[Withdrawn] Sushi Phantom Troupe - Strategic Raise

Range tokens would be available to buy on exchanges, yeah?

So small holders who were bullish on Sushi would be able to buy these range tokens. So you would be able to purchase a token that

  • had a fixed price if sushi stayed in a broad range
  • was the same price as the token if it went up a lot
  • was the same price as the token if it went down a lot.

So if you think it will go up a lot and are sure of the floor, buy the range token.

Is that right?

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This could’ve made sense back in the beginning. We’re perectly viable without.

It does, when the stake and discount they want will handle the control over the protocol to them. Unless they disclose how much sushi they already have, we must assume they have sufficient resources to outvote anyone.

Enforced by whom? The only way to hold FI responsible would be through legal. And Sushi does not have a corporation to stand part in trial. If the team establishes a corporation that will ‘own’ sushiswap, this will kiss our governance charade goodbye. Also, hi SEC.

Alternative would be to have a blockchain enforced escrow a-la Sablier, but something tells me the vultures won’t be so keen on it.

Again, this would’ve made sense back in september of last year. At this point, Sushi does not need any validation whatsoever.

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0xMaki, I recall the days when I put my UMA tokens to good use to farm SUSHI. Through all the drama and despair, I held onto the firm belief that SUSHI was forked with the sole intention of surprising the crypto ecosystem. I can gladly say that, to date, I have not been disappointed! SUSHI team have a track record of continuously innovating and surprising the crypto ecosystem with novel products/ ideas.

So why not do the same when it comes to raising funds for treasury diversification plan?

Kevin makes a strong case for implementation of Range tokens to raise funds. As a fellow SUSHI and UMA holder, I am a strong advocate for it.

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Hey guys–SBF here!

Disclaimers: (a) I’m not involved in this raise (though I’d be super happy to be); (b) obv I hodl a fuck ton of SUSHI; (c) these views are all my own and don’t represent the views of any companies; (d) not investment advice etc., (e) I’m currently doing a raise for FTX and so have lots of thoughts from that


Some brief thoughts here:

  1. I think this raise is a good idea. The basic reason is that, if you raise from the right VCs, they’ll fucking fight for you, and that’s worth a ton.
  2. If you raise from the wrong VCs, they’ll do fuck-all for you, be a pain in the ass, and then dump ASAP.
  3. Communication here is key, and making sure everyone is on the same page
  4. I think the lockup should be longer. If a VC wants to sell after 15 months then this raise didn’t really do what it was hoping to (make long-term partners), and if they don’t then they won’t mind ~2x-ing the lockup length.
  5. I think the discount is necessary to get good VCs in
  6. I think that, if you want to get VCs in, the size needs to be significant here – $60m doesn’t sound crazy
  7. looking at the list of investors:
    –21 total
    –11 I don’t know enough about to judge
    –0 are shit
    –2 are meh
    –5 are good
    –3 are great

overall those numbers are decent so I think this is a decent round, though with the big caveat that I don’t happen to have enough context to judge half of them.
8) if possible get https://twitter.com/cmsintern to participate personally as well so that you get some sick memes
9) also this will give a bunch of USD to the Treasury which isn’t the end of the world; it bought a bunch of SUSHI back at $2 or so a year ago in a somewhat contentious move at the time, so think of this as flipping those out for a 3x profit :stuck_out_tongue:

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Another idea, building on the above:

  • Private Dutch auction on MISO
  • Around 40M in $SUSHI on sale (could be higher or lower depending on community/team preference)
  • Auction is for whitelisted buyers, which would be top ten or so most promising VCs who can really add value
  • Price starts at SUSHI TWAP and descends as low as 30% below TWAP, but auction ends if/as soon as it gets sold out at higher price
  • Max buy ceiling of ~7.5M USD per address
  • Two year lockup

Benefits:

  1. Favor/filter for VCs that are willing to pay higher price and thus probably have deeper commitment
  2. Drive higher sale price while still accommodating lower price if that’s what buyers demand
  3. Showcase MISO product in the process
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Thank you everyone for giving us, Lightspeed Venture Partners, the opportunity to participate in this discussion and to potentially co-lead a strategic round for Sushi. We’ve read all of the comments in the thread and are grateful for everyone’s feedback.

First, a brief introduction of Lightspeed:

  • We’ve had the privilege of investing and supporting great teams in technology for over 20 years, across geo (US, China, India, SEA, Israel, Europe, LATAM) and across category (consumer - Snapchat, Epic Games, Affirm, PinDuoDuo; enterprise - Carta, TripActions, Nutanix, Zscaler; crypto; healthcare).
  • We’ve invested in 17 blockchain companies the last few years (Wintermute, Arbitrum, Zerion, DeversiFi, Blockchain.com, etc) and will continue to.
  • We’ve set up our fund to add value by supporting company building. This includes having dedicated teams to help with recruiting, PR, marketing, BD, and share best practices across 300+ portfolio companies.
  • We are long-term venture investors and we invest in team-first. Our typical time horizon investing is up to 10 years. We are not traders. We look for teams with similar long-term outlook and the vision to build an industry-defining company.

