One Confirmation with Jefferson Nunn – Special Guest, Adam Draper of Boost VC
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Jefferson: Hey, so today we’re here with Adam, Boost VC, and all things side by which I feel like we’re already living in a Sci-Fi world. But we got a whole lot more coming it seems. So welcome Adam.
How are you doing?
Adam: Thanks so much for having me on the show. This is so fantastic. Thank you.
Jefferson: So we were just briefly talking about, just tell me more about this invincible. I’m all ears.
Adam: Okay, so I’ve been collecting comic books my whole life. Basically, there was this one day where a comic book store was going out of business when I was about 6-years-old. And it was our local comic book store, which got replaced by a sports trading card store, which I also have tonnes of sports drinkers. But, during that fire sale, basically, every comic was $0.05 in the entire place. And so my, dad was with me, and he said, “Okay, you forget what the actual deal was,” but I had to do something. One of the things was it, the comics back, which was very far we walked so it was pretty far. So, we had these short boxes of comic books that we bought, and I think a majority was Alpha Flight and Iron Man, no one knows Alpha Flight. Alpha Flight, it’s the Canadian X-Men. Like literally, they took X-Men, and like, talk is essentially Volvo Marine, and there’s all these. But like I read number 2 to 75. And I had read it straight through and I was like, these are amazing. And so then it became sort of my thing, where I just read comic books for fun, like in that free time you have I just read a bunch of comic books. And they were always around our house, like whether it was Archie or spiderman or whatever. And so I became sort of a de facto expert, quote, unquote, I don’t believe in expert, but expert on comic books. And over the course of my life, I’ve basically just always had an affinity in college. One of my early jobs was at, it was called Boom Comics. And they made comic books and I was a telemarketer for them. I would call the retail stores to figure out how well the comics were selling. Then I went to the comic book store at UCLA so often that they actually offered me a job. I’m giving way too much background for the fact to this one simple question. But basically, over the course of time, comics had such an impact on my life. And after college, I read this comic book Invincible, for the first time in this comic book was, it was unique, they had a unique way of telling an old-fashioned story. And it was also very bloody and very fun, and very comedic. So, I love this comic, it’s over the last like 13 years, it’s been my favorite comic book. And it turned out that I knew one of the people who started sky-bound that is the company that sort of developed this IP with walking dead as well as Invincible. And I met with John Goldman, he was a partner at grey Croft. And we established a connection but not too much haven’t but then I reached back out last year, realizing that he also was sort of one of the managers of this company. And I was like, “are you fundraising?” Can I join the board? [laughs]
So, I got to join the board of my favorite comic book company. So basically, my 12-year-old self would be very, very happy with my trajectory in life, I would say. So, long story short, Invincible is the best comic book on the planet. So much so that it is the only board I am on essentially.
Jefferson: I still think it’s amazing only because I think there are some parallels, NFTs are coming along. And I think it’s just almost the same exact thing. People are collecting NFTs. And I think over the next 20 years, we’re going to see that whole history of all, right.
I think what we’re doing is we’re putting the creators in the driver’s seat, right. Like we’re creating new business models, suddenly, when art artists or creators originally were selling their craft, it would be at a fair, like their entire market that they could sell to was like not that many people’s friends and family and then like, maybe 20 other people who have ever seen their stuff and some of the great marketers who are also artists figured out how to Andy Warhol, all these people figured out how to grow their presence as an artist, which defined art for generations. I think now what we’re doing is we’re giving every single artist the tools to grow their market size to have a new business model for the Internet, which they haven’t had for a long time. And I mean, non-fungible tokens, it’s exciting. So we at Boost VC, we back nifty gateway, we invested in a company called unstoppable domains that does NFT domains, we back to Lovis, which is taking the old art model and bringing it to the web three. So we’ve done a significant number of these non-fungible token related investments. And we’re really excited about how that market developed.
Jefferson: Yes, it’s just been incredible. I can see talking about Sci-Fi over the next 10 years. That whole NFT space that’s going to just redefine video games, redefine this whole thing with Meta, but tell me more about this Metaverse, if they’re going to be more like William Gibson, or what’s it’s going be like?
