This Fund Wants to Broaden the Pool of Venture Investors
Nisa Amoils is on a mission to democratize wealth. As a former securities attorney and a longtime venture investor, she knows all too well that investing in early-stage companies can yield returns that are almost impossible to obtain in any other realm. The problem, of course, is that the vast majority of would-be investors have no way to get in on those deals.
So Amoils has created a fund, called A100x, to help them do just that.
A100x takes advantage of some recent, and recently popular, investment developments that make it unique in the space. For starters, it will focus specifically on companies that use cutting-edge technologies—primarily blockchain, but also artificial intelligence—to create environmental and social impact. The investors and advisors involved with A100x have been involved with several prominent blockchain/cryptocurrency companies in the past, including Dapper Labs and CoinList.
“We want women and minorities to be able to participate in the wealth creation opportunities that are happening with blockchain and crypto in general,” Amoils told Worth. “They’ve traditionally been shut out of it.”
Second, A100x is a “rolling fund,” meaning that its investors can add to, subtract from or cancel outright their participation on a quarterly basis. If an investor pulls out of the fund after the minimum of four quarters, he or she will still be entitled to a pro rata return on the investments made while initially committed. “It’s not like an 8- to 10-year proposition anymore,” explains Amoils.
For that reason, it’s also unknown how big the fund will become. Most venture funds, at launch, like to boast about the fact that they’ve amassed $100 million (or whatever amount); with a rolling fund, there’s no limit to how big the fund might get, even without courting new limited partners
In addition, Amoils is committed to investment participation from women and underrepresented minorities; an unspecified number of A100x limited partnership seats will be reserved for this population.
There are recent regulatory developments that, at least theoretically, point to greater participation from these historically excluded groups. One barrier to broad participation in the past was the regulatory definition of an “accredited investor.” For decades, this was defined as someone with a net worth of at least a million dollars (not including the value of his or her primary residence) and/or an annual income of at least $200,000 over several years. Last year, however, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) modified its definition of an accredited investor, allowing investors to qualify “based on defined measures of professional knowledge, experience or certifications”—not merely personal income or wealth.
Looking beyond cryptocurrencies for applications of blockchain technology, Amoils points to health care, particularly as highlighted during the COVID pandemic. “The pandemic exposed problems with the health care system and supply chains. There are people working on solving a lot of those [issues] using blockchain technology,” she said.