Blockchain-focused Proof of Capital launches fund with backing from YouTube’s Steve Chen

Three investors from Horizons Ventures, Greylock Partners and 500 Startups have banded together to launch Proof of Capital, a $50 million fund focused on worldwide blockchain startups.

The fund, whose LPs include individuals and corporates, will invest in fintech (such as payments, remittance, custody and wallet technologies), infrastructure (including cybersecurity and identity verification), hardware and consumer layers of the blockchain ecosystem.

The fund managers said they expected to invest in seed and select Series A deals, mostly based in Asia and other emerging markets.

The fund aims to back about 25 to 30 companies and has already invested in one deal, the Latin American-based blockchain platform provider Ubanx.

Proof of Capital was founded by General Partners Phil Chen (formerly with Horizons and currently with HTC ), Chris McCann (an angel investor and former community lead at Greylock) and Edith Yeung (an adviser and a former partner at 500 Startups). All three have come from traditional venture operations, but all three also have experience in cryptocurrency or the blockchain.

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Phil Chen, general partner, Proof of Capital. Photo courtesy of the firm.

Chen, based in China, is currently listed on LinkedIn as a decentralized chief officer with HTC, the creator of the HTC Exodus, a blockchain phone.

Chen was previously a managing partner at Presence Capital and an adviser at Horizons Ventures, having also invested in the game-tech company Improbable and the decentralized cloud computing startup Dfinity.

McCann, based in the San Francisco Bay Area, previously founded and led the community program at Greylock, where for nearly five years he looked at emerging technologies, including blockchain. He also co-founded StartupDigest (acquired by Techstars) and created the media publication RelayNode, which covers the blockchain industry in the Bay Area and Asia.

“Out of all of the frontier markets I spent time in at Greylock Partners, the blockchain industry is the only new market where startups have a chance to build large, meaningful and enduring companies,” said McCann, who has also invested as an angel.

The third GP at Proof of Capital is Yeung, creator of the China Internet Report, and the 500 Startups Blockchain Incubator track, which partnered with Huobi, OKcoin and other exchanges.

She previously was general manager of the mobile browser Dolphin, a Sequoia Capital-backed company. At 500 Startups, she focused on mobile tech and said she remains close to the firm as an adviser.

The trio began raising the blockchain fund late last year. Yeung said she would split her time between Asia and the U.S. and other markets. She expects adoption of blockchain to happen faster outside the U.S.

She said investments would range from a couple hundred thousand dollars to $1 million for a company’s first check.

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Edith Yeung, general partner, Proof of Capital. File photo from 500 Startups.

Fund investors include HTC as well as YouTube Co-Founder Steve Chen; Greg Kidd, former chief risk officer at Ripple; and the Taiwanese chemical firm Formosa Plastics.

McCann said the firm raised the money from LPs in a typical fee structure format, rather than through a digital token sale, because “we’re in it for the long haul.”

He added, “With token holders in a fund, they’re looking for value and wanting to cash out early, but we’re looking to invest in blockchain companies and build them out for the long haul.”