Solana's Macalinao brothers increase their stake in a crypto venture fund

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Solana’s Macalinao brothers increase their stake in a crypto venture fund

Solana's Macalinao brothers increase their stake in a crypto venture fund
Ian Macalinao is one half of the Saber brothers (Danny Nelson/CoinDesk)
Source: CoinDesk
1656412915 28 Jun / 10:41

The most renowned developer-brother combination in Solana is starting its venture capital firm.

Dylan and Ian Macalinao, best known for developing the stablecoin exchanging protocol Saber, are renaming their developer group, Ship Capital. The fund, known as Protagonist, has raised at least $33 million, according to its website and regulatory filings.

Two active Solana ecosystem participants will now formally divide their time between developing crypto companies and investing in them as a result of the new initiative of the Saber brothers.

This raised some alarm among the industry’s more established VCs, who told CoinDesk that completing both endeavors properly demands a problematic level of “concentration.”

“I don’t think it inspires confidence that they’re committed to the protocol, but it is commonly accepted, with lots of prominent examples,” a third VC stated, citing Robot Ventures as an example.

The Protagonist lists four individuals with the title “Co-founder and GP”: brothers Dylan and Ian, the CEO of the fintech startup Pipe, Henry Hurst, and self-described angel investor George Bousis. Sunday’s website indicated that corporate attorney Sevan Avakian is Protagonist’s general counsel and a partner and that Jiani Chen is an investment partner. Monday evening, the “General Partner” titles for the brothers Hurst and Bousis were removed.

The website stated, “Protagonist is building and investing in future-defining crypto companies and protocols.” So far, it has been included in layer one competitor Aptos, programmable NFT company Cardinal, neobank Cogni, and decentralized financial platform Delta One.

Ship Capital’s renaming (documented in regulatory filings) symbolizes its transition from a GitHub contributor collaboration to a legitimate venture capital business.

This shift has not occurred spontaneously; both brothers have said openly that their “group of friends” who programmed was just that.

Last November, Ian tweeted, “It’s not a VC, and we as an entity have never made any investments, nor do we plan to any time soon.” Before two months, Dylan had stated similar sentiments.

According to corporate documents, “anytime soon” was not at all distant. Late in January 2022, “Ship Capital Labs US, LP” was registered in Delaware; on May 23, 2022, it notified the Securities and Exchange Commission of its name change to “Protagonist US, LP.”

Before this, Ship Capital admitted to making a venture capital investment in Delta One.

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