Maven11 - Fund - Contributions

Hello everyone!

My name is Darius Rugys, and I’m a Partner at Maven 11. I’m very excited to be able to be contributing to the Merit Circle DAO and look forward to interacting with you all! Also, Congratulations to Marc and the Mechanism crew for showing great leadership here!

Let’s kick off with a short introduction to Maven 11, we are an investment fund operated from Amsterdam that is solely focused on the blockchain industry. We’ve been in our current form since 2017 and make high conviction investments in projects we strongly believe in. We pride ourselves on active participation in our investments and welcome the opportunity to do so once again through this initiative!

In the past, we’ve participated in the Merit Circle DAO through either posting our own MIP proposals (MIP-3) or through commenting (Comment on NFT Rental Market) on posts with our input and experience. In many of our portfolio companies, you can find similar examples of our constructive participation. We love doing that and believe that in the times of DAOs every investment firm must become an active part of the community.

We see our investment in Merit Circle as an important cornerstone of our fund. At Maven 11 we are yet to bet on and invest in many specific games as we believe that requires particular skills and experience in-house, therefore instead we appreciate the broad exposure to the entire gaming sector provided by Merit Circle. The structure of Merit Circle produced lots of mutual benefits and synergies between the participating teams, and we have been truly impressed with the workings of the DAO so far. Below, we will address the points laid out in the proposal by @MeritLtd and our view on the way forward.

1. Transparency

We fully understand and support the call for transparency and have no issue with disclosing our receiving address: 0xa1D57592fb5dbb9035a730a09Ba883cf13B1a7aa. We’re also happy to show our commitment by remaining staked after we start receiving our tokens.

2. Accountability

- Value added to the Merit Circle DAO so far:

At Maven 11, we strongly value an open and frequent communication line with the teams working behind the scenes. It’s fair to say that this communication with the MC team has been one of the best experiences we’ve had, and are confident they can attest to this. From day 1, we’ve seen our stake in Merit Circle as a unique opportunity to leverage the power of a strong community and add value to it as a member, not just as an investor. That’s why we are in contact with the Merit Circle team on almost a daily basis on most of the matters listed below.

In the past year, we have contributed in several ways:

Dealflow

One of the largest areas of our contribution is generating deal flow for the DAO, one of the very first reflexes we have when we get pitched an interesting metaverse or gaming project is looking to see how this could benefit Merit Circle. This could take many forms. From a potential partnership to a possible investment from the DAO. Some examples:

Undra: We facilitated the contact between the DAO and the Undra team which resulted in a recent partnership (Merit Cirlce Tweet).

Immutable: Maven 11 made the connection between the two teams and is actively involved in looking for similar opportunities.

Maple Finance: We realized there was an opportunity for the DAO to generate yield on its assets and proposed (MIP-3 Proposal) to deposit 10m USDC into the Maple Pool which we manage, which has proven to be very successful in recent months. In fact, considering the duration and size of the participation of Merit Circle in our pool, we can conservatively assume that the DAO generated an estimated 1M USD in low-risk yield from participation in our pool, outperforming many alternatives in the DeFi space. On top of that, we decided to donate 25 Edenhorde NFTs to active DAO participants that voted yes/no for the proposal and participated in the community call with us and Maple.

Business Development

We have shown strong support to the DAO in helping with networking across the industry with a lot of our existing partners and connections. This as described in the previous section, but also through supporting the DAO with the organization of events and co-sponsoring Merit Circle activities. A very successful recent example was the ‘Toren’ event organized during DevConnect. This entire day highlighted Merit Circle and was seen by many as a great showcase for the vision of the DAO.

We are looking forward to supporting the DAO in the future with similar initiatives, as we consider Merit Circle a very key investment in our portfolio - we want to help showcase Merit Circle to the best of our ability, and connect the team and its community to a valuable audience of potential partners, investors, and community members whenever possible. Definitely be on the lookout during coming conference weeks for some more co-organized events!

Advisory on modular stack and scalability

Over the years Maven has been active in the industry, we have gathered a unique knowledge base around the modular paradigm through our investments and thesis for the future of our industry. Through this, we have been advising the team on modularity and potential ways to solve any scalability issues we foresee when gaming on-chain will find its inevitable success. This can come in several forms. Both through partnerships and introductions from us to various protocols building out modular solutions. Here we especially see the future of gaming, as one where each dApp has their own application specific blockchain, while being interoperable with others.

There are several solutions for this, and we’d like to help the team find the best ones. We therefore consider ourselves as a perfect partner to help gaming applications that want to move towards application specific blockchains for their specific needs.

We look forward to continuing and expanding these contributions to the DAO and are always open to suggestions from the community on potential ways to help the DAO forward.

