Protagonist, a crypto fund and incubation lab supporting foundational protocols in emerging blockchain ecosystems announced that it has launched its debut $100 million fund. Protagonist’s general partners all previously founded innovative crypto, consumer, and fintech companies and are using their deep experience to invest in and incubate the core protocols that will support emerging Web3 ecosystems. With this fund, Protagonist is focused on investing and incubating early-stage companies in markets including gaming, infrastructure, emerging blockchains and ecosystems, security, and privacy. The initial fund will likely exceed its initial plans given the current level of commitments.
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Protagonist was founded by Dylan Macalinao, Ian Macalinao, George Bousis, and Harry Hurst. Dylan and Ian are the founders of Saber Labs, the leading cross-chain stablecoin and wrapped assets exchange on Solana. Previously, Dylan was a founder-in-residence at Solana Labs, where he helped create Metaplex, Solana’s NFT protocol. In his career, Ian has built a number of successful protocols including Ubeswap, the most used DeFi application on Celo. George is a serial entrepreneur and angel investor and is the founder and executive chairman of Raise and Slide, a gift card, loyalty, and payments company. Harry is also a serial entrepreneur and investor, and the co-founder and co-CEO of Pipe, creators of the world’s first trading platform for recurring revenues.
Protagonist’s core differentiation and value are their cumulative experiences as successful founders and operators. The team is dedicating significant time and resources to investing in and incubating the Web3 ecosystems, and bringing strong finance and institutional investing expertise to co-founders and their innovations. The network effects from founder to founder have been key for unlocking the most important currency of all in the venture capital industry – information and access.
Protagonist is already working closely with a number of companies to provide the support, capital, and expertise required to bring their products to market, including contributing code and refining their token models. It is also developing and incubating its own protocols in-house. Initial portfolio companies include:
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- Aptos is the new, independent project focused on building the safest and most scalable Layer 1 blockchain.
- Cardinal is a Solana Protocol that enables the conditional ownership of NFTs to power the future of NFT utility through rentals, subscriptions, staking, tickets and more.
- Cogni is built on a single mission to provide easy, transparent and accessible digital banking and lifestyle services on a single platform.
“Protagonist is focused on investing in and incubating the core protocols that will support the emerging Web3 ecosystems,” said Dylan Macalinao, General Partner, Protagonist. “There will continue to be multiple thriving blockchain networks as each chain forms its own niche of applications and primitives in the next 20 years, and we are excited to play a big part in supporting these networks.”
“We’re excited to be partnered with the Protagonist team. Their deep experience and history of building applications in Web3 is unique and valuable,” said Mo (Mohammad) Shaikh, co-founder and CEO, Aptos. “They have proactively made technical contributions to improve our roadmap and tech stack to bring Web3 to the masses. Their deep involvement in the Aptos ecosystem and dedication to our mission has helped accelerate global adoption for blockchain infrastructure and consumer applications.”
“The primary metric of success for a crypto protocol is its adoption by other protocols and applications,” said George Bousis, General Partner, Protagonist. “Each new project will build on top of our previous incubated projects and portfolio companies like legos, which will have the compounding benefits in maximizing the success of the fund and the Web3 ecosystem as a whole.”
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