This is the transcript of a presentation by Grit Daily contributor John Karony, founder and CEO of SafeMoon, at Fund Launch Live in Las Vegas on April 28.
There are two things I’d like to leave with you today, and I hope that you will never forget them: 1) For impact centered companies, traditional models for venture funding may not be ideal, or at the least, are most probably not optimized for impact. 2) The size of your tribe and the power of your community can become your biggest strategic advantage on the path to success.
The strength of your model is key
For example, at SafeMoon we create innovative products that we integrate into blockchain technology to reduce friction points. However, unlike others, we don’t limit ourselves to a singular market or product. This means we don’t have to operate in a single silo with all the risks associated with it. It also means our opportunities that follow are unlimited.
We are developing an expansive ecosystem that spans multiple verticals and industries. What connects them is the blockchain layer. When people talk about blockchain, they assume cryptocurrency blockchain is the more versatile product. It can play into real estate. It can play into venture capital. And it can play into hedge funds as a fast, efficient tool that provides transparency.
So, we have effectively made the blockchain layer the operating system of our ecosystem. This means we can ensure that when we develop something and roll it out, it raises all the parts and all the verticals within our business. And it means we can explore many different iterations at the same time.
Why do we do this? It’s about impact. Innovative technology integrated with blockchain to create impact for sustainable projects and deployment of capital is our goal. We deploy capital in a profitable, sustainable and human-focused way.
Think ‘entropy’ and leveraging flow
We take advantage of entropy and channeling the flow of matter into our products and projects, seeking targets in specific sectors, products and services that provide Return on Impact which is how we measure our business and the metric by which we measure our growth.
Over time, we’re developing a venture philanthropy business model that could be adopted, replicated, and provided to businesses globally. That knowledge sharing is impactful in and of itself and creates a legacy as well.
Channel your passions for staying power and maximum strength
I’m passionate about civil rights, activism, social action, disaster humanitarian relief, economic empowerment, and poverty alleviation – all things that blockchain, used correctly, can support to create a Return on Impact.
I was recently asked what gets you up in the morning? What’s the first thing that comes to your mind? It’s how can I be better than I was yesterday. It’s this aim to take this journey to perfection, which is a paradox. Perfection is a journey, not a destination. But that keeps the momentum going. It’s this vision that I share with my employees, my executive staff, and anybody we hire in the future.
Where traditional funding may fail
I believe that the venture models, in the traditional sense, are not geared towards Return on Impact. They forget that entropy exists and is important. It’s especially important to consider when you’re dealing with cryptocurrency blockchain and technology. Just like matter, human and business resources can neither be created nor destroyed. An attempt to do either will never go well.
The resources need to flow from somewhere to another point. Our job is to remove the friction, to find the collaborations and the economies of scale to take these innate resources to the highest possible realm.
In traditional models, you raise millions of dollars to create products that in actuality may require only a few hundred thousand dollars and a few months to build. In this model, you’ve got product milestones and timing that require you to fight with other technology companies for resources, all geared toward getting a return on investment. And you forget about the impact until you get to the other side and end up with a 1-1-1 commitment to spend 1% of your time, 1% of your profit and give 1% of your product on social impact.
But there’s a better way
What if you could reverse that? What if you could spend the majority of your time on impact through venture philanthropy? SafeMoon prefers to go this route as a compensation venture through a company whose products and services are impact driven. We provide a return on impact that allows us to increase and grow additional impact endeavors for the future. This becomes our North Star.
We measure growth in terms of the amount of impact we can create to grow the leadership, growth of talents, growth of geographic scope, and the number of people we can support by our impact. Everything becomes faster, easier, and more efficient.
In the Return on Impact model, it’s no longer about 1% of our company going towards impact. It’s about devoting 99% of our company to impactful projects.
The Venture Philanthropy way
I could talk about Venture Philanthropy for days. But in a nutshell, how do you do this?
Build an ecosystem that takes advantage of entropy.
Do defi right, to remove the cost and complexity of traditional banking, which opens the door to new participation from all parts of the word.
Find the resources and exchanges of value that make sense to bring these human and natural resources together to expand your possibilities to levels we’d never imagined before with a 24/7 productivity cycle and the involvement of people and resources from all over the world.
As an example, SafeMoon uses the blockchain for our ecosystem as the technology engine that ties all of these people and other technologies and industries together. Our foundation is as a technology company. From that basis, we’re involved in energy. We’re involved in a bit of real estate. We’re involved in telecommunications. We’re working with governments to evolve paradigms. All of these are separate industries that are tied together with the common thread of our blockchain operating system.
The Power of the Tribe
As you seek to advance the Return on Impact model, are you working to monetize or work collectively wherever possible? You must assemble and empower the largest community of like-minded individuals that you possibly can.
Imagine the power this gives you in hiring or in purchasing resources, in the traditional or in the digital sense. And imagine the power in leveraging your community to spread the word and help you grow the ecosystem further.
The bigger your community of users, the higher your valuation and the more transaction volume you get on your platform. In the traditional realm, this is measured as return on investment. However, the return on impact is driven by the projects you choose and the ability for people who traditionally didn’t have access to banking instruments to now transact and participate with the greater global economy.
This is how the size and power of your tribe could be one of your greatest tools for success.
Our tribe is 2-plus million strong. We have a very active community across multiple different social media platforms and around the globe. This can both be a good thing and a bad thing, depending on the day, very vocal sometimes. But the ability to amass and grow a force like this becomes a literal “Army” (the nickname they chose to give themselves).
The Army brings:
Additional resources or replacements for traditional manpower
Ability to carry the word of your products into the marketplace
Ability to market your products directly
A ready-made hiring pool, making you the employer of choice
A ready source of ecosystem partners as the Return on Impact economy grows
An instant source of feedback on your products.
The ability to enact migrations near instantly
The flipside of strength in your army, however, is the power of “FUD” (fear, uncertainty, and doubt). Your community can make or break you by self-eliminating the participants who are bad actors or create drama.
You must operate with smart guidelines. Be sure those whom you allow to speak on your behalf are doing so within company policies, ethics and procedures.
When you are hit with a really bad FUD attack – a defamation campaign — it can affect things temporarily. But when you provide true clarity, through genuine care and active engagement, the strength of your tribe and community can surface quickly.
When you build a strong culture, your tribe can propel the return on impact and venture philanthropy model all the more effectively.
Nurture and support your tribe and community
Nurturing and supporting your crowd is a non-negotiable. When you provide them with education and tools, they can provide you with traction. You can set positive records and become the most talked about projects, on a regular basis, often within the space of a day.
Prioritize your tribe and community. And they will prioritize your company in return. And they will also help you to prioritize impact, because ultimately, the return on both impact and investment impacts them directly.
In that respect, what are you investing in? Is it in products or people? How can I help you do both? I am John Karony, and you can find me at SafeMoon.com or on our Discord Channel. I look forward to engaging with you.