- Currently working on for the Merit Circle DAO / - Plans to work on individually for the Merit Circle DAO in future:

  • All points raised above, namely continuing to share and analyze deal flow to discover potential investment opportunities for the DAO, business development to establish valuable partnerships with interesting projects, and advisory work on the implementation of the modular stack
  • Protocol design, we are doing this currently for several other portfolio companies and look forward to contributing here as well
  • Being a soundboard to the DAO and continued active participation in treasury allocation opportunities

- What ideas do you have for the Merit Circle DAO:

  • Continue helping the DAO identify interesting yield and allocation opportunities for the sizable treasury funds. As a very DeFi-native fund, we are constantly exploring new sustainable yield opportunities and other avenues to efficiently allocate capital. We would be glad to collaborate on this topic, sharing ideas and opportunities and helping strategize how to optimally use treasury funds.

  • Establish direct partnerships for Games looking for app-specific blockchain bootstrapping (You can refer back to our earlier paragraph on this specific realm). In general, we see the majority of gaming apps being interested in an app-specific blockchain, since monolithic chains simply can’t handle the traffic of several games causing high congestion.

  • Onboard NFT tooling; as mentioned previously, we are happy to concede that we are much more DeFi-native than ‘metaverse-native’, which is reflected in our investment choices. However, these choices lead to us investing in many NFT middleware and ‘NFT financialization’ projects, such as NFTfi. These types of ventures can become key components of the business model of the Merit Circle DAO, and we’d love to help onboard them wherever sensible.

3. Staking

If you’ve made it this far, we hope that it won’t come as a surprise to you that we are happy to stake our tokens for the coming months to align ourselves with the long term goals of the DAO.

We welcome this call for action and look forward to hearing feedback from fellow DAO members on this post, now and in the future. We hope this wall of text not only outlines our previous and current involvement in the DAO, but also that it can serve as an outlook for the future of our collaborations and contributions. As said, sharing dealflow and investment opportunities, helping to establish partnerships, and advising on technical and financial aspects of the protocol are all things we feel can continue to add value to the Merit Circle DAO. In the end, we hope to have made clear that we are here to help Merit Circle to flourish wherever we can.

13 Likes

Thanks for the transparency and all the efforts you guys at Maven 11 have taken already for the DAO, as well as the transparency about staking, I reckon this will put a lot of more minds to rest.

You mention having unique knowledge around the modular paradigm and being able to advise the team on that additional to the business development and being more DeFi-native. You have not yet invested in specific games and are advising more teams/DAOs. Are you positioning yourself uniquely on DeFi-side of things and the Business Development/Advisory and will keep a specific knowledge base around those areas to offer expert advise from an outside perspective, or are you also going to expand to games yourself? I think the underlying question here, what is your long-term vision with the Merit Circle DAO, or are below points a non-exhaustive summarised list of actions?
*I am in no way trying to diminish your actions, I’m just interested.

  • All points raised above, namely continuing to share and analyze deal flow to discover potential investment opportunities for the DAO, business development to establish valuable partnerships with interesting projects, and advisory work on the implementation of the modular stack
  • Protocol design, we are doing this currently for several other portfolio companies and look forward to contributing here as well
  • Being a soundboard to the DAO and continued active participation in treasury allocation opportunities

We’re usually quite picky in regards to investing in gaming projects ourselves, and would rather get exposure through a specialized DAO, as is the case with Merit Circle. So therefore we don’t really see ourselves expanding to a ton of games ourselves, per se, but rather support the DAO in its ventures.

In regards to one of the points where we see ourselves being more involved than a purely advisory role is in regards to gaming scalability issues that we see in current iterations of games on monolithic blockchains. We have found early on, that a more modular approach is needed for on-chain games and have therefore taken steps to be early in regards to scalability in various layers. So here we see ourselves well situated to set up partnerships with various protocols that are providing modular software for application-specific chains, which could be a good stepping stone for games coming through a specialized gaming DAO like Merit Circle.

Our approach is definitely less so of an outside approach, but more one that is supportive of Merit Circle, and I think our actions so far have been in good faith to the DAO. Especially in regards to proposals, partnerships and also growing the treasury. Our strengths definitely lie within business development, advisory, defi and of course scalability, but we see Merit Circle as having strengths that we can have a symbiotic relationship with.

We might not be the most gaming-focused fund out there, but we also don’t aspire to be. We prefer to pick a clear winner (Merit Circle, Stardust) and put our focus into supporting it, and it’s very informed members to make the best possible decisions in regard to investments and participation in the blockchain gaming sphere. Thus, we won’t find ourselves competing for the same deals or investments. As a result of this, you can also see us more as a “partner-in-crime” than a competitor in regard to future investments in the gaming space.

2 Likes

Nothing much to add tbh, based firm. Ty for the support and much appreciated that you’re transparent.