March 2020 - The Itinerant

Edi. 3.0 - 3.31.2021

Your trusted source for actionable, multidisciplinary global insights into real estate, hospitality and travel; health & wellness; and transformative technologies.



1.0 - Overview

Welcome to the third edition of The Itinerant, 2c9 Venture’s experiment in cultivating a community of global investors . We are now 25% of the way through this twelve-month experiment and 80%+ into Phase 1: Pre-Launch Product Refinement.

Our first major milestone comes in May, when we will officially soft launch to the public, and offer incentives for referring us to friends and family. If you want to see The Itinerant continue to grow and develop, be thinking about whom you know who might benefit from getting involved.

We are very much building the plane as we fly it here, folks – so as always, all input and feedback is greatly appreciated. Ultimately, the vision is to build a tool that is mutually beneficial to the community.

There are several new features in this pre-launch edition worth highlighting:

  1. A new topical section focused on the intersection of private markets investing, side-hustling and the future of work

  2. A new format to try out that highlights specific investment opportunities I looked at this past month; and

  3. When applicable, updates from 2c9 Venture’s current portfolio companies

VOTE (also at end)http://doo.vote/52d3624

2.0 – [NEW] Private Markets Investing, Side-hustling & the Future of Work


I’d venture to guess that many (okay, maybe most) of us have at some point fantasized about what it would be like to start and run one’s own company, rather than punching the clock and climbing the corporate ladder. Not that there’s anything wrong with the corporate world – as those of you who know me are aware, I very much fall squarely in the latter camp of corporate ‘drones’.

While at one point there was a clear delineation between founders/entrepreneurs and salaried corporate employees, that isn’t necessarily the case anymore. I would posit that it’s going to be less so the case going forward. The days of the ‘gig economy’ and ‘side hustles’ referring only to the barista looking for a second job after hours, or the college student looking for some additional cash, are gone.



Interesting Articles & Resources



3.0 – Real Estate, Hospitality & Travel - International Real Estate, Worth the Effort?


Back to our primary focus: investing. Another asset class I’ve been looking at for a while now and building several theses around is international real estate. It’s an incredibly challenging space, and I’ve seen it stated (haven’t personally verified these numbers) that ~80% of investors who try to invest in real estate in other countries, lose money. Based on everything I’ve seen so far, that doesn’t surprise me.

From the 900+ hours I’ve spent on nights and weekends building my market-entry thesis (yes…I’ve tracked it), there is a $h!t - ton of snake-oil salesmen (and women), there is very little transparency compared to what we expect in the U.S. market, and there are few strong global players to help retail investors understand and navigate foreign markets and access quality deal-flow. In future editions of The Itinerant I’ll dig deeper into specific geographies I’m exploring and see promising, as well as specific opportunities. For now, let’s start with the basics: why bother with international real estate if can be so challenging?


Illustrative Actionable Opportunities

  • BrickSave – Global real estate crowdfunding platform

  • North Cyprus Vineyard Residence – 2BR New Development Located Adjacent to Vineyard with Winery/Restaurant

  • Turn-key Condos in Medellin, Colombia with Pooled Dividend Returns of 8 – 10% p.a.

Interesting Articles & Resources

Example Real Estate Deals Evaluated names and details obscured to protect confidentiality

  • Simplifying Housing Rentals for Latin America (Seed Stage)

  • Co-Living Space Marketplace (Series A)

  • Global Co-Working Marketplace Platform (Pre-Seed)

  • Automated Property Management and Sales Platform (Series A)


4.0 – Health & Wellness – NanoBots in Your Body, an Investable Thesis?


“Nano HealthTech” is probably not something you encounter on a regular basis at the moment, but that is likely to change this coming decade. Broadly speaking it consists of ingestible sensors, microscopic robots that can navigate your blood vessels, and regenerative therapeutic solutions. I’ve seen the market size estimates range from $125B+ by 2024 (VisualCapitalist), to $350B by 2025 (GrandView Research) and $427B by 2027 (Research and Markets); all of which projected to grow at a minimum CAGR of 11%, with certain sub-segments projecting growth rates of 15%+.

We’re still in the very early innings here, so it will take a while for mainstream adoption to occur, but many leading medical device companies (e.g., Abbott, Johnson & Johnson, GE Healthcare, Pfizer) are investing substantial R&D dollars to enhance the product capabilities, and numerous notable early-stage investors (e.g., Samsung NEXT, Venrock, MassChallenge) area already making bets.


Interesting Articles & Resources


Illustrative Investment Opportunities


Example Health & Wellness Deals Evaluated names and details obscured to protect confidentiality

  • Patient appointment adherence platform (Seed Stage)

  • Pediatric integrated care practice (Series A)

  • Smile Direct Club for India (Series A)

  • Virtual physical therapy provider (Series A)

2c9 Ventures Health & Wellness Portfolio Updates


5.0 Transformative Technologies – BitClout, the future of the internet or over-hyped and about to implode?


The plan was to dig into edge computing this month, but I called a last-minute audible to dive into the latest crypto project that is blowing up: BitClout. This brief overview leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Check-out related long-form content in The Itinerant on 2c9 Ventures’ website for more detail.

What is BitClout? Simply put, it is a cryptocurrency like BitCoin, only it powers the first decentralized social network. It is a blockchain infrastructure that allows individuals and brands to directly monetize their digital presence (i.e., their reputational capital or ‘clout’) by allowing anyone to ‘invest’ in them.

This concept is not entirely new, however, the founding team’s stellar credentials, and the financial backers they’ve been able to attract (e.g., Andreessen Horowitz, Coinbase Ventures, Winklevoss Capital, and others), suggests they have as strong a chance as anyone of executing against this incredibly bold vision.

Those of you who know me personally know that I haven’t been caught up in the whole crypto craze these last few years. In fact, I’ve intentionally avoided it because of the rampant speculation, hype and pump-and-dump schemes. I’ve preferred to be a thoughtful sideline observer; someone who believes in the long-term potential in the underlying technology and the concept of decentralization, but who is waiting for the business model and technology to mature, and the mania to fizzle.

I don’t think we’re quite there yet, but I do think we’re taking a step towards it with the fundamental concept behind BitClout. To see the potential long-term potential (real) value though, we need to look beyond the untethered optimism and skepticism that is simultaneously swirling around it.

Conclusion: optimistic skepticism. It could very well go to 0, but if the team pulls it off, it is likely to play a major role in the global decentralized internet economy.

In this vein, 2c9 Ventures is now set-up on BitClout (follow and invest here), where I will be running a series of experiments in the coming months to see first-hand how the technology evolves, and to consider the implications for launching and growing businesses driven by an engaged community.


Interesting Articles & Resources


Illustrative Example Opportunities

Example Transformative Technology Deals Evaluatednames and details obscured to protect confidentiality

  • AI generated voices for a ‘voice-enabled’ world (Seed Stage)

  • Electric flying vehicle / ocean glider capable of 180 miles at 180mph per charge (Seed Stage)

  • AI/ML platform for complex data extraction, cleaning and search (Series A)

2c9 Ventures Transformative Technology Portfolio Updates



If you’ve read this far – thank you for sharing part of your month with me. I hope you found it as enjoyable and worthwhile to read as I did to write it.

Warmly,

Ben

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