Venture capital is an alluring but inaccessible industry. From its origins in Silicon Valley, where early technology entrepreneurs and investors invested in promising upstarts who flocked to the area or attended nearby universities, it has evolved into a coveted sector popularized by the unicorns created in the past decade and glorified entrepreneurs. It has been a track typically reserved for those with a privileged background with access to top-class universities or founders and early employees who had successful tech exits. Access to the right dealflow also depends on knowing the right people.
Odin intends to level this playing field by democratising private investments. It’s a mission I share (and benefit from) as an emerging angel investor. I’m thrilled to announce the Striking Markets syndicate has invested in their seed round.
Odin’s first product is a cost-effective and flexible SPV vehicle that can be used by angel investor syndicates to pool capital into investment opportunities (like startups or funds) or for founders to roll-up smaller investors. This will soon expand to fund administration services, lowering the barrier to launching a venture fund. Eventually, they will add a social layer that facilitates the networking of angels, founders and simplify the matching of capital and talent.
This deal is a perfect example of us scratching our own itch. For the Striking Markets syndicate I broadly researched services that allow the creation of Special Purpose Vehicles (”SPVs”), which are single-purpose entities that can be spun up to allow a group of people to pool capital for an investment. As a European syndicate lead, the established solutions weren’t great fits, whereas Odin checked all the boxes. Specifically:
- Cost: Most SPVs cost >$8K for set-up and 7-10 years of administration. Most have surcharges for side letters (like carry splits or token warrants) or US investors (provision of K1 filing docs). Odin’s elegant UK Bare Trust format and tech-first operating stack allows them to offer a comparable product at $2-5K per vehicle. This means that the total ticket size a syndicate has to raise for the investment to be worthwhile is significantly lower.
- Works globally: While most SPV providers support investments into target companies globally, the US providers often have limitations around investments by citizens of country A into target company in country A, as long as the provider doesn’t have a financial license there. Consequently, it may be impossible for a French or German investor to participate in a syndicated investment into a company in their country via such an SPV provider. Odin’s structure doesn’t have such constraints, making it a perfect fit for global syndicates investing in companies globally, like mine.
- Blockchain friendly: Most SPV providers don’t support investments into blockchain companies, require obfuscation or won’t facilitate equity investments that are accompanied by a token warrant. Odin does and can support stablecoin payments (of course, subject to KYC/AML) in certain scenarios. This flexibility greatly appealed to us and makes it a good fit for the blockchain venture industry.
By lowering the barriers to entry, Odin’s helping create a new class of emerging investors who often have backgrounds as operators, resulting in startups having better access to funding, expertise and networks via these new angels. This is important, and also that it isn’t confined to the US, where the groundwork has been laid already. Europe’s behind in that regard and we need better solutions - I’ve frankly been surprised by the lack of infrastructure for and familiarity with syndicates locally.
We’re excited to be running future deals via the platform and supporting co-founders Patrick, Mary and their team as they pursue their vision for a healthier startup and fundraising ecosystem.
Visit Odin to learn more about their offering and feel free to reach out if you’d like an introduction to explore if it can be a good solution for you. They also run a great newsletter on angel investing.
Striking Markets Newsletter
Reflections on blockchain, markets and venture capital.