Cryptocurrency Pioneer Emma Cui Created $100 Million Fund

Cryptocurrency Pioneer Emma Cui Created $100 Million Fund

Cryptocurrency Pioneer Emma Cui Is Now on a Mission to Drive Web3 Growth

Emma Cui is a founding partner of the Web3 accelerator and venture capital fund LongHash Ventures, and as a woman, she faced prejudice and many obstacles to establish a name in this environment. She became enchanted by the subject in 2016 and migrated to cryptocurrency after starting her career in the banking sector, having passed through McKinsey consultancy, where she met the co-founder of her startup. And she’s now on a mission to drive Web3’s growth with a $100 million fund.

With the market down, Cui believes now is the ideal time for VCs to invest in companies building the foundation that will shape the future of decentralized finance (DeFi). Over the next five years, she hopes to double down on projects that offer solutions and tools that affect games, NFTs, the metaverse, and more. Here, she talks about her experience working as a woman in VC and what sparked her interest in the cryptocurrency world.

Forbes: How were you introduced to the world of cryptocurrencies?
Emma Cui: I started buying ETH in early 2016 after a Vitalik crypto event. I was very intrigued by the concept of smart contracts and how decentralizing finance can open up a world of possibilities.

F: Are you referring to Vitalik Buterin, the founder of Ethereum? Do you call him by his first name?
EC: Yea. This was in early 2016, and Vitalik was just 22 at the time. There were only about 50 people in the audience. I remember being mesmerized listening to him speak on stage. The encounter left an immediate impact on me. I returned home and started reading about everything ETH related. Discovering cold storage and wallets was a huge pain back then.

That’s when I decided to look for a job in cryptocurrencies. I started talking to cryptocurrency startups to see if I could find a good fit. At that time, there were very few non-technical people working in crypto and even fewer women, so I couldn’t find suitable opportunities. At the same time, McKinsey offered me a management consultant role, helping financial institutions launch businesses from digital attackers, which gave me a foundational knowledge for my next role.

A year later, my former McKinsey colleague and I decided to launch LongHash Ventures. Since then, we’ve grown to become Asia’s leading Web3 accelerator and venture fund.

F: You recently announced a $100 million fund II. What types of investments do you intend to make?
EC: The main thesis of our Fund II is to focus on multi-chain infrastructure as well as identity, privacy and data availability. We believe that the current level of infrastructure is not capable of supporting large scale retail applications and therefore there are great advantages in building and investing in robust infrastructure.

F: What obstacles did you face as a woman in cryptocurrencies?
EC: It is true that there are subtle differences in the way women and men are treated. I’ve experienced conscious and subconscious biases when it comes to getting people to buy into my ideas or feel like I’m being heard. As women, we owe it to ourselves to make sure our opinions are heard. We need to go really hard.

I was rejected numerous times when we tried to create our first fund. We had four people and we were accelerating 20 projects a year. Until what we call the “Summer DeFi” happened in mid-2020 and that’s when things started to take off.

Looking back, I think I did some things right. First, I networked rigorously. I went to as many events as I could, did my research and built a meaningful network. Second, I didn’t take no for an answer.

F: As an investor, what advice would you give to aspiring Web3 entrepreneurs who want to start their own projects?
EC: There is so much advice a new founder needs to build a successful project. Solve a big enough problem that you really care about. Look for co-founders or early team members who believe in the same vision as you. Most importantly, hurry up.

F: How can we really build accessibility and diversity on Web3 in all the ways that we failed to do on Web2?
EC: I think Web3 is a real promise of accessibility and diversity. The entire Web3 space is built around an open, permissionless system where anyone can access and contribute at any time. There is a quote from Thomas Jefferson that says, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” I think the same applies to Web3.

Source: Forbes

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