Adam: So, at Boost VC, we’ve evolved over time, I would say, like, we started as the first-ever fund to focus on crypto, we were an accelerator for crypto companies. It was actually just Bitcoin companies. That was the only crypto that there was, cryptocurrency that there was. And then, about four years in, we saw this opportunity where the Oculus Rift headset came out. It was actually not the rift yet it was called the DK2, I think when the DK2 came out, which was the dev-kit 2, we said, “Okay, we’re going in, we’re going to try to help support virtual reality.” And so we’ve evolved to what we call Sci-Fi, which is the term we use in order to encapsulate the most dynamic ambitious builders solving the most important problems of today. And I believe that there’s a high concentration of those people in web three, in virtual reality, in climate tech, in space, in oceans. So like we spend a lot of time in these communities that are naturally forming around those topics.
But to your point about sort of the Metaverse and what it’s going to be. So originally, I heard the term Metaverse from virtual reality. So, it had nothing to do with crypto. So, we were spending a lot of time in virtual reality we still have we’ve invested in probably 75 Virtual Reality startups I’m meeting up with FedEx later today. Which is one of our companies that does fitness in VR. And there were a lot of these companies in 2015 that were saying we’re going to build the metaverse, and we were like, “Okay, well, what does that mean?” And they were like, well, it’s a mersive universe, like you jump in with the goggles, and you get to explore and meet whoever you want. So, what I’ve determined over the last sort of seven years is, six years, I guess in virtual reality and then 10 years in crypto is mostly that in order for a Metaverse to form, which is we are building a truly digital world. So, that’s really, really exciting. I think that there are going to be benefits to this world that we just can’t even foresee. And you know, web 2 did create, it has created some centralized challenges, right, like the scale of web 2 is just so astronomically large and in some ways great, but has created these tragedies of scale where all the data centralized, there’s no sharing like, you don’t control your stuff in this internet world.
And what the Metaverse is going to be, there are three parts to make a Metaverse work, I believe. And this is why virtual reality had three false starts, these things didn’t exist before now. You need immersion.
So you do need to be able to be in the VR world rather than stare at it through a window. So right now you and I are both staring at our computers through a window we are accessing the digital world, but we aren’t experiencing the digital or we aren’t learning from experience. And that is necessary. So, being able to actually immerse yourself in the virtual reality world’s immersive world.
The second is ownership.
So that is what we never had before is the ability to actually tangibly own scarcity that like a scarce asset on the internet. So that creators can actually create and have that business model where they actually own the things that they created. Like if you create something is truly unique, truly novel truly new, you should get the benefit of that value. And I think that’s what web 3 is really all about.
Crypto, all it did was give us Scarcity on the internet like that was the thing. But now we’ve played with it for 10 years. And we’re starting to realize what that means. We’re realizing what having Scarcity on the internet and having an internet means.
The third part is communication.
So, we’ve had the internet for a while. And now it’s at a scale of 4 billion people. And we’re still I would say if I were to define the last 20 years of humanity, what does it mean, to have like 4 billion people on one network. We still don’t really know what that means. We’re still figuring that out.
But having all three of those things together sort of creates this concept of the Metaverse, it’s a triangle of the things that needed to come together. In order for us to actually experience what I would consider the metaverse is a three-dimensional ownership communication device.
And it’s coming, I can see it.
Jefferson: And I think you’re right.
There’s a lot of things that as you’re talking to, I realized. Things like Marvel and all the challenges that they had over the years with IP and everything else.
Adam: I think so there’s a great book called, “Slugfest”, that’s about the evolution of comic books. I do believe NFTs are going to revolutionize IP for everyone, and it’s going to change the game completely. I think in some ways, what board apes is, it’s a bootstrap, Disney. Like all of a sudden, we’ve bootstrapped Disney, and people who own aboard ape can build their own company, build their own IP, build their own comic books, movies, films, or whatever off of this ape. And they got enough people excited enough talent there that everyone is doing that, like they’re all doing their own thing for board apes as a whole, to be a part of it. So, that stuff’s just super, super, super, super exciting. So, I agree, I think IP is going to be the big changer with non-fungible tokens.
Jefferson: And I’m seeing some of that, and for example, I know gala games, sort of had that. But the idea being, you can buy and own a plot of land within a game and have become your digital asset to do whatever it is you want to do with it.
Adam: And you own that bits, right. You own those bits in this internet world. As long as there’s a volume of people who actually want to visit those bits, it becomes valuable.
So, non-fungible tokens, I sort of have it like, the way I look at non-fungible tokens not to go on like another thesis rant. But, I think, the three types of non-fungible tokens and you can see how I think.
Jefferson: I love it.
