Guest: Potter Li (Co-Founder of EthSign)
During his BASc. in Computational and Applied Mathematics at USC, Potter co-founded EthSign, which raised 12 Million by all 3 branches of Sequoia Capital – an industry first. He is also the co-founder of Blockchain@USC, and the initiator of Web 3 Collective. Previously, he interned at Morgan Stanley and Fundamental Labs.
What is Web 3.0?
Based on the definition by Chris Dixon
Web 1.0: The dawn of the internet (“read only” / pretty much just text visible on computer screen)
Web 2.0: The boom of the internet (“read and write” / everything is owned and operated by social media giants – this is the current era of the internet)
Web 3.0: The decentralization of the internet (“read, write and own” / the internet is owned by the individuals)
What got you into the blockchain space?
Bought Bitcoin and Ethereum in junior high school. Invested $10k and experienced the direct impact of the entire market crash. After this financial loss, I never looked back, and I jumped straight into the crypto rabbit hole. I was among the first batch of USC blockchain students, as I co-founded Blockchain@USC with a crypto OG named Albert, my mentor at the time.
What is the mission of EthSign?
DocuSign ties to document signing, whereas EthSign ties to ethereum smart contract signing, meaning we exist on the frontier of web 3, as part of an extremely vast financial ecosystem, where we can tap into a myriad of possibilities, much more than web 3 DocuSign. This is the problem that we really tryna solve 👇
Web3 fundraising has attracted 10x more startups and 10x more investors, in 10x more jurisdictions, creating 100x more complexity. EthSign’s hyperfocus this year is a product called EthSign TokenTable, which is a set of on-chain smart contracts that would replace legacy investment contracts like SAFE with smart contracts that automatically create and maintain an on-chain cap table, investment, ESOPs, and more.
The mission of EthSign TokenTable is to become the single source of truth of financial transactions for the entire web 3 ecosystem. We start by creating this automated, compliant, and user-friendly one stop shop, and will later address more pain points.
Supportive reading: https://balajis.com/mirrortable/
How did the EthSign idea come along?
Web 3 infrastructure has significantly matured over the past few years. We want to utilize this decentralized technology to build a tangible web 3 product. We think that an e-signature Dapp is a great starting point because as a tool-kit, it’s unlimited in potential / network effect.
What is the thought process behind your decisions of dropping out of college?
First of all I love and enjoy USC.
If you want to drop out, there are 3 metrics to think about:
- Do you have the conviction? Are you passionate?
- Do you have the traction? Like funds, revenue or customers?
- Do you have your family support? Your family is your backbone.
How did you meet your co-founders? What are your roles?
- Met Xin in internship at Fundamental Labs, – CEO tremendous investor@Fundamental Labs & Huobi
- Met Jack at ITP 256 @ USC freshman year – CTO. tremendous lecturer teaching ITP 356 @ USC
- Potter – COO, a tremendous mfer.
Supportive reading: https://sg.linkedin.com/company/ethsign
How did you successfully forge collaborations with amazing established partners within such a short period of time?
First, always think about the value proposition, how can you both mutually benefit from each other. Second, prepare the pitch. Third, nail the pitch.
Before all that, you need to 100% have a strong product/tech team to support as backbones.
Any learnings you can share about successful fundraising as a first-time founder?
Find the pain point first. And always remember, Keep Building & Delivering. At the same time, know how to shape a good narrative (tell a good story). The rest you don’t need to worry. If you still find it difficult, you probably didn’t find your PMF!