The Inquisitive VC - Jalak Jobanputra , Founding Partner of Future\Perfect Ventures

Brave New Coin(Source: Nawaz Ahmed)    2020-05-23 17:00:00

Jalak Jobanputra graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a dual degree in Finance and Communications from The Wharton School and the Annenberg School for Communication. Right after graduating Jobanputra joined Lehman Brothers as an Analyst.

Jobanputra worked in investment banking for three years then left to join the startup world, as a member of the founding team of Horsemouth. Horsemouth was an online financial services startup that distributed independent research and community content to banks and brokerages.

Following this, she completed her MBA from The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and joined Intel Capital in 1999. This was the beginning of her career in Venture Capital.

While at Intel she was the principal investor in early-mid stage startups in enterprise software, digital media and Internet. Intel Capital is a division of Intel Corporation, set up to manage corporate venture capital, global investment, mergers and acquisitions. It is one of the oldest and most consistent corporate venture capital firms.

After Intel, Jobanputra was a Principal at New Venture Partners, which specialized in incubation and spinout of technology companies at Fortune 100 companies. She then joined the New York Investment Fund in 2007 as a Senior Vice President and spearheaded the formation of NYCSeed and the Fintech Innovation Lab.

In 2010 Jobanputra joined the Omidyar Network which is a philanthrocapitalist fund started by Pierre Omidyar, co-founder of eBay. Here she managed global investments in mobile technologies, services and applications.

In 2013 Jobanputra was introduced to blockchain technology and Bitcoin by attending a Bitcoin conference. This was when the seasoned VC was working on generating the thesis for her new VC firm Future\Perfect Ventures.

“I was already thinking about AI and IoT as part of this new wave of technology development and became really interested in blockchain technology. Bitcoin specifically for the financial implications of a currency that didn’t require intermediaries for clearing and could work across borders,” she stated.

In 2014 Jobanputra launched Future\Perfect Ventures as the sole general partner. Through this first fund, she invested in Blockstream, Blockchain.com, BitPesa which is now called AZA, and Abra. “Companies that have been at the forefront of the sector,” according to Jobanputra. The firm has gone on to raise a second fund which was US$30M, which was launched in 2018, and to date has made more than 35 investments.

When talking about the process of raising the first fund, Jobanputra stated, “It was definitely not an easy process, especially with a thesis that was very out there. This was a time when bitcoin had gone through the Mt Gox scandal, Ethereum hadn’t ICO’d yet.”

She elaborated on this by explaining that there was little broader knowledge of crypto while she was raising her first fund and that there was negative connotation related to it. There was not a lot of conversation about how the technology can be applied to different use cases and she spent a lot of time educating the market.

She clarified that that first fund was raised from “people who were early believers in the sector, who wanted to learn more and be a part of the growth of the sector.” There are people that were not able to put resources into fully managing a crypto-focused portfolio like family offices and individuals who didn't have the bandwidth to manage a portfolio themselves.

In reference to the influx of many new funds focussed on crypto, Jobanputra claims that her fund has a long-standing history and has a track record that interests LPs and assists in the fundraising process. This also helps secure deal allocation as entrepreneurs look at Jobanputra’s long-standing experience and network in the crypto world.

“We have been very overt in our thesis and our experience in the emerging markets, and I don’t think there has been a deal or an entrepreneur that we have talked to that we have been interested in investing in that we haven’t invested in,” she states.

Looking back at some of the investments she made in the ‘99-2000 timeframe Jobanputra noticed that there was a wave of companies that were moving to more web-based models around supply chain management, logistics, demand management, and she notes that a lot of these issues are coming up now. “Now I think what we are seeing is that the web isn't enough, it's moving to more real-time, decentralized models.”

The most recent investment Jobanputra and Future\Perfect Venture have made is in Transparent Systems. Transparent System is working to bring real-time payments to enterprises on the back end and to treasury management.

Future\Perfect Ventures invested in the US$14M Series A round of Transparent Systems, alongside Pantera Capital, Digital Currency Group and Square. Square is a financial services company founded by Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter. This was Square’s first blockchain investment.

Talking about why she made the investment Jobanputra stated, “It was incubated at Vulcan by Paul Allen [Co-founder of Microsoft], a really strong team working on the technical elements of the technology. This was not just a science experiment, this was a really strong technology with a team that had the ability to build partnerships and relationships to execute. It was a combination of technology and the team.”

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