Adam: Three things that make up the metaverse, three things that make up non-fungible tokens.
Their gaming NFTs, so collectibles, which would be ownerships of plots of land, but also like Pokemon being able to collect creatures, but those things only become really exciting to me to I think the universe at large. If it’s interoperable, we’re like the creature I’ve developed I’ve spent time building it like it’s a power 90 whatever. It can be interoperable in a game of Street Fighter. Where my creature all of a sudden can move to different planets and universes but still exist. I put a lot of time into this creature I’m not going to try to start from ground zero, one another game essentially for my character.
I think that becomes very, very exciting. I think people are playing around with it but nothing big yet they’re actually infinity the thing they really brought to the world was played earn and I think having just interoperable tokens is showing huge value. Saying, I play, I get paid, I can sell those like that’s crazy. So, that’s one type. The one type is it’s going to be in gaming, that’s awesome.
The second type, I call, “N of 1”, is the best example I can give as people so people. He did a drop whether it was one or 20 pieces. N of 1 is moving the old art world online. So people bid on it, the auction house allows me to be closer to the fans. So, I actually know who owns it like what wallets own it. Not who, but like what wallets on it so I could actually maintain a relationship with these people. It changes the business model a little bit. But it’s very exciting what it is, it’s about building a community from me, the artists to the fans, so fans to the artist.
The third type I call, “1 of N,” which is a board apes. So board apes are 1 of N NF T’s where there are 10,000 of similar NFTs all under one label or one brand, one hood. And it gives the IP freedom to grow themselves, while also still just supporting board apes games as a whole. And I use support apes, as an example of crypto [cross-talk], all those other types that are communities working together, I want my board ape to be the best. However, I want the community to grow as a whole also. And I think those ones are really, really exciting because you can bootstrap something like a Disney, you can bootstrap Marvel, you could come up with universes and you could come up with content. And I think we have the toolset today that will make like the first trillionaire and artist. That’s what I think we’re dealing with.
Jefferson: It’s incredible.
And even turning our attention because there’s a little bit of a segue there to other communities, say human health, environmental science, and so on. I think there are a lot of parallels, community being able to come together, self-organize, and tackle various challenges, right.
Adam: Yes, actually, that’s interesting. You got me thinking about the-I’ve been spending a fair amount of time in climate tech. And the idea of being able to-there are a lot of debates in all of these things, right. Whether it’s health care with, vaccinations and like there’s a lot of politicized debate. And then there’s a lot of debates with climate tech and like how fast the sea level is rising, how much CO2 actually matters to be in the atmosphere, and everything sort of up, generally for it’s a debate like and then it gets politicized by media. And there’s all this. So it’s interesting, this crypto might be the solution to solving those problems, where it’s like cutting through the noise, and then having people govern, the way that they believe things should move. And I think it’s sort of like cutting out all the BS is what web 3 is really all about. And so it’s delivering more content directly to the community rather than around the community. That’s exciting. I actually hadn’t really thought about unlocking capital to these other spaces through web 3. I think that’s an exciting concept.
Jefferson: And I think it’s starting to happen. I know Solve Care, for example, they’ve been working for a very long time to have it anything to anything, system, and there are now deployed in 32 countries. So, I think over time I think we’ll see a lot more decentralized organizations coming together to solve these very real challenges that we have without that noise. Which is amazing.
You’re right, what hasn’t surprisingly, hasn’t succeeded yet any of the things that are attaching real-world stuff to web 3. It’s all natively digital web three, so you have to choose to be a part of Bitcoin or Ethereum, or whatever. And then once you’re there, there are all these opportunities. It’s like Disneyland, right. Like you pay the ticket, then you get to be like, wow, there’s like roller coasters. And there are wig dams and whatnots.
But what hasn’t really happened to our gateway is to taking those woodwinds and whatnots to using those things in that theme park for real-world like buying real estate, it hasn’t really worked tethering like these big things to real estate. They’re a couple like a city Dow is playing around with stuff. But it’s interesting to think about, it most of that’s regulatory like it’s just dealing with all the regulation. US is the hardest and more strict and everyone waits for the US to make a decision until like, actually the benefit of Binance FTX like all these exchanges, they just played outside the US basically to grow and then they did what they could in the United States, which is a good model. And then Coinbase went slowly steady, like fully regulated, fully deployed. I don’t know. It’s an interesting like, experiment where innovation is getting halted is actually in the United States right now.
