(This story is the first in Capital.com’s new weekly function Women on Crypto. Stories will profile the comparatively few ladies who lead firms in the male-dominated cryptocurrency sector. This week’s story is on Li Gong a parter with enterprise capital agency Youbi Capital.)
Meet Li Gong: An exception to the rule about ladies in crypto.
Gong is a associate with enterprise capital agency Youbi Capital. She is amongst comparatively few ladies who play an energetic function of their corporations’ investments and government management. As a rule, most different firms’ key selections are made solely by males.
DOT to USD
Face of Youbi
“I’m the face of Youbi,” she informed Capital.com. “I’m the one who will source deals and do the usual resourcing for the firm. Basically, I’m working as a scout.
“I’m the one who’s going out and looking for good projects. I usually will be the first person a project [developer] talked to in our firm. And, I also participate in the investment decision-making process.
But, I will say, my main role is more relationship-driven in our firm.”
Gong has been working in crypto since 2017, when she “fell into this rabbit hole” by her friendship with two classmates from Fudan University in Shanghai, together with CEO Chen Li.
Gong, Chen Li and the different classmate studied chemistry in school in China, and he or she additionally obtained a Master of Business Administration diploma from the University of Michigan and labored in the auto business.
The different classmate launched a profitable bitcoin-mining enterprise in China.
When an preliminary coin providing growth occurred in 2017, the different classmate requested Gong and Chen Li to help him periodically.
“We worked like a small investment group,” she stated.
When Gong’s household relocated to the San Francisco Bay from Detroit in 2018, she joined Youbi on a full-time foundation. Gong, who has much less technical experience than Chen Li, stated she entered the crypto business at a “perfect ftime,” as a result of most tasks “were just based on paper and ideas” and little or no technical due diligence may very well be executed.
Comfortable studying curve
“So my learning curve [was] really very comfortable at the beginning and, after four years, right now at the industry, you actually are having more materials to read and study when you start to take a look on a project,” she stated. “[You’re] not limited to the technical side.
“You do have a lot of things to look at on the business side in terms of, for example, revenue models or even revenue projections, that didn’t exist back in 2017,” she stated.
Youbi has centered its investments on the infrastructure facet of the crypto sector.
The firm has invested closely in layer-one, or public, blockchain tasks and their cryptocurrencies, akin to polka dot (DOT), avalanche (AVAX) and FLOW, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and Yield Guild Games, a play-to-earn crypto gaming guild that backs the YGG coin.
She stated Youbi is most pleased with DeBank, which gives buyers with a dashboard that tracks the decentralized finance (DeFi) portfolios.
YGG to USD
Company seeks lacking items
“Recently, we are more into the social-buying sectors,” she stated. “We are trying to find the missing pieces in the industry. For example, the most recent deal we closed is a decentalized [identification] and key-management solution.
Luckily, she said, Youbi has “just bet on the right sectors.” Youbi additionally tries to differentiate itself from different VC corporations by being amongst just a few pioneers who would really like to introduce prime Chinese crypto tasks to the West. Although the core staff is primarily based in the US, it has a “very tight connection to the Chinese crypto community.”
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According to Gong and different ladies interviewed by Capital.com, females face a glass ceiling when it comes to advancing in the male-dominated crypto business.
Crypto’s glass ceiling
“I think that’s kind of a legacy from the tech industry … and has something to do with the very early stage of our industry,” she stated. “In the very beginning, you would see a lot of one-man teams – just one man and their project. And, most of the time, that would be a programmer.
“Definitely, there are far fewer female programmers in the tech industry. So I think it’s quite normal [that] you see very few women founders in our industry.
But over the four years I’ve been with the industry, I’ve started to see more women join into the space, because as the industry matures, those projects also take off, so [a company will] become a much larger, larger organization. So, it will have different job opportunities and career options.
That will provide a diversity we need.
“The second reason [for fewer women leaders in crypto] is, I think, somehow based in our genes. I believe most of the women are more risk-averse. So they are kind of reluctant [to get involved] at the early stage of a new industry.”
Gong acknowledged that she is risk-averse, however stated she didn’t really feel that she was taking a serious danger in becoming a member of Youbi due to her connections to Chen Li and their classmate. Because she was allowed to work parti-time initially and her firm had to relocate to the Bay Area, the profession transfer occurred very naturally and was a “comfortable choice.”
Youbi’s small government staff really has extra ladies than males. But she hardly ever encounters ladies who’re founders of different firms. And, executives that she meets typically have a stereotypical view of her.
“They just assume you are in a business development role,” she stated.
Gong is already seeing “a lot of good initiatives internally from the industry” when it comes to attracting and recruiting extra ladies.
“For example, on the NFT side, which is the hottest topic right now, there [are] art collections and projects focused exclusively on the women’s side,” she stated. “So it is actually very exciting to see that people actually realize the importance of women in this industry.
Female focussed DAOs
“And, we have some organizations like DAOs [digital autonomous organizations, decentralized collectives that act like companies] studying DAOs and social-networking events solely targeted on women to help them grow their networks and get educated on the Web3 side. That’s actually very great.”
But she would really like to see an “external push” to deploy atmosphere and social governance (ESG) ideas – “like the traditional world does.”
Gong additionally serves as a part-time international funding advisor with HashKey Capital, the operator of considered one of the largest crypto funds in China, which concentrates on digital banking and monetary expertise (fintech) firms.