Jessica Abo: Emma, can you tell us something about LongHash Ventures?
LongHash Ventures is a Web3 native accelerator and VC fund. Headquartered in Singapore, we operate across China, India, Malaysia and all major hubs in Asia. The accelerator and fund are focused on co-investing in infrastructure layers in the Web3 space and using the accelerator to bootstrap the ecosystem for these infrastructure layers in Asia.
You recently announced the 100 million Fund II. What do you want to invest in in the future?
We’re excited to announce this Fund II at this time because I think the market is falling and it’s a good time for us to fund projects that really need it. Given the early days of Web3, we believe there is still a strong need to build a robust infrastructure. So everyone has an idea of what a dapp looks like, what GameFi looks like, and what Metaverse looks like. But the common problem they face is that once they start to have some users, gas fees start to skyrocket, a lot of things can’t really connect to the chain, and the full potential of some applications doesn’t work. Not unleashed by today’s infrastructure.
So over the next five years, we want to double down on infrastructure. This means we want to study scaling solutions in the Ethereum ecosystem. We would like to see cross-chain solutions between different layers and second layers. We wanted to look at the interoperability frameworks that Polkadot and Cosmos are developing so that for each application, everyone can easily peel off their first layers that would be purpose-built. We are interested in the gaming market in the gaming sector. We are interested in analytics in NFTs.
What made you want to enter the field in 2017?
When I decided to quit my job at McKinsey and jump into Web3, it was definitely controversial because it was so little known. There were no applications available at that time. Many projects people fund are mostly white papers and ideas. But I’m really interested in the concept of smart contracts because before McKinsey I worked in the middle, back and front offices of banks for 6-7 years. I really understand the inefficiencies, re-integration and middle-man issues facing banks. So I think it makes perfect sense to have a technical solution to automate many of these processes and get rid of the middleman. So that’s why I started digging into crypto and smart contracts.
You are one of the few VCs running accelerators at the same time. Can you tell us more about the LongHash accelerator and the role you think it plays?
We were indeed the first accelerator to focus on Web3 and today we have grown to be one of the leading accelerators in Asia. We’ve managed to build a fairly extensive network and crypto knowledge to help early projects accelerate and scale in a very scalable platform.
What challenges are you facing?
Given that the industry as a whole is still at an early stage, I think there needs to be a lot of publicity and education, because I think for a normal person who doesn’t work in this field or interact with any application in this world, you can read some fairly cycle-dependent negative news. So I think some people, including some of my friends, decided, ‘Okay, cryptocurrencies are pump and dump, it’s money laundering, so it’s not worth looking into. So I think educating people about the potential of crypto and cyber three is very, very important to attract more talent into the field.
The second is talent. Yes, I think there is a lot more Web2 talent working at Facebook, Amazon, and many tech giants today. And I think I’m starting to see a lot of them start to believe in the potential of Web3 and go into space. But I think there is still a lot of demand. Every crypto Web3 company I’ve talked to or we’ve funded is looking to hire more people. So what I’m trying to say is that my desire to hire more people into this field is an insatiable desire.
What advice would you give to aspiring Web3 founders looking to start their own projects?
The first thing is that you want to look for a problem big enough to solve to make it worth your time and effort. Also make sure it’s something you’re passionate about, because a lot of times you’ll feel bad about it. So if you don’t have a passion for it and you don’t drive, you’re not going to get through tough days, tough days. No one has the skills, abilities, or resources to solve a problem alone. Therefore, you need to find people who believe in your vision and who can complement your skills and resources to help you realize it.
If you can convince people who are smarter and more capable than you to join you on your journey, I think you are a very, very successful leader.
Finally, why do you think people should care about this space?
I think it’s the same problem,’Why should you care about the Internet? Why should you care about technology?‘ Because whether you like it or not, your life will be affected by it. So you might as well embrace it, but I don’t think you can really get rid of it. Like my grandma ordering something on Grab or Deliveroo today, I think everyone has to evolve with technology, otherwise, you can’t get along with life.