So why is Gilga Capital getting involved in the P-Rep race?
Well, for starters, they think ICON’s onto a winning strategy.
“I think Korea has a lot of potential within this technology, and I think ICON’s strategy of onboarding companies onto private networks and trying to connect them afterwards is very smart because it makes switching costs very high for these institutions and organizations,” says Rodney Yesep, one of the founders of the Toronto-based blockchain venture capital firm. “So I think this is a network that’s most likely to succeed in this space so far.”
Gilga Capital hopes to leverage its extensive connections in Toronto’s vibrant blockchain community to expand ICON’s ecosystem. In particular, if elected P-Rep, the company hopes to partner with ICX Station, ICON’s accelerator program, to open a Toronto launchpad, enhancing the fund’s ability to promote the ICON network to local projects and businesses.
FroM interior design to distributed ledgers
Rodney founded Gilga with his brother Stan in 2018, though the two have been investing in blockchain since 2017.
The Brothers Yesep made their initial killing in Rodney’s second year in university, when the two founded a highly successful interior design company in the Toronto area. “It ended up being pretty big,” recalls Rodney. “We generated over a million dollars in revenue in our first year.” With this fortune, the two began investing in early-stage companies, including blockchain.
Gilga has been involved with ICON since early 2018, when Rodney became an ICON subreddit mod while studying at Korea University Business School as part of a final-semester exchange program. Afterwards, he went to San Francisco to attend the launch of ICX Station, meeting with SF Launchpad co-managers Scott Smiley and Daeki Lee to discuss the possibility of opening up a launchpad in Toronto.
He says, “We’ve been having that discussion ever since.”
A four-point program
As a P-rep, Gilga plans to help ICON in four ways.
The first is as an investor. If they review an ICON DApp and like it, they can invest in it.
Secondly, and perhaps most notably, they will launch the Toronto launchpad of ICX Station. In this capacity, they would regularly meet with project developers and encourage them to build on ICON. “In Toronto, there are a ton of early-stage DApps that pop up left and right,” says Rodney. “As an early-stage investment company in this space, we get to review a lot of them. If we were to open an ICX Station in Toronto, we could port a lot of these projects onto the ICON network.”
Thirdly, Gilga can provide support and insight within Toronto. They can help with business model recommendations, next steps, investor pitch deck editing, advisor referrals, project funding referrals, partnership referrals and more. “We know everyone in the Toronto ecosystem, from AION, from Bicameral Ventures, to Polymath,” says Rodney. “If they need some connection with one person or the other, or we think we could make a valuable connection for these companies, we would definitely do so in order to help projects on the network.”
Fourthly, there’s event representation. Gilga can represent ICON at Toronto-area blockchain events, university meetups and hackathons. Rodney stresses the importance of proverbially showing the flag. He says, “It’s super-important – especially in Canada, a space leading in crypto innovation – to have representation so people have you in the back of their minds as an option to build DApps on.”
Doing right by the network
Gilga Capital has done some meditating on the role of the P-Rep since joining the campaign. Rodney says, “P-Reps are meant to accelerate the ICON ecosystem and help grow the network in addition to decentralizing it.”
He adds, “Though I might not be the best programmer or developer — I can’t build the most advanced DApps — I think that the way I can help is my team can source deals and refer them to the ICON Network.”
Gilga is considering changing its model as a P-Rep to pay out the remainder of its staking rewards after expenses, essentially turning the campaign into a not-for-profit. More details on that will be released in the near future.
A winning vision
Rodney sees a potentially bright future for ICON. He especially likes ICONLOOP’s strategy of onboarding large corporations onto private networks. “If you check out ICON White Paper, it says plain as day that their strategy is to onboard private institutions onto private blockchains first, and second to allow for them to interconnect between one another through the public network,” he says. “And I think we’re in definitely the middle of phase one right now. We’re getting some very good traction with the recent announcements right now.”
“As data gets more valuable in the future, these organizations will see value with some sort of blockchain use cases that use public networks,” he adds. “And when that happens, I think this network specifically will do very well.”
It’s a strategy that could encourage Canadian entities to plug into a blockchain network from halfway around the world. “ICON has done an amazing job working with large corporations,” he says. “If people come up with early-stage DApps that focus on corporate solutions, then working with ICON would be the easiest way to plug into the ecosystem.”