Solana’s Macalinao Brothers Double Investment in Crypto Venture Fund
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Solana’s most prominent brother-developer duo is launching their own venture capital fund.
Dylan and Ian Macalinao, who are best known for creating the Saber stablecoin exchange protocol, are renaming their developer collective, Ship Capital. Protagonist, as the fund is now known, has raised at least $33 million, according to its website and regulatory filings.
The new push from the Saber brothers means that two prolific contributors to the Solana ecosystem will now officially split their time between building crypto projects and investing in them.
This caused some concern among the more entrenched VCs in the space; several told CoinDesk that doing both efforts well requires hard-to-find “focus.”
“I don’t think it inspires confidence that they are committed to the protocol, but it is commonly accepted, with many prominent examples,” said a third VC, naming Robert Leshner and Tarun Chitra’s Robot Ventures as one. .
The protagonist lists four people with the title of “co-founder and GP” – brothers Dylan and Ian, as well as the CEO of the fintech company Pipe, Henry Hurst, and George Bousis, a self-described angel investor. Corporate attorney Sevan Avakian is Protagonist’s general counsel and partner, and Jiani Chen is an investment partner, the website said Sunday. By Monday night, he had dropped the “general partner” descriptions for the brothers, Hurst and Bousis.
“Protagonist builds and invests in future-defining crypto companies and protocols,” the website said. So far, it has deployed in layer 1 competitor Aptos, a programmable NFT startup called Cardinal, neobank Cogni, and decentralized finance platform Delta One.
Ship Capital‘s rebranding (regulatory documents capture the name change) reflects its move from a collaborative GitHub contributor to a true venture capital firm.
This pivot didn’t come naturally: the two brothers have publicly stated that their coding “group of friends” is just that.
“It’s not a VC, and we as an entity have never made any investments, and we don’t plan to do so any time soon,” Ian tweeted last November. Two months before, Dylan had said much the same thing.
Company records indicate that “soon” was not long at all. “Ship Capital Labs US, LP” registered in Delaware at the end of January 2022; he acknowledged his name change to “Protagonist US LP” in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on May 23.
Ship Capital has previously acknowledged investing in Delta One.