VDP-27: $1M more for equity investments


We’ve learned there are many early stage deals including at universities where equity-based investment rather than NFT-based investment are required. This proposal requests the option to use up to $1M from the VitaDAO treasury for equity investments.


Following VDP-7, we have set aside $1.5M to loan to the nonprofit Vitality Healthspan Foundation to make investments in TurnBio and Rubedo. Freeing up an additional $1M would have several advantages over doing no additional equity deals. It would:

  1. create more eventual buyers for VitaDAO’s IP-NFTs
  2. grow VitaDAO’s network and reputation within industry and not just with academia
  3. provide validation to pharma and other incumbents that VitaDAO has assets that others are willing to fund
  4. enable VitaDAO to get insider info from more companies on how the industry is evolving
  5. help VitaDAO upskill academics by putting them in contact with the companies we fund

By passing this proposal, we would still be within our 80/20 goal to fund mostly research , but we would be creating better continuity between academia and industry. Thus, shrinking the “valley of death”.


Provide the option for VitaDAO, in partnership with Vitality Healthspan Foundation, to spend up to $1M USD of VitaDAO’s treasury on equity investments. Investments would be expected to be within the $50-100K range such that at least 10 investments could be made. Investments would also be expected to be in seed stage or at the latest Series A companies to maintain the focus on early stage asset formation and maximize VitaDAO’s ownership stake.

  • Agree
  • Agree with revisions (please comment)
  • Disagree

0 voters


Thoughts on using a Syndicate investment club as the vehicle for warehousing these investments?


Only 99 people would be able to vote in the investment club, which seems antithetical to the ethos of the DAO in the first place.

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I really like the idea but have concerns. Sorry to be difficult, I’m more just trying to understand the potential implications of this.

  1. It seems like this just converts the longevity working group into GPs of a venture fund. Siphoning the treasury away, making a portion of it illiquid and difficult to value on-chain, and removing members from the governance and oversight over how the treasury is deployed.
  2. I don’t think that 50-100k investments are going to do much for a biotech, nor will 10 shots on goal be sufficient.

Please tell me where my blind spots are and what I’m missing here.


Thanks @benji for the feedback!

  1. Agree that on-chain is preferred. It’s 80% of the activity. Doing equity deals is for risk mitigation and the other reasons stated above about shrinking the valley of death. RE: risk mitigation, companies have started to cross the valley of death so they are less risky than academic projects. Some companies will potentially do on-chain deals and that is our preference. In these cases we are trying to offer buying equity as conditional upon them also doing an on-chain deal.
  2. 10 investments of 50-100K is what we can afford at the moment. We recognize it’s not much $ for a biotech, so as stated above it’s more about signaling than providing $ to fund a company’s operation. We already recommended to Vitality Healthspan Foundation two investments at larger ticket sizes where our conviction was particularly high. Now the thought is as stated above is to be a bit more balanced in funding companies.

Thank you for the thoughtful response! :slight_smile:

I really like the idea of creating a warrant in those equity investments requiring an on-chain transaction above $X or an option to license specific assets developed at a floor of Y% of that asset.

I trust you all to have good judgment with the investments, but ultimately the “risk mitigation” is contingent on the relative risk of the assets developed by each of the companies in the portfolio. 2 large investments is higher risk than 10 small ones. I wouldn’t assume that making equity investments is a guarantee of risk mitigation is all I’m saying.


Yep we’re talking relative risk here. Company investments are in general relatively less risky compared with academic projects.

requiring an on-chain transaction above $X or an option to license specific assets developed at a floor of Y% of that asset

We’re aiming for this! We’ve found some knee-jerk negative reactions when we mention on-chain activity (mainly from company lawyers), so that’s what I meant above that some companies require equity and can’t do NFTs.


If we can’t convince lawyers of companies VitaDAO is invested in, who will we be able to convince from industry?

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Speaking from experience, lawyers are generally less open to novel innovations than their clients in the industry

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Then why is this true?

1. create more eventual buyers for VitaDAO’s IP-NFTs

Key word is eventual. Companies might not buy IP-NFTs today but as the DeSci ecosystem grows we expect the overton window to shift.

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While “equity investments” might be misinterpreted, since VitaDAO can’t invest in equity, I think supporting Vitality Healthspan Foundation (mission aligned, sustainable, non-profit doing equity investments) is a worthwhile goal, since it’s a loan not a donation, and the funds are invested, not spent, so hopefully multiplied, so the VitaDAO treasury would grow too, while accelerating development of longevity therapeutics.

Then why is this true?

1. create more eventual buyers for VitaDAO’s IP-NFTs

Also, “more”, not all. Not all of them are negative nor will everyone be open to the new technology on day 1.

This proposal is now live on Snapshot and open for voting until Feb 24, 22:24 UTC.

Sorry that I’m late to the discussion. I would be in favour of a smaller amount initially, but not $1m, or even “up to $1m” until we manage to prove that we can fund more IP-NFTs. Would be comfortable with $250,000 to start. Further, I was not particularly happy with the deployment of the previous money ($1.5m), which was spent on 2 projects. Think we should be making smaller bets, which I realise this proposal also suggests. If that is the case, I think starting with $250,000 or less makes sense.


absolutely agree! we should be supporting more projects with smaller sizes, and focus on early research projects

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