Josef Holm is a Founding Partner at Draper Goren Holm, a blockchain venture studio and fund created by Tim Draper, Alon Goren, and Josef Holm with a focus on incubating and accelerating the best early-stage startups from around the world.
You have a famous “screw it, let’s do it” attitude, do you believe that this is what has made you such a successful entrepreneur?
Absolutely. Many entrepreneurs are too scared of failure which often leads to paralysis by analysis and no action taken at all. Perfection doesn’t exist in the universe and I’ve always found it better to just get started and worry about the rest later.
Also, as an immigrant entrepreneur, I never had a plan B, it’s always been a make it or break it approach that left no room for much pondering.
When did you initially discover blockchain and realize how transformative it would become?
My first interaction with the blockchain was by using Bitcoin and I was immediately drawn to the uncensorable peer-to-peer nature and the fact that it put me in control. No bank or financial intermediary could tell me what to do with my money and that’s still the strongest selling point for cryptocurrencies.
In December 2018, you co-founded one of the first conferences that is focused exclusively on security tokens, the Security Token Summit. Why did you believe it was the right time to have an event that is focused exclusively on digital securities?
In 2017 we hosted the first Crypto Invest Summit (now called LA Blockchain Summit) which focused almost entirely on unregulated applications of the blockchain and attracted over 4500 attendees and 120 ICOs seeking investments. It was wildly successful but we understood that there is a large segment of the market that will have to operate under current financial rules and regulations so Security Token Summit was created to serve as the antidote to Crypto Invest Summit and create an event dedicated to the regulated digital securities market.
How was the turnout and reaction to this initial event?
We hosted the event at the Ritz Carlton in Downtown LA to create a contrast to the mass adoption-focused Crypto Invest Summit taking place at the LA Convention Center and the strategy worked out great.
What do you believe differentiates an average conference from a must-attend event?
There are too many events that don’t deliver on their promises and are just a waste of time. We’ve always focused on events that added value and had a strong focus on education while also appealing to a mainstream audience by featuring well known entrepreneurs and investors such as Steve Wozniak (Apple), Robert Herjavec (Shark Tank), Marcus Lemonis (The Profit) or more recently Mark Cuban (Shark Tank). Simply put, a must-attend event has to offer content and value like no other event in the same vertical does.
The upcoming Security Token Summit has an all-star line-up of speakers. Is there anyone specific that you are looking forward to?
I am really looking forward to hearing from SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce and getting some insights as to how the new administration will approach the digital securities market in particular and cryptocurrencies more generally.
What is your vision for the future of digital securities?
I think that in the not-so-distant future retail investors will be able to purchase digital securities on secondary markets through their bank or investment accounts, regardless of where these securities were originally issued. At the moment the digital securities industry is very fragmented with siloed solutions that lack interoperability and force investors to create accounts on different platforms to participate and changing this is the biggest challenge and opportunity at the same time.
Is there anything else that you would like to share about Security Token Summit or other events that are being organized by Draper Goren Holm?
My venture studio Draper Goren Holm produces not just the Security Token Summit but over 100 blockchain events this year with a strong focus on education and mainstream adoption of blockchain technology. Our flagship event LA Blockchain Summit is by far the biggest event of its kind and it’s our goal to reach over 1 million people in 2021.
Thank you for the great interview. Readers who wish to learn more should visit Draper Goren Holm, or to learn more about the disruptive future of digital securities they should attend the Security Token Summit.
The Security Token summit will stream live on Securities.io: