Fernando Sanchez - Technical Writer
Originally published on IOHK.io: July 28, 2021
First announced at last year’s Shelley summit, the cFund is an early-stage investment fund focused on innovative companies primarily utilizing the Cardano blockchain and its technology.
As we move closer to smart contracts on Cardano, fund activity is now accelerating. We spoke with David Roebuck, Principal at Wave Financial, to find out more about the fund and its goals.
What is the cFund?
The cFund is a crypto-native hedge fund managed by Wave Financial in partnership with IOG. The fund employs an early-stage venture strategy and invests in innovative technology companies developing applications, businesses, and products being deployed on Cardano and in other R&D projects IOG is working on.
And why the name _c_Fund?
The “c” in the name is a reference to the mathematical term “coefficient” which refers to the multiplier of a variable. Leveraging both IOG’s and Wave Financial’s domain expertise and industry connections, cFund is positioned to create a multiplier effect for its portfolio companies in terms of growth and reach.
What was the rationale for the introduction of the cFund?
IOG is focused on accomplishing two objectives. One is enabling developers to build scalable, interoperable, and sustainable blockchain-based solutions. The other is to foster financial inclusion to the underserved populations of the world. Ultimately, IOG aims to create a new financial infrastructure for emerging economies by cultivating a community of DApps and protocols deployed on Cardano and other blockchains.
To help IOG achieve this vision, it partnered with Wave Financial, a digital asset manager with ~$500 million in assets under management across various different strategies and products, to create cFund.
How does the cFund fit in with the whole ecosystem (Cardano, Project Catalyst, etc)?
While the cFund, IOG, and the Cardano Foundation all operate independently, they look for opportunities to collaborate. cFund in particular evaluates and provides strategic advice to its portfolio companies wishing to deploy on the Cardano blockchain.
Tell us more about the investment approach
cFund is funded by third-party, high-net worth individuals, family offices, and institutional investors (including IOG). cFund looks to invest in, and partner with, leading early-stage projects and businesses that primarily have a focus on the Cardano ecosystem and associated technology. The fund is already actively deploying capital and creating partnerships across the Cardano ecosystem.
When analyzing investment opportunities, cFund takes a disciplined approach that considers a multitude of factors when evaluating an opportunity. Firstly, the fund evaluates whether there is a clear need in the market for the offering a company provides and determines if other competitors can out-execute. In venture, we call this timing the market. Next, the fund evaluates the background of the team to determine if the founders have the knowledge, skills, resources, and ability to scale their company or project. The fund also considers possible exit scenarios.
Image of the COTI logo
Since one of cFund’s primary objectives is to help Cardano build alliances across the blockchain space, one of the most important factors cFund considers during its due diligence process is whether or not the company can be a value-add to the Cardano ecosystem.
One market that cFund has been deploying capital into is Decentralized Finance (DeFi), or more broadly, what is called Open Finance. cFund’s first investment in this market was COTI, a decentralized and scalable payments network for the global e-commerce market. COTI is a value-add because it plans to provide a bridge for DeFi applications wishing to deploy on the Cardano blockchain. The company is now developing ADA Pay, a gateway solution that enables merchants to accept payments in ada (the native protocol token for Cardano) with near-instant settlement. The company is also developing a stablecoin that will run on Cardano.
Image of the BlockSwap Network logo
Another DeFI investment in the portfolio is BlockSwap, which is an automated liquidity protocol for proof of stake chains that allows users to re-stake their staked assets. Blockswap brings liquidity for staking activities, providing DeFi benefits to the network. Users will be able to re-stake their fully staked assets, earning yield without the use of a synthetic asset.
Image of the Occam.Fi logo
cFund’s most recent investment in this space is Occam.Fi, a suite of DeFi solutions tailored for Cardano. The company’s first product is a decentralized funding platform. Through this launchpad, the next generation of disruptive DeFi applications will be able to raise capital using the Cardano blockchain. Overall, DeFi is one of a number of markets cFund invests in, but ideally the portfolio companies must have the capability of building on the Cardano ecosystem in some capacity.
Aside from investment, what else do you offer?
cFund is both a capital provider, an advisor, and a partner to its portfolio companies and the broader Cardano ecosystem. Leveraging IOG and Wave Financial’s resources, reputation, expertise, and network, cFund provides unparalleled access and guidance to its portfolio. cFund firmly believes in being a value-added investor. cFund aspires to be a management team's first call.
If there are businesses reading this who might want to be considered for funding, what should they do?
What is the long-term plan for the cFund?
cFund aims to be the leading early-stage venture firm that invests primarily in Cardano blockchain based technologies besides becoming an integral part of the Cardano ecosystem. In line with IOG’s founding principle of cascading disruption, the idea that most of the structures that form global financial, governance and social systems are inherently unstable and thus minor perturbations can cause a ripple effect that fundamentally re-configures the entire system. cFund's goal is to identify and back technologies that force these perturbations together to push to a fair and transparent order for all stakeholders.
Thanks for your time, David.