Thursday, April 2019
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Facebook Is Getting More Aggressive About Its Blockchain Play
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Facebook Is Getting More Aggressive About Its Blockchain Play

Facebook wants VC dollars. The New York Times’ Nathaniel Popper tweeted yesterday that sources tell him Facebook is looking to get venture capital firms to invest in the company’s cryptocurrency project. The tech behemoth is reportedly targeting a much as $1 billion of outside capital for its digital asset endeavor.

Popper also noted that making its blockchain arm a separate entity would help Facebook to distance itself from its nascent venture. Why would it want to do that? Facebook, which is having its own trust issues right now, is smart enough to know that decentralization and trust go hand in hand. So no, launching a cryptocurrency controlled by the tech behemoth probably wouldn’t be the best idea. Hence the outside investors.

Facebook assembled its blockchain team almost a year ago, and according to its careers page, it looks like it’s on a hiring spree. With Andreessen Horowitz expanding its crypto ambitions, and Facebook doubling down on its own venture, it’s worth watching this space very closely.

NEW SOFTBANK INVESTORS: Just a month ago, Softbank announced a new vehicle to invest in tech opportunities in Latin America. The Softbank Innovation Fund launched with $2 billion in capital to invest in tech startups across Central and South America, and includes countries like Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico.

Today, the Japanese behemoth announced the initial executive investment team for the fund. It includes:

— Marcelo Claure, the COO of SoftBank and CEO of SoftBank Group International, will lead SoftBank Latin America and will be responsible for overseeing the SoftBank Innovation Fund, its investments and operations.

— André Maciel will serve as managing partner responsible for structuring transactions, overseeing the SoftBank Innovation Fund’s Brazil office and investments in other Latin America early stage funds. Previously, Maciel was a managing director at J.P. Morgan.

— Shu Nyatta will serve as one of two investment partners. Shu has been with SoftBank since 2015 in different investment roles. He was previously with J.P. Morgan and McKinsey & Co.

— Paulo Passoni will serve as the second managing investment partner responsible for sourcing and implementing new investments. Paulo was previously managing director and analyst at Third Point LLC.

ALL RAISE GETS A CHIEF: It’s been a year since All Raise entered the public eye as the preeminent organization working to advance women in venture capital and Silicon Valley. The group has now named its first CEO: Silicon Valley veteran Pam Kostka. Part of the Bay Area tech scene since 1995, Kostka has guided startups through two initial public offerings, three acquisitions, and plenty more of the “inevitable shutdowns or wind-downs.”

IRL: I’m moderating a panel on enterprise VC fundraising trends on Wednesday, April 17 from 6-8 p.m at Work-Bench in NYC. If you want to come, there’s a special access code for Term Sheet readers. Here’s where you can RSVP with the promotional code TERMSHEET. Hope to see you then!

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