whereI'm treated the way I want to be. So I think that's, that's fascinating. And togo back to your point about Silicon Valley Bank earlier and Balaji's Point,things happen so fast tonight.

Silicon Valley Bank went from everythingis fine to a handful of, newsletters. And, and a couple of VCs saying, we'renot so sure to the bank going under. So in a, in a social media, in a always onworld, People could very quickly decide, well, I'm, I'm switching to, to teamBitcoin, or I'm switching to maybe Team Gold.

I'm switching to whatever team. Butthat's, that's a very interesting dynamic. Things could change very, very fast.I still think Bach's bet of a million dollar Bitcoin is, is probably a littlebit I, I don't think, I don't think it's gonna happen within the allotted time.May, maybe in a couple of years.

Mike: Well, I think he, hewould also agree. In fact he, he, it's a lose lose. Like if it, if it ever wereto get to a million, then he would've been better off just keeping the oneBitcoin, yeah. And obviously if it doesn't, then he loses. So it's, he, he, I thinkhe would say, yeah, there's very little chance it gets there in 90 days, butmore so that it's like, it's supposed to call attention to the issue.

Des: Yeah. I think youdescribed it as the Paul Revere kind of moment and. I, I, I, I, I followed himearly during Covid and he, he really tried to tell the world about how, howpeople need to be aware of covid, the risks, the dangers, and he was talkingabout that in, I think, early January. I'm not to fact check me on this, butvery, very early way ahead of everybody else, and he wasn't listened to.

And I, I would say maybe that haunts hima little bit or maybe that's something that he feels the next time he sees acomparable situation. He needs to let people know and he needs to do it in away that really grabs people's attention. And, and maybe he felt, I dunno whathis financial position is, but maybe he thought putting yeah, a million, Ithink it might actually be 2 million on the line was, was worthwhile to.

To get people thinking and maybe to, tosteer people in a particular direction.  

Mike: Hundred percent.Hundred percent. How,  

what do you think the influence of theregulatory policies in the US are outside the US and other developed Westerncountries? I mean, do you think if the US say hypothetically in the next fiveyears does clamp down hard, like all crypto exchanges shut down, access to thecrypto rails cut off, where like in prohibition does that, how does thataffect.

To the UK and, and other westerncountries.  

Des: Well, there, there areparallels here, right? So when the US went off the gold standard, the Eurodollar market moved to London. So, and if you look at JP Morgan hsbc, all thebiggest banks in the world there, HQ is in London. Which counterintuitively,London has been a financial center for a long time, but it's kind ofcounterintuitive.

They would be in London and not in theus, which is. Really the economic hub, or at least has been over the last 40years. And that's because the, the US pushed certain stuff offshore and the UKgladly took it. And, and it was a huge business. And, the London boomed in theeighties the UK transformed from there being riots in the streets and all sortsof different things going on in the seventies to being a very kind of, yuppyculture in, in, in the eighties.

And that was because a lot of bankinginstitutions and, and, and financial flows went through the uk. So I thinkpotentially something similar might happen. I'm not gonna be a carbon copy, butRishi Sunk has said that he is open to exploring and making the UK a morecrypto friendly space. So I think the UK is definitely seeing an opportunity.

And in the Middle East, I'm surprisedhow many applications we get from the Middle East. How many founders are there?There is a lot of founders, interestingly enough, a lot of Indian founders,India is not super friendly towards crypto, so a lot of them would be based in,in the Middle East. And then further into Asia, there's, there's quite a lothappening.

But a lot of those smaller territories,even interestingly, even Hong Kong, which is under the thumb of, of China andthe ccp, but they've recently opened up Singapore. Temasek, their sovereignWealth fund is invested in quite a lot of crypto and web three projects. Sothere, there seems to be pockets that are positioning themselves for, for anemergent industry.

And it, it seems like those pocketswill, will be the beneficiaries. Now exactly how you play that out. I, I, Idon't know. But I, I do think, parts of Africa, parts of Latin America theyneed the, the innovation that's provided by, everything from digital money to abanking system that banks, everybody that has loans, that has access, thatoffers a whole range of services they just can't get so, it's, it's not likethe US shutting up shop stops the rest of the world.

