Investing in Starlight

A few months ago, I was tasked with exploring how Aztec could buy ETH so we could run our rollup. Easy enough — there are loads of well funded exchanges who would want our business — or so I thought.

I was quickly met with unexpected barriers from exchanges and OTC desks. The problem, I learned, was that they were used to dealing with institutions — specifically financial intuitions. The KYC process was tailored for the hedge funds, venture funds, and asset managers that they usually served — not a Series A funded startup that wanted to top up our fee contract. When we talked to peers about how they handled this issue, they shared makeshift solutions — like borrowing from employees and reimbursing them in dollars.

The options available today are barbelled — there are great solutions for individuals looking to make smaller purchases and institutions looking to deploy millions. But if you’re a crypto startup that is somewhere in between, there are no purpose built solutions. It’s understandable. Since the industry’s inception, consumers and institutions bought crypto as a passive investment opportunity. The business opportunity was to serve those customers that wanted to buy and hold crypto.

Today, there is a growing number of crypto native companies that are buying crypto for its utility beyond a passive investment. Specifically, to deploy contracts, launch grant programs, and actively manage their treasuries. While onboarding these companies is drastically different, that’s not where the differences end. These companies have entirely different needs. We’re starting to see hints of this divergence today — and those needs will only continue to diverge as crypto native companies become larger and more sophisticated.

Starlight was founded to fill this need. Starlight makes it easy for companies to get started with a self-serve onboarding process. In less than 30 minutes, a company onboard through Starlight’s streamlined KYB process that is designed for companies — not consumers or institutions. Once the company has purchased its crypto, there’s a need for tools to help with spending and management of these funds — including organizing invoices, salaries and expenses and syncing this information with accounting software.

When I met the Starlight team, having personally experienced the problem they’re tackling, I was eager to learn more. Crypto is still a nascent industry — but there are constantly headlines about the billions of dollars in funding looking to invest in crypto companies and the flood of talent leaving web2 for web3. The industry will continue to grow, resulting in more crypto native companies looking to buy and spend crypto to manage their businesses.

While I was thinking about it from a crypto native company’s perspective — the Starlight team believes many companies will be looking to buy and spend crypto in the future. Whether it’s fintechs that are launching a crypto offering or SaaS companies that are getting paid in stablecoins by crypto companies, crypto will play an increasing role in businesses of all kinds.

By solving an immediate — and often urgent — pain point for these companies, Starlight is quickly gaining adoption and will expand its offering to serve the growing needs of businesses managing crypto. Viktor Bunin and I are excited to be backing the team as they make business adoption of crypto possible.

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NY native, once @Google, @HarvardHBS, @NextGenVP. Likely tweeting about startups and crypto 👩🏽‍💻

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Lisa Cuesta

Lisa Cuesta

NY native, once @Google, @HarvardHBS, @NextGenVP. Likely tweeting about startups and crypto 👩🏽‍💻

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