Australasia’s largest venture capital firm is losing the the head of its New Zealand operation.
Blackbird Ventures principal Tip Piumsomboon is quitting the firm. An official announcement is expected in a few days’ time.
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The reason: a sudden passion for crypto, inspired by recent news out of Central America.
Depending on your point of view, Piumsomboon has either drunk the bitcoin Kool-Aid, or is embracing the digital currency revolution.
“I’ve decided to take a step back and buy myself the time to learn more about Bitcoin and its potential impact on the world. For the first time in history, every human has equal access to property rights and the ability to build wealth beyond the reach of any government or organisation,” Piumsomboon wrote in an update to Blackbird partners.
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“This is life-changing for the 4.3B people living under authoritarian regimes, but it is also catalysing a separation of money and state, fuelled by the inflation of our reserve currency and the need for a borderless, digital native currency.
“Last month, Bitcoin became a legal tender in El Salvador. I am continuously blown away by the speed and scale of development and adoption of the Bitcoin protocol. It has become too important for me to ignore.”
The principal continues, “What’s next? I honestly don’t know and I think that’s okay. If I spend the next six months learning from Bitcoin developers, humanitarians and founders, creating more educational TikTok videos and angel investing in Bitcoin-focused companies, I will have learnt much more than I know today.
“My partner James and I are even considering spending a few months in El Salvador to see the Bitcoin economy in action.
“To the Bitcoiners out there relentlessly building on this global, open monetary network that will inevitably impact the world in ways we can’t even imagine today – from education to climate change to capital allocation – I would love to support you any way I can. Please reach out to @tip_nz via Twitter or TikTok.”
The Sydney Blackbird Ventures made its bones with early investments in the likes of Canva, Nura (where NZ Rugby has also chipped in) and Skedulo (recently recruited to join the coalition of off-shore firms creating NZ’s new online vaccination management system).
On this side of the Tasman, Blackbird’s investments include Ask Nicely (in the process of lining up a $40m raise), Chicken-free Chicken maker Sunfed Foods, Multitudes and smart cow startup Halter.
Christchurch-raised Piumsomboon heads the firm’s New Zealand operation, whose $60m Blackbird NZ Fund landed a $21.5m co-investment contribution from Crown-backed Elevate NZ Venture Fund in September last year.
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