Zachari Saltmer’s Insights into Startup Success Help Avoid Business Failure
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His name is Zachari Saltmer, the Co-Founder of One Big Fund. But people call him Zatoshi. That shows his reputation among peers, both as a trader and venture capitalist.
We’re finally coming out of almost a year of strong bearish sentiments in global crypto markets. Projects are up-shifting their building gears. The overall demand is also growing, especially with core innovations like BRC-20 and ERC-6551.
As we prepare for the next growth cycle, let’s gather some crucial business lessons from Zatoshi: how to start an investment fund, how to fund a business startup, the main reasons for startup failures, and more. Turn on your focus mode and get ready for groundbreaking insights.
Hello, Zatoshi. I’m super excited for this conversation. To begin, please tell us a bit about yourself, your business experience, and your journey in crypto.
Hi. Thanks for initiating a discussion.
My business experience is pretty diverse—so much, so that some people might find it weird. I started out in eCommerce, with a rave clothing venture. Mixing songs was my thing back then and I made a successful business out of it. But then I’ve also had many business failures over the years. That’s why I think failure is part of success, given you’re willing to learn from mistakes.
In 2013, I bought my first Bitcoin. I’ve come across many crypto success stories since then and had the pleasure of working with such brilliant people. The experience helped me develop an advanced trading algorithm for one of our upcoming products. And I’m proud to have established two companies without external funding. But even here, success and failure went hand in hand.
In 2023, I’m focusing on self-development. I’ve inspired my colleagues to do the same. We’re all lined up to complete various blockchain-related certifications. They’ll enhance our credentials and serve as proof of our on-chain knowledge.
Great! One Big Fund is your first major venture in the crypto space, right? Can you share your experience of starting the fund and what challenges you faced? I’m sure it’ll help people thinking of starting a venture capital fund.
Yes. We started One Big Fund in June last year with a pressing question in mind: How do you structure a fund in 2022? The idea struck a chord with our partners as we closely followed blockchain technology’s rapid evolution.
Blockchain has enabled an extensive range of products and services in the past decade. It introduced novel tools that already feature in so many startup success stories worldwide. This inspired us to build our own startup with the aim to empower budding entrepreneurs and startup founders. We enriched its value proposition with our pooled experiences and lessons from past business failures.
OBF is a self-incubated venture—it’s a reflexive proof of concept. As for challenges, we thankfully didn’t face many. OBF kicked off right away and now we’re focusing on incubating our first client venture. But in general, liquidity crunch and regulatory pressure are two major things to consider while starting an investment fund.
Founders can tackle such challenges by implementing robust due diligence and compliance frameworks from the very beginning. They must also proactively explore and tap high-liquidity market opportunities with rich data analytics. We did both and got positive results.
Based on your experience of starting and running a VC fund, what’s your advice for entrepreneurs enthusiastic about Web3? Should they bank on traditional funding or DeFi? Or would you suggest a hybrid approach?
There’s no one-size-fits-all. So I advice everyone, especially beginners, to identify trends through efficient data analysis: search data, venture capital data, and finally, blockchain data. This helps provide evidence for new funds and lays the foundation for strong, dynamic investment strategies.
Web3 founders must develop a clear idea of the types of companies or projects they’ll serve. This’ll help them gather the information necessary for a deep understanding of their target market. Based on their market research, data analytics, and risk appetite, founders can decide the right approach for the fund they’re starting.
For example, DeFi-based solutions can be perfect if your target market is crypto-native entities. But if you are offering something that requires crypto-fiat conversions, a hybrid approach may be more appropriate. I personally think DeFi-TradFi hybrids are the future for digital funds.
Speaking of Web3 companies, how can they navigate the dynamic and somewhat uncertain global regulatory landscape? Especially with EU passing the MiCa bill and U.S. authorities coming after several crypto-based companies.
As I said before, implementing dynamic compliance frameworks, which can keep pace with the changing landscape, is the way to go.
We thus embedded robust AML and KYC/KYB practices into OBF’s core infrastructure. We’re fairly public and transparent regarding our business activities. And we’ve introduced a novel concept called Proof of Business, where we mint NFTs on OpenSea and issue them to our partners. It’s like a reputation system using on-chain credentials for proper due diligence and business verification.
That’s awesome. Besides OBF, you’ve also recently founded a crypto bank named MEQA. What’s your vision for this project and how does it contribute to the crypto industry’s overall growth?
I’m a believer in digital banking—it has massive potential and it’s here to stay. Over the recent years, I’ve increasingly realized the need for viable alternatives to the legacy banking infrastructure. MEQA will play that much-needed role.
The recent U.S. banking crisis made MEQA’s significance even clearer. So, we’re working tirelessly to launch this crypto-bank and put it in the hands of consumers at the earliest. It’s a huge challenge but we’re up to it.
I think MEQA will be crucial is boosting mass adoption for blockchain, crypto, and overall, Web3. You can think of it as a secure, crypto-native wallet with advanced banking functionality—we combine the best of both worlds.
You mentioned the banking crisis. Several experts have suggested the liquidity crunch had two main reasons: fractional reserve banking and regulatory onslaught. How will MEQA tackle these?
MEQA’s launch is still due, so we’ll ultimately have to wait and watch. But we’re building the community first to achieve full transparency from the very beginning.
Overall, however, MEQA is a non-custodial solution where consumers always remain in control of their funds. We’re technically offering an advanced, encrypted wallet with banking features and a robust security layer comprising integrated AML and KYC/KYB compliance mechanisms.
Emerging startup founders can self-custody their funds through reliable and vetted partners using MEQA. That’s our ultimate goal and perhaps our strongest value proposition.
Thanks for such an enriching discussion on business lessons for startup founders. Please leave us with some closing thoughts and advice.
Speaking with you was my pleasure. After all these years of business experience, I’d advise prospective startup founders to adopt a long-term approach. Especially if they’re into Web3.
Failure is easy but success takes time, effort, and dedication. An innovator’s best guide is their vision for the future. So follow your instincts, dare to experiment, and learn from mistakes.
For those building in the blockchain space, you must focus on growth, as well as retail and institutional adoption. Traditional assets will undergo broad digital transformation in the future—grab the opportunity to make a lasting impact on the world’s financial history.