Jefferson: True story. True story.
I feel that, especially with the most recent build a pass, which is extremely unenforceable. I mean, I can’t think that you would need more people than we have on the planet to enforce that rule.
Adam: Which rule are you talking about, which one?
Jefferson: I think it’s like 10-30, whatever it is. But it’s like, for every $10 value transaction you do–
Adam: Oh, yes.
No, the over-shoulder stuff like this. Yes, and entrepreneurs, I love to work in the job I am in because they don’t see obstacles, they only see opportunities, and like, those things are going to be solved by founders, and then the government’s going to react and overreact and do something else. And like, we’ll figure out, and then maybe we start moving outside of the country to figure out how to have better rules and better regulations and move faster and build great things. All I did there two things I care like–
I mean, if you look at my thesis in general, it’s very, it’s pretty practical in a lot of ways. I say Sci-Fi, or I say at some point, like, whatever gets me closer to an Iron Man suit, and back to jetpacks.
Jefferson: I can see you in one. [laughs]
Adam: I add an exoskeleton and like, I’ve done a bunch of stuff. But, it’s pretty practical. Because if I asked you what the most important us, where we need the most important solutions today. It’s pretty obvious. Like I think it’s in large group governance, which I think Dows are solving for it. It’s crip, web 3 is very important to be allocating resources to, I think it’s in exploration. So, things that we don’t know, like, unveiling things that we don’t know. So like, science is about reducing uncertainty. It’s not about being right, right. It’s not about being right or wrong. It’s about reducing the things that we know to as close as we can get to certain. And like, every 100 years, we have some grand thing that we learned that we’re like, “Oh, we were wrong for like 200 years.”
And so it’s all about reducing uncertainty. So investing in space, I think, is one of the most important things we know nothing, right. Investing in the ocean is so important. We know nothing, and we live here, right. Like 70% of the planet is the ocean and like we know nothing about the ocean. And so if finding important things is I believe where you need to be allocating capital, I believe the most important things feel Sci-Fi like they feel like–
I think Sci-Fi it’s my definition of seemingly impossible solutions, right, seemingly impossible to do. They feel so overwhelmingly large that they’ll never occur. But entrepreneurs do them like I got to see watch firsthand is Brian Armstrong to just slowly steadily became this huge force in crypto. When no one cared about crypto. Crypto wasn’t a thing. The entire ecosystem was of 100 people. I was there, and I was just sort of like, you could go to any like a meetup and there are 30 people at the biggest ones, right.
Jefferson: Yes, I remember that.
Adam: Those were the biggest ones. And every conference if FinTech I go to, I’d say how many people have heard of Bitcoin, it was always three people in the corner, not even owned.
Adam: Just heard of.
And then like, slowly over time, the mission overcomes all obstacles. The mission attracts all the talent. We need to be better as humans about organizing talented people to solve important problems like that is what Boost VC is really all about. It’s about finding the people who are actually going to solve those important problems out there.
Well, I’m excited to spread this news out to all my listeners and everything. I think there’s a lot that we can learn here. So one last question.
What’s your favorite Sci-Fi show if you had to pick one, just one?
Adam: It’s a great question.
Maddie on my team, and I talk about this stuff all the time. Actually, Sci-Fi TV show that’s a little harder than–
Jefferson: Or a movie, or book?
Adam: So books, I absolutely love–
Well, if it’s Sci-Fi, “Red Rising Trilogy” is like I highly recommend to anyone because I think it’s so easy and has so many great ideas and is so awesome. I’m rereading 1984, that’s pretty good. But like different because of historical context. Like they didn’t have a lot of technical developments that we have now.
Adam: And who knew it wasn’t going be the government watching everyone it was going to be everyone watching everyone. Which is sort of a fast-living change. You know, there was this really fun TV show that was called, “Eureka” that was on for three to four seasons. And it was about how if all the government scientists, and all the smartest people who were all doing, all the government experiments were in one town and called Eureka. And it was hidden by force fields or whatever they would like. And then this random Sheriff comes into town and has to like be like, what is going on with this place. I thought it was just a really, really fun concept. So I would say, I don’t know about my favorite but I would say the most relevant today in my head is Eureka.
Jefferson: Eureka, love that show.
The Great show.
Well, thank you very much for being on the show.
Adam: Thanks for having me.
Jefferson: And I hope to see you again, in six-eight months or so.
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