US based Alpha Sigma Capital has been actively investing in the Blockchain economy since its inception. It focuses on investing in growth companies either through digital assets, private and public equity, mergers and acquisition or other.
In 2020 Alpha Sigma invested in UAE headquartered Crypto asset exchange, Emirex, through its 100 million USD blockchain crypto fund. At the time of the announcement Enzo Villani, CEO and Chief Investment Officer of Alpha Sigma Capital joined Emirex advisory board. Villano stated, “Emirex’s leadership and the team have extensive experience in enterprise technology, blockchain, and financial markets. We’re excited to be aligned with our partners in the Mena region and plan to leverage our exchange experience to realize the vision and deliver for our customers,”
UNLOCK interviewed Villani to talk more about their investment in Emirex as well as their fund in general. A fund that has already invested in several blockchain entities such as Quant Network, which is solving interoperability across private and public DLTs, DigitalBits Blockchain for loyalty rewards and others.
Enzo Villani explained to UNLOCK, “We started operations in January of 2020 but I had been in the blockchain ecosystem for quite some time. When we started there were companies running out of money or who had carried out an ICO and lost 80 percent of their value in relations to crypto, plus there were some projects that had customers but were unable to grow so we invested in these using a tradable token multi strategy fund.”
Building on my background in dealing with large public companies as investors relations, we do a lot of research in the fundamentals with all the due diligence and invest in private equity using tokens because it gives us the check and balances needed.”
Alpha Sigma Capital also shares some of the research it carries out on companies as well as sector valuation models and tokenomics, the same that would be done for public entities. Alpha Sigma Capital Research (ASC Research)recently released research on two blockchain companies transforming insurance and supply chain logistics; Nexus Mutual (“NXM”) and Origin Trail (“TRAC”).
As Villani states, “Today the startups that have issued ERC20 tokens possess value under their balance sheets in the form of ALT Coins, some of these companies are good and some not so good, but what we can all agree on is that it has democratized the way we invest in projects and this is radical thinking, soon we will start to see investments in regulated digital asset classes.”
In terms of the Alpha Sigma Blockchain Fund of 100 million USD, Villani explains, “We started to raise funds for the fund, a flagship fund ,that would give high returns investing both in crypto coins, as well as private equity in blockchain companies with triple digit figure returns. We don’t buy tokens off the open market but rather from the company’s treasure directly so the investments get put into working capital. We also become advisors to these entities. Some examples include my advisory role in Okex.”
Today only a portion of the funds have been raised from family and friends due to Covid situation yet this has not stopped Villani and his partners from starting to invest. He states, “We are doing the best we can in this environment and despite this we have done quite well. I think it is the fact that we have strong experience in private equity working with NASDAQ so we look at value and done just invest in anything.”
As for Emirex crypto exchange Villani explains, “Crypto exchange market in MENA is a very important sector and I believe there is a lot of great opportunities to take forward with Emirex exchange. It will be great to utilize the relationships built by Emirex team and then extend to the African Continent by helping the unbanked and driving innovation. So I see it as a great point of entry.”
While Villani didn’t disclose how much Sigma Capital invested in Emirex he did tell UNLOCK what he liked about Emirex. “First off Emirex already had a license in Europe which is a plus given that GCC and UAE do a lot of business with London and European countries. Another thing he liked was their openness to looking new strategies such as diversifying their asset lists with real equities, there is a challenge in the amount of fees you have to pay when you want to invest for example Amazon.”
Other times Sigma Fund Capital has invested in companies that have run out of money such as Airwire but had a strong technology. He adds, “We are more of an entity that invests in companies that have their feet of the ground and want to scale
Villani is confident that Emirex is not the only entity they will invest in in the MENA region. He explains, “We plan to do a lot in the MENA region as we see it as an access point to Africa and one of the ways to do that is to utilize crypto exchange platforms to help companies list, launch and start to innovate while receiving funding through their ecosystems.”