Q&A: 7BC Venture Capital Founders

Andrew Romans and Hazem Danny Al Nakib are the co-founders of 7BC, a venture capital fund using he power of capital, network and technology to back teams disrupting industries and solving global problems toward a more connected, digitized and automated global economy.

7BC

7BC Co-Founder Hazem Danny Al Nakib is based in London.

Welcome to Mob76 Outlook, please tell our readers about 7BC

We were founded for a number of reasons. The first is that although digital transformation and the sharing economy has taken the world by storm over the past 20 years, it has been incredible at sharing, transferring and transmitting data and information, but not at transmitting and transferring value.

The second reason is that without targeted capital investments into innovations at a protocol level, standard, and infrastructure level that really aims at connecting systems, their resiliency, privacy, security, and capabilities and focusing far too much on applications, the entire objective of the model of what economies and industries will look like is ultimately lost.

The third is that we wanted to take a holistic approach across a broad and yet still focused mandate at a technological layer across AI, FinTech and software infrastructure – particularly within the financial sector where it has welcomed, in parts digital transformation, but is nascent when it comes to actual digitalisation where value itself has become digital.

Across all of this, it becomes clear that we are thinking about what global and local economies will turn into and our focus is on what underpins those futures that prioritise security, resilience and optimise efficiencies. We are interested in broader waves effective the use of data, implementations of digital identity, the creation of new asset classes, and the future models of connectivity.

7BC

7BC Co-Founder Andrew Romans is based in Silicon Valley.

Why is the fund called 7BC Venture Capital?

Our name 7BC Venture Capital signals our ability to assist and support our portfolio companies on all 7 continents of the world and experience a journey together with our network where after receiving our capital support they will travel the 7 seas and develop their business with our support on a global basis through expansion and growth.

The number seven suggests our international LP base and other business support networks and is also a lucky number which is important at early stage investing and entrepreneurship. BC stands for borderless continents and borderless capital while spanning many different technologies. We believe that AI, FinTech and software infrastructure will collectively usher in a new era for humankind. Our mission is to fund, develop and support the startups that create the foundation of this new era. The right teams, the right technology, the right capital, and the right business model.

Why are you focusing on AI, software infrastructure and FinTech?

There are disparate alternatives of what the future can look like. However, from a trend standpoint, we know that barriers to entry into the financial sector continue to lower as technology innovations come to the market. As such, the financial sector is becoming more integrated with other sectors and industries within the sharing economy, particularly around healthcare, travel, identity, hospitality and much more.

The second is that we view software infrastructure, and other forms of possibly decentralised technologies as the digital underpinning for applications that are built and that use other technologies such as AI, IoT and others to deliver products, services, and value.

There have been barriers to the successful deployment of many of these technologies and often it comes down to where the data is, how is it being collected, and is it being used well in a connected and secure environment, particularly when it is now more valuable than gold. And secondly, whether the digital representations of physical objects are easily stored, transferred, and transacted in a more transparent, disintermediated, and automatic way.

We find that changing the narrative and focusing on building blocks positions us well from a narrative standpoint to build a robust, disruptive and transformational portfolio of companies with both a unique advantage and a unique selling point and differentiator – Where our portfolio companies work together and are complimentary with each other as well. The future is one that will be even more connected, even more automated, and even more digital, that is all we can be certain of.

At what stage of startup investment do you invest?

The majority of our fund is dedicated to series A and growth stage rounds of early stage businesses at the post-product and post-revenue stage where rapid revenue growth, traction, and expansion are the key performance indicators of the business.

However, we do leave some room for a large number of small ticket capital investments at the seed or pre-series A rounds enabling us to double down in future rounds. Our global network of venture partners and ties to universities, incubators and local ambassadors allow us to support the rights teams early on.

Why is 7BC different to the other funds out there?

Every fund can say why they’re different. Most will say it’s their past performance and current network. We can ‘say’ that, but we can also ‘show’ you. We will continue to show you our network and continue to develop it.

In many cases the network is at our 7BC LP investor, team, VC co-investment / syndication and service provider layers, but our favourite is our own current and former portfolio CEOs and founders supporting our evolving global community, and that brings past performance to current and future financial performance. 

Any advice to startups when the pitch to you?

