Sam Rosenblum never expected to work for an investing business that specializes in cryptocurrencies. Crypto was not officially a thing until he was in college at UCLA. A native of Southern California, he spent “a huge chunk of my time outdoors in the sun, doing sports and hanging out with pals.” Following stints at the DOJ and as an analyst for a business consulting firm, it was a year with Visa that really opened his eyes to the burgeoning world of digital assets.
As a result, in 2014, two years after Coinbase was founded, when Coinbase started to recruit Rosenblum and some of his colleagues, he jumped at the chance. It was a wise decision. When Rosenblum left Coinbase after five years and joined some other former employees of the 30-person firm at the cryptocurrency fund Polychain Capital, Coinbase saw rapid growth. In fact, Rosenblum was planning to raise his own fund last year when former Andreessen Horowitz VC Katie Haun contacted him to ask if he would join her new company instead.
Haun had a network of contacts from Coinbase and Polychain. The $1.5 billion in financial commitments that Haun’s company, which was recently renamed Haun Ventures, received earlier this year are now being invested with assistance from Rosenblum and Chris Ahn, who formerly worked for Index Ventures for four years. We went on a Zoom with Rosenblum, who resides in Sun Valley, Idaho, late last week to gain a better understanding of how the young business operates and how it is thinking about investing into a market where both equities and cryptocurrency are now being dumped. This conversation has been excerpted for length and clarity.
Let’s take a step back to get started. Polychain Capital, whose founder worked for Coinbase as its first employee, has Andreessen Horowitz as an investor. On Coinbase’s board of directors is Katie. She also worked for the DOJ for ten years as a federal prosecutor, where you spent your first year after college. When did you two first come into contact given all of these probable intersections? In 2017, when Katie joined the Coinbase board, we first spoke. After I left Coinbase, we didn’t stay in touch very much, but in November of last year, I decided to launch my own venture fund.
As I was working on that, Katie and I have a lot of mutual friends, so I had been planning and strategizing with some of these people about how to pitch to a fund before going out to raise money. And I believe Katie sensed that I was doing that and got in touch with me to let me know what she was contemplating. As a result, I ended up traveling out to Menlo Park for a few days where we jammed and walked a lot of laps around the Stanford dish before deciding it was a good idea to form a team. The remainder is recent past.