I, I think maybe some of the, thefounders in the capital migrate to certain areas and certain markets that maybeare ignored by traditional finance could open up in, in substantial ways.Mm-hmm. Yeah. It's kind of some of the things that I, I kind ofanticipated.  

Mike: That all checks out onmy end. Yeah. Good. The next I've heard the next America is the internet, so.Odd word network.  

Des: Well, like that's thething we've been speaking about, regulation and speaking about again, so manythings when regulation comes in, they just grind to a halt. And there's beenquite a lot of stuff in Europe recently with Germany closing down their last nuclearpower plants.

And nuclear power is very what's theword? People have very strong opinions on it one way or the other, but in termsof outputs, it is much greener than, than, than than coal. But you know,Europe, the, the nuclear industry through through regulation pretty muchstopped in the eighties. It just, there's been no new plants built.

Everything's been, been shut down. Andthere's a new way of building plants, gen four, right, which is always offrather than always on. So if something goes wrong, it switches off rather thanit going on like a trenoble or any of these others or a Fukushima. So, there'smy point being just because something is The, the, the traditional world ofatoms stuff gets regulated so much that a lot of really promising things areunfortunately regulated to a, to a standstill.

But you can't do that in, in, in theinternet, right? So that's the magic, that's the beauty of the internet is thatit is, but to some degree we need our, our, our founding fathers and maybe Bitcoinand, and the Bitcoin White paper is part of that. But we need those, thosetenants that help people understand what this new frontier can be.

And I love the idea that people aregonna migrate from online communities to offline communities rather than theother way around. So people were friends and then they went on Facebook andthey went from kind of physical to digital. I think now a lot of people who'vegot common interests around the world meet online.

And we'll start to migrate to physicallocations. Yeah. And I find that really interesting. It's kind of JI'S networkspace, right? Yeah. Yeah. But I think there's a, you can see it in manydifferent places, even from link style golfers coming together and buying golfcourses. But I see it in lots of small little ways and lots of differentcommunities, and I find that, I find that fascinating.

Mike: Are, are you working,are there any companies that have come through the pipeline that are addressingthis specific area?  

Des: Within our portfolio?Off the top of my head, no. Well, obviously we have a number of DAOs that havebeen through our our, our portfolio. We actually provide advisory services forDAOs as well, which is quite relevant.

And I think DAOs as a space are stillemerging and they really need to be able to plug into a, an actual legalframework for them to have. Full reach, that full potential, because otherwiseit's a bit notional. But I, I think, I think the, the potential is, is, isthere, we. Don't, to the best of my knowledge have a, a kind of a, a digital tophysical.

There are 220 projects in our portfolio.Mm-hmm. So I may have missed one, but Sure. I, I think I just see lots ofinklings of it, that a lot of projects are, are the physical meetups, peoplemigrating together, these hubs that are emerging. It all kind of points in thatdirection.  

Mike: It's exciting. I knowyou had to jump.

Is there anything that we didn't talkabout that you wanted to mention? Before we

Des: jump out we kind ofcovered a lot of stuff in there. Anything that I would mention? Yes, well,maybe a call to founders. Any, any founders that are building in web three thatare doing something interesting.

Something that's, that's innovative,particularly if it crosses over those elements that I mentioned within. TheMetaverse, X R V R A R web three DeFi. I'm really looking at how we reimaginethe financial plumbing, and then ai any of those elements. And please check outour website, outlierventures. Io, and we have applications for our next programopening up next month in May, middle of May.

Mike: Awesome, Des and we'llhave links to Twitter and the website and everything else in the show notes.Are you active on Twitter? Do you wanna throw out your

Des: I am indeed. Yes. Youcan find me at @dessie_martin. Sweet. You can follow my musings there.  

Mike: Well, I feel like wecould have gone another hour plus.

I would love to someday and have youback on. But in the meantime, thanks so much for hopping on today, Des. It'sbeen a lot of fun.  

Des: Awesome. Thank youvery much, Mike. Appreciate it.  

Mike: Cheers.