Really it always comes down to the basics. If the four biggest factors for success in real estate are location, location, location, the biggest factors for success in our lenses are team, team, team, market, technology, traction and who else is supporting this startup? 

Innovations come from having a new technology, at the right time, in the right place with a the right business model. That is what we’re looking for. Where is value not being captured, and where can value be better captured and best delivered?

But with all things, it is a story and depends on the facts of the case at hand – keep it simple, tell your story, have your reason and purpose that drives you and your team, and implement it then demonstrate in your pitch how you’ve been implementing it and what you plan on doing. 

Stick to facts and what is there specifically, what you have accomplished and what you will. As long as that can be shown tangibly and clearly, then you’ll attract the right capital, partners, and team members. Sometimes it is a numbers game, sometimes it’s a bit of your gut and vision, but above all it’s a mixture of demonstrating delivery, having laser sharp focus, being consistent, and being surrounded by the best team in an area of the market that you’ve identified is missing or lacking something. 

We know that our cash cheque is important, but if we can’t see how we can add value in other ways we don’t invest. This often comes down to our experience, advice and network. We believe that is how all early stage investing should be. Good startups will always attract plenty of funders in any boom or bust economy. The best funders need to demonstrate how they will add value and then deliver that value whilst constantly growing their reputation. It’s that simple. Add value or don’t invest. 

November Summit invites AI startup trailblazers

Best startups in AI sector to battle it out at summit for business rewards

summit

Leading startups from the artificial intelligence industry will compete for a business boost at the winter edition of Malta AI & Blockchain Summit this November.

The Summit will take place from 7th to 8th November 2019, marking the second event this year for the successful expo. Tickets can be booked here and are expected to sell out.

With strong support from the Maltese government, the event has established itself as one of the world’s leading destinations for the growing sectors of AI, Blockchain and DLT, IoT, and other vertical industries.

AI start-ups will be vying for a place amongst the top ten successful start-ups to be selected to participate in the AI Start-up Pitch, where they’ll take part in a live showdown in front of a panel of the most prominent experts from the AI industry and investors. Taking place on the main stage at peak time during day one of the event, the AI Pitch is always a favourite with the AIBC audience.

With a prize package including a year’s office space, media relations support, digital marketing, and more, one lucky start-up will get a massive head start with their business plans – the stakes could not be higher as the Malta AIBC Summit continues to inspire and nurture the incredible talent appearing on this emerging tech scene.

Of course, all participants are set to be winners, as with such luminary figures from the sector judging the contest, taking part all but guarantees invaluable insights from critical feedback and praise of unique applications for artificial intelligence. And with investors aplenty in attendance, it should be no surprise that many start-ups will come away from the summit with a bright future looming!

100 deep tech start-ups from the sectors of AI, Blockchain, IoT, and Big Data will also showcase their projects and services with a 1×1 stand in the start-up village, benefiting both from 1000s of attendees at the show, as well as online visibility at AIBCsummit.com.

Eman Pulis, founder and CEO of the Malta AI & Blockchain Summit, said.

In this, our third and biggest show yet, we can’t wait to see the range and quality of entrants for the AI Start-Up Pitch. If our previous battles are anything to go by, we will be sowing the seeds of growth for some of the future global brands in the AI space.

 

I couldn’t be prouder that our show is instrumental in bringing together such amazing talent in one venue and I look forward to meeting all those taking part.”

The bi-annual event includes conferences hosted by globally renowned speakers, workshops for industry learning and discussion, an exhibit space accommodating more than 400 brands and much more.

The first Malta Blockchain Summit in November 2018 attracted 8,500 attendees from more than 80 countries, with 300 sponsors and exhibitors, 200 speakers, and 1 AI VIP (Sophia the world’s first robot citizen).

Akon brings his Afro-futuristic city to Malta

Grammy-winning artist is bringing his Akoin vision for Africa to November summit

Akon

Akon, hip-hop superstar and one of  Africa’s most renowned philanthropists, has accepted a speaker slot at the crypto and blockchain focussed show in November.

He will be speaking about his Akoin token and how he hopes the blockchain-based cryptocurrency can empower young entrepreneurs in Africa to strengthen the continent’s rising economies and support the development of sustainable communities.

Akon’s vision for Africa is already in position, with first steps taken in Senegal’s capital city Dakar, where Senegalese President Macky Sall has gifted him 2,000 acres to establish an Afro-futuristic city.

