Fabio Pezzotti, CEO of Iconium tells us about blockchain.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Iconium.
Fabio Pezzotti: I’ve been a tech entrepreneur since 1998, when I founded my first Internet Venture, Xoom Spa, after several roles in business development and strategic consulting for global companies in Paris, London, and Milan. Xoom soon became the leading web community in Italy, and 2 years later, SEAT Pagine Gialle, one of the leading European Digital Conglomerates at the time, acquired it.
In 2006 I founded Mobango Ltd. in London, a unique mobile user content platform and one of the first Android App Stores. After the entry of major Venture Capital funds, People Infocom of Mumbai, funded by Sequoia and Intel Capital, acquired Mobango.
I was also one of the seed investors in Vertical Response Inc., based in San Francisco and acquired in 2013 by DeLuxe Corporation (NYS: DLX).
In 2010 I founded Xandas New Media Ventures, a venture studio co-founding and investing in seed startups.
In 2017 I discovered Bitcoin and the Blockchain world. I founded Iconium, together with an experienced and international team, with the aim of devoting myself to the research and selection of the best projects in the cryptocurrency world.
How does Iconium innovate?
Fabio Pezzotti: Iconium is a leading crypto investment fund focused on supporting amazing teams aiming to disrupt blockchain, DeFi, Web3, and Metaverse.
We invest with a long-term horizon in the most innovative blockchain and crypto projects in the early-stage phases, with the goal of creating a diversified portfolio of digital assets that are well-positioned to anticipate the thematic trends in the space.
This way, we actively contribute to the growth and development of this incredible industry.
We support the most innovative project in every phase of their journey, leveraging our consolidated expertise and our extensive network of crypto professionals.
How did the coronavirus pandemic affect your business?
Fabio Pezzotti: Contrary to what people think, COVID was a big push for the crypto industry, as more and more people had the chance to understand the meaning of digital assets and decentralization.
Remote working and the ban on traveling and live conferences leveled the playing field for every industry, including ours. Whether you’re from India or Polynesia, it doesn’t make much difference anymore in terms of job opportunities, networking, people recruitment, or source of deals. Also, Blockchain and cryptocurrencies are complex topics and require a lot of time to be really understood before getting into the space. In these difficult times, many people took the chance to study, learn new things, and discover the latest trends. I think this process accelerated blockchain adoption and helped spread the knowledge of the crypto industry.
What are the current trends in crypto investment, and how quickly do they change?
Fabio Pezzotti: Everything in this industry moves extremely fast.
After the Decentralized Finance boom, this is definitely the era of NFTs, Metaverse, and Play-to-earn. But these terms can themselves have a wide variety of applications.
It’s still early days, and we’re in an ever-changing market. In addition, the injection of large amounts of capital and the entry of institutional players have further accelerated these changes.
We believe we’re transitioning towards a “multichain” future, where blockchains with different focuses and purposes co-exist. Interoperability will enable users to move their assets across different chains with little to no effort, moving away from the siloed sub-communities model and boosting the adoption of this technology and the liquidity in the crypto industry.
Who is the crypto investor nowadays? What is their profile?
Fabio Pezzotti: I would say the average investor in this industry is generally educated and relatively young. Although major improvements have been made in terms of UX, older people may find more difficulties in autonomously investing in digital assets compared to the younger generations. At this stage, there seems to be a generational gap.
And then, of course, as it happens for every kind of investment, some people invest in crypto with a long-term vision because they believe in the underlying technology and those who only enter the market for speculative reasons.
Tell us about Iconum’s success stories. What projects are you most proud of?
Fabio Pezzotti: Iconium has established itself as a de facto leader in identifying, assessing, and investing in early-stage blockchain projects dating back to 2018. Over these years, we have achieved a lot, and there are quite a few success stories we are very proud of, such as:
Terra: a blockchain fintech startup that launched its price-stable algorithmic stablecoin bringing easy payment solutions to crypto and fiat holders. Terra is now one of the most relevant blockchains, and we invested in their private round right after Binance and Huobi Labs back in Jan 2019.
Secret: A data-privacy platform for Web3. We invested in the project in the very first months, when it was still called Enigma and was worth just a few million dollars.
ThorChain: An independent cross-chain autonomous decentralized exchange platform built on Cosmos.
Efinity: A cross-chain NFT blockchain built on Polkadot, designed by Enjin to enable ecosystem interoperability and incentives for engaging with NFTs.
Algorand: A layer-1 blockchain delivering decentralization, scalability, and security through its first-of-a-kind purely proof-of-stake consensus mechanism.
Along with some of the most notable VCs in the space, Iconium is also part of the $150M Terra Ecosystem Fund and the $225M Secret Ecosystem Fund. The first enables some of the industry’s top investors to realize their vision for applications, protocols, and tools on the Terra network. The second one supports and accelerates the development of the Secret network by providing capital to early-stage decentralized applications.
How do you see the future of Iconium? What are the next steps for the company?
Fabio Pezzotti: We strongly believe that blockchain and digital assets will disrupt finance and money as we know it and the whole Internet and communication spaces, allowing for the creation of new economic systems and the progressive decentralization of governments.
We expect blockchain and crypto to become increasingly well-known to the general audience in the near future. The industry awareness and the growing adoption of this technology will surely open up new scenarios and further opportunities.
As it has been so far, Iconium will continue its ongoing efforts to support the projects that share our same vision for the future. Having screened more than 2,000 projects and funded more than 80. We’re well-positioned to help more and more projects with every aspect of their growth process, from strategy and product fit to tokenomics. We have built an extensive network of development and marketing partners, launchpads, and exchanges that can truly make a difference for the ultimate success of a project.