EXCLUSIVE: Asa Hutchinson on DAOs, Blockchain Games and Being a Web3 Venture Capitalist
At NBX Berlin, we caught up with the public speaker, investor and Web3 guru to chat DAOs, funding and inclusivity in the blockchain industry.
Despite downturns, exchange collapses and high-profile hacks, a core of passionate, dedicated and talented people continue to drive Web3 forward.
At a time when teams are downsizing and profits are drying up, investors are understandably hesitant – but not all are standing still.
At NBX Berlin earlier this year, I caught up with Asa Hutchinson, Head of Partnerships at blockchain game studio Emergent Entertainment, to discuss her female-focused DAO, her burgeoning Web3 game studio, and what it’s like to be a VC in the pits of the bear market.
Zac: Hi Asa! How are you finding NBX Berlin 2022 so far?
Asa: I like it! It’s very builder-based, which is what I’m after. I’m an investor, so I’m looking for builders to come and showcase what they’re doing. When you have a lot of projects in one spot like this, you can compare the passion from one to the other a little easier, which helps distinguish the good from the bad.
What’s been the highlight for you?
I’ve come out here with the London Women Leading Web3 (LWLW3) DAO, so for me it’s all about being able to discuss what we’re doing. We’re starting to create a revenue structure for the DAO, and I’m branching out to create a fund for them. There’s a lot of other investors I already know that I’ve been able to connect with in Berlin, so it’s been great!
What is London Women Leading Web3?
London Women Leading Web3 is a DAO. It started off as a networking platform for female leaders in the UK, then we started to approach it as a business. I wanted to create a place for C-level women in blockchain to feel comfortable, and as mentioned, we’re now creating a tokenized revenue structure.
We’re only C-level women. We don’t allow any members at entry level because we feel that there’s already enough of that in the space. LWLW3 is for women in C-level positions to branch out and create further career growth for themselves. At the moment, we’re raising for our VC fund and we are super, super excited about that.
How important are events like this for the industry?
Very important. Back to back events aren’t very important as you don’t get real utility out of them, but I do feel that when you attend perhaps six events a year, you get to see a wide range of people within the space, as well as those that are sticking around, especially in a bear market. It’s really handy to see who’s continuing to build and who’s dropped off the face of the earth.
You’re also the Director of Pluto Ventures. What is Pluto Ventures all about?
Pluto Digital Ventures is a fund that we founded about three years ago, which has raised $50 million to date. We’ve deployed a good chunk of that into the Web3 space, with about 110 projects under our portfolio at the moment. Most of them have already launched, but we’re really looking forward to 2023 and how we can continue to support these projects.
Runway is very important and I know that investors are very shy to spend their money right now. Right now, we’re babysitting our portfolio, making sure that people get what they need and connecting people to the resources for further support.
On top of that, you’re also the Head of Partnerships at Emergent Entertainment. Could you tell us a bit about Emergent Entertainment, and what you’re working on?
Sure, so Emergent Entertainment is the result of a merger between Web3 game studio Pluto Digital and Maze Theory – a Web2 VR studio founded by ex-Sony and ex-PlayStation guys. We’re creating AAA cinematic games, our first one being Resurgence, a free-to-play open-world survival MMO.
What are your thoughts on the collapse of FTX, and what does it mean for the industry moving forwards?
I feel very sorry for the people that have been caught up in that. I also feel sorry for Solana – they were already getting battered as a chain, but I was starting to become quite bullish on them because there’s so much tech there. Luckily I didn’t hold any FTT – I don’t believe in exchanges no matter how good the rates are.
I am interested to see where this will go. I don’t think the collapse has killed off anyone that’s building anything significant, however I do feel that Solana and other immediate investors have taken a kick in the teeth when they really didn’t need it.
What are your thoughts on female representation in Web3, especially in comparison to Web2?
Female representation in Web3 is important. We’re just trying to be inclusive. I don’t care whether you’re female or not, I don’t care if you’re fat or short, all I care about is that you know what you’re talking about and that you’re not trying to blindside anyone.
What I really don’t want to happen is for people to feel that just because we’re women, we’re accepted. What we’re trying to get across is that we understand what we’re talking about and we are building in our own rights.
That’s the importance of not only being a woman, but someone with a brain, instead of someone that’s just – “I’m a woman give me attention”. It’s not that, it’s something completely different to that.
It’s not often that we’re able to speak directly to a venture capitalist within the Web3 space, especially one that’s also bringing women in the industry together and exuding confidence in blockchain gaming, and Asa certainly bucks the stereotypes often touted on social media.
Her passion and drive to further the industry through its most difficult of times is highly commendable, and we’ll continue to follow her work with eagerness as we enter 2023.