The whole idea with the city is to create a renewable city. Crypto is the money spent in the city; all digital. All renewable energy; no gas, no nothing. We’ll create platforms of all of today’s newest technologies embedded within the city itself.”

Through the artist’s Akoin Foundation, inspired entrepreneurs will develop future-forward businesses and promote innovation, economic stability, and growth across Africa, as well as in the wider world.

Through the Akoin ecosystem of crypto-based DApps and Apps, rising entrepreneurs can learn, earn, spend and save, as well as have more transparency and security within these daily economic building activities, including civil engagement.

“I think banking systems can definitely benefit from blockchain, but the voting system will probably be the number one system for the technology,” he says. “The good thing about blockchain is it leaves a footprint,” explains Akon. “You can’t do anything without it being open for everyone to see it – it opens the road to transparency.”

Eman Pulis, founder and CEO of Malta A.I. & Blockchain Summit, commented.

With a vision so clearly in line with the best hopes for the blockchain world, Akon is sure to be a huge draw for the conference audience at November’s Malta AIBC.  We’re excited to work with him in using blockchain to make the world a better place for everyone.”

The Malta A.I. & Blockchain Summit takes place November 4-8th, 2019.

Everything you ever needed to know about blockchain

Picking your way through technology is harder than remembering the acronyms that govern our lives.

As the word ‘blockchain’ moves out of its humble bitcoin beginnings, many profess to know what it means while secretly munching their eyelashes at not getting it.

However, have no fear, the creative people at BitFortune.net have kindly supplied you with the following infographic that should still your beating blockchain heart.

Future conferences, dinner parties or even conversations with builders in dodgy pubs are no longer congregations of fear. Instead, you can dazzle, learn, share and you might even copulate.

Please see below…

Crypto takes giant step with new UK property exchange

A new global exchange crypto platform means UK property can now be bought and sold with Bitcoin.


cryptoCrypto is the new Klondyke, Bitcoin a new type of currency and the blockchain a new type of mint… all of which are probably the future of money.

This attitude has been reinforced now that blockchain applications company TrustMe has created a peer-to-peer platform and UK property can become a globally tradable asset.

The company says it is ‘revolutionising the global real estate market’ by allowing the fractional trading of individual properties using ‘asset-backed certificates’ on linked and Bitcoin-denominated global property exchanges.

TrustMe’s Whitepaper allows homeowners to trade shares (‘property certificates’) in their property on an open market as a new type of tradeable asset-class. Clients on the property exchanges will be able to purchase up to 49% of the value of a property or residential home with Bitcoin or fiat currency, while the 51% owner-occupier continues to live in and manage the property.

The first crypto exchange will be rolled-out in London in October, with parallel TrustMe Property Exchanges launching shortly in Toronto and New York. The company will announce other cities over the next three months and will establish regulatory compliance in each region it operates in.

London is the first choice for the location of the initial exchange as it has a buoyant £2 trillion property market and well-established property laws, rights and processes. TrustMe wants to ‘democratise’ ownership by removing the capital threshold that had previously restricted the owning of property to a privileged few.

“The London property market has long been prohibitively expensive and needs to be democratised. Our Property Exchanges will allow existing homeowners to unlock the value of their own house or properties and to use these assets as a form of stored liquid wealth, similar to a 30-90 day bank account, by trading as much or as little of their asset as they wish in an efficient, transparent and auditable manner,” said Antony Abell, Co-Founder & Managing Director of TrustMe.

A blockchain is a data structure that makes it possible to create a permanent digital public ledger of transactions and to share it among a distributed network of computers. It uses cryptography to allow each participant on the network to add to a record on the ledger in a secure way without the need for a central authority.

Once a block of data is recorded on the blockchain ledger, it’s extremely difficult to ever change it or to remove it. When someone wants to add to a record, participants in the network run algorithms to evaluate and verify the proposed transaction.

If a majority of nodes agree that the transaction looks valid (that is, identifying information, timing, location etc… matches the blockchain’s history) then the new transaction will be approved and a new block added to the chain.

For those with access it provides a permanent and secure record of ownership of all registered items for all parties who use it and it can provide automated systems to remove significant cost overheads in physical and transactional distribution systems.