DJ and producing duo The Chainsmokers – Drew Taggart and Adam Pall – are one of the most popular acts in electronic dance music, collaborate with artists like Coldplay and Halsey on hit singles and are called ForbesBest paid DJs in 2019.
Now they support blockchain and crypto startups as part of Mantis VC, an early stage technology investment fund founded in 2019 with founding partner Milan Koch. The three appeared today during a streaming panel discussion CoinDesk‘S Consensus: distributed event to explain their goals with the fund.
The Chainsmokers first learned about blockchain technology when they co-founded Yellow heart, a company that builds technology to remove scalpers from the event comparison. According to Taggart, they saw an opportunity with Mantis VC to help bridge the gap and bring blockchain technology to other industries through investments, connections and guidance. They had previously invested in at least 20 other companies in this initiative, he said.
“We have always been interested in business disruption,” Pall said during the panel. He suggested that the group has mapped out new avenues for music release and touring around it, and that it wants to share ethos with startups in which Mantis VC invests. “We really want to add value to those companies,” he said.
Koch explained that Mantis VC is trying to support tech startups in the seed and Series A stages, with a sweet spot investment range of $ 250-500K. Mantis VC has already invested Casa, the Bitcoin security-focused startup, and while Milan said he believes Bitcoin is ready for mass adoption, the applications in the blockchain space are ‘not quite there yet’.
“We have a huge opportunity to find companies we can invest in,” said Koch. “We want to boost portfolio synergies by investing in loosely connected sectors.”
Koch added that some of the areas Mantis VC is most interested in investing in include Digital Rights Management (DRM), micropayments, linking gaming and blockchain, and the use of blockchain technology in emerging markets.
Taggart, meanwhile, suggested that they look for startups using ‘groundbreaking technologies’, but hide them from users; consumers don’t need to know anything about blockchain, just that they get a better product.
He also explained how The Chainsmokers worked their way up from playing weekday DJ sets to small crowds to a company that generates hundreds of millions of revenues. In this sense, they consider themselves to be the founder and want the founders of the companies in which they invest to look at them in that way.
“I want people to feel comfortable understanding that experience when we invest in it,” Taggart concluded.