Homer Sun, the Managing Partner of Animoca Capital, has had a remarkable journey from Wall Street to the world of Web3. During his first visit to China in 1988, Sun witnessed conditions in a country when approximately 60% of the population was living below the poverty line. A decade later in 1998 and over the course of the ensuing two decades, Sun had a front row seat to the tremendous power of property rights as it became a key pillar of economic opportunity that would lift 800 million people in China out of poverty. Sun believes that the applications of blockchain technology through Web3 applications will drive a similar paradigm shift that empowers greater economic and social inclusiveness by enabling true digital property rights.
Prior to his focus on Web3, Sun’s 20 year career at Morgan Stanley equipped him as Chief Investment Officer (CIO) at Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia, one of the earliest leading private equity funds in Asia. During his tenure as CIO, he managed three Pan-Asian funds totaling $4 billion of capital deployed. “Investing in Asia during particularly during the earlier days feels a lot like Web3 today,” says Sun. “There is greater volatility and opaqueness to navigate, yet there is also asymmetric opportunity for funds that are well positioned in their core markets.”
Animoca Capital was born out of trusted relationship and long, close friendship between Sun and Yat Siu, the co-founder of Animoca Brands, a global leader in Web3 that raised at a $6 billion valuation last year. “Yat [Siu] wanted to professionalize and institutionalize the investing opportunity available to Animoca Brands, particularly for later stage companies.” says Sun. “For me, the idea of pursuing an economic transformation built on digital property rights immediately resonated based on the investing I had led in China over this past 20 plus years. It was also clear to me that Animoca’s brand would represent differentiated strategic positioning as a global leader in Web3 akin to Morgan Stanley’s prominence in the world of finance.”
Animoca Brands approaches Web3 as far more than just a financial innovation – rather, the company is building towards social, cultural, and technological innovations. For instance, businesses in the real economy will continue to adopt Web3 as a differentiated form of marketing spend and community engagement, to create projects that act as powerful onboarding mechanisms for the broader consumers. Another example relates to the power of decentralized systems as in the open metaverse today which has treasuries of $12 billion within control of its communities without any central authority.
Animoca Capital is a joint venture between Animoca Brands and Sun that focuses on mid-to-late stage companies leveraging blockchain technologies and applications, backing leaders that will define the next internet. The Fund has an exclusivity over growth equity opportunities available to Animoca Brands. According to Sun, “The access and reach of Animoca Brands coupled with the strategic value to potential investee companies of synergies with Animoca Brands and within its 450+ portfolio company network are unrivaled in the ecosystem. We are creating a truly institutional fund opportunity to gain exposure to Web3 through investments in more mature businesses with real operating metrics.”
The investing thesis of Animoca Capital is focused around the promise of blockchain technology creating massive new opportunities for entrepreneurship and innovation. Today, some of the largest incumbents in the world are building and investing intently towards a future where digital, tokenized representations of ownership fundamentally change virtually all aspects of the global economy. From in-game items for gamers that is immutably owned and can be traded to new paradigms of customer loyalty being introduced by Nike, Starbucks and Prada. From enabling broader applicability of digital stores of value by BlackRock and Fidelity to tokenized bond offerings being led by Goldman Sachs. “The surface area for monetization of blockchain technology is so much wider than cryptocurrencies and NFTs” says Sun.
With offices in Hong Kong, London and New York, Animoca Capital is focused on global growth equity opportunities in Web3. According to Sun, “Today, Animoca Capital’s focus is principally on infrastructure companies that are paving the ‘road to Web3’ if you will across areas such as custody, payment, identity, analytics, reporting and many others. We see clear leadership emerging in companies that we believe will be foundational pillars of the future that is being heavily invested into already by so many global corporates. Importantly, we also see an exceptional investing vintage ahead of us.”