And, a bit more about me:

  • I’ve personally spent time with the Sushi team and others invested in Sushi. I’m a crypto, consumer, and gaming investor at Lightspeed and work closely with our companies like Arbitrum/Offchain Labs, Epic Games, Webull, and others. I was an executive at Discovery. I love to ski. You can learn more about me on twitter: @amytongwu
  • I will personally be one of the team members closely involved in supporting Sushi long-term if we invest. I’m putting myself out there on this post because I believe in decentralization and look forward to interacting with the community.

Why we are excited to partner with Sushi:

  • We believe this is one of the top teams in DeFi, from a product, vision, and execution-perspective
  • We believe in the decentralized governance model the community has established and believe the model and an engaged community is a long-term competitive advantage. We intend to participate in the governance alongside the community
  • We believe our areas of experience are complementary in supporting company value appreciation and therefore token value appreciation

What strategic value can we and other venture investors bring?

  • Relationships, especially outside of crypto. There is a long road ahead in expanding the current DeFi audience to the potential millions / billions of users in the future. This will take strong relationships outside of DeFi, which we have across geography and industry. For example, we would be excited to introduce a wide variety of fintech products, neobanks, and games to the Sushi team and community
  • Expand awareness of Sushi beyond DeFi. Sushi is indeed a blue chip project and the team excels at building great products that attract DeFi users. However, brand awareness remains low outside of core crypto (as it does for almost all DeFi projects–this isn’t specific to Sushi). We intend to amplify the message with our PR networks and introduce the product to new partners, beyond Defi
  • A history of company building. As mentioned above, we help our portfolio companies with recruiting, PR, marketing, BD, etc. Don’t take our word for it. If helpful, many from the Sushi community can share some stories, and/or we could bring a few of them here to write posts.
  • Global network. We have investors across the US, Europe, Israel, China, India, and Singapore and portfolio companies beyond. We will help Sushi continue to expand globally

What does it mean for us to act in good faith here?

  • Be aligned with helping build value in Sushi for the long-term
  • Work hard to actively help build out the Sushi ecosystem
  • Be a resource when needed

Why would we act in good faith?
Because capital is commoditized today, being a VC doesn’t make us special. The primary asset we have is our reputation, and we build that up with the companies we back.

A few responses to frequent questions we’ve seen in the comments:

Do we already hold Sushi?
No, our funds do not currently hold Sushi.

Should Sushi raise from VCs now?
Bottom line, Sushi doesn’t need capital. However, we think that raising from value-add funds could really help build out Sushi’s network, especially outside of the core crypto community. We think that Sushi should take investments from VCs who will fight for it to succeed, and not from those who will flip it for a profit and walk away. We encourage the community to do due diligence on any investor who wants to be in the round (us included), asking about the projects they’ve backed and how helpful the fund ended up being to the companies they have invested in.

Does the lockup justify the discount?
That’s up to the community. We’re really grateful for the discount, and think that is a key piece of making this round come together. But that only makes sense if, in return, the investors promise to be aligned with the long-term vision of Sushi. We’re glad that you guys brought up this objection.

We very much hope to take the first step of many in building a long relationship with the Sushi team and community.

Amy Wu
Partner, Lightspeed

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Hi,
Guys this plan is awful for one reason - It’s not fair.

Defi is all about giving the same opportunity to all regardless of their power or position.

Happy to have VCs involved and happy to pay for their services, but a 30% discount is a slap in the face to everyone who didn’t get a discount. Its just not fair, and this great project should absolutely not go down this route. An alternative must be found, please!

Please, please vote this down…

PS Nothing wrong with having the discussion, thanks to all

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Why do the vc’s need a discount? If they believe in DeFi and vision why not buy in at market? It’s definitely a dip.

Second, in the way venture math works…proposed discount is negligible to them
if they believe this will 10x from here.

I can see the justification of a discount for guaranteed extended lock up or vesting but no way do the amounts proposed seem reasonable - they should be locked up to 4-7 years.

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I’m excited about DeFi because it’s different. It’s values are different. I feel good about making money in this space. Sushi is one of my favourite project and a perfect example.

Giving away our Sushi tokens at a 30% discount to powerful VCs is sad, this takes away the good feeling in the project and makes it feel like TradFi, where the powerful get the best of everything.

It could be successful in increasing the value of my Sushi tokens, noone can know, but it wouldn’t feel the same.

Being sensible the 30% discount gives no contractual reason for VCs to help, some might some might not, but its a really bad deal for the Sushi token holders and community in my view.

I’m not against VCs or TradFi to be honest, but this is so much better, we want it to remain special and different.

I trust the Sushi team to contractually pay VCs for the strategic benefits they would provide using treasury funds, isn’t this better? Or the UMA proposal. Just never the 30% discount, it’s the wrong way to do it. We really don’t need to do things the same as TradFi, we don’t need to listen to them if they say this is the only way we get involved, then we say thanks but no thanks.

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Again, to review from a strictly quantitative perspective, the discount is warranted if there is a required lockup. To expand this calculus - if the proposal is settled in SUSHI as opposed to xSUSHI due to concerns of diluting existing holders then such a discount is further warranted as it represents unrealized capital efficiencies from not utilizing SUSHI during the lockup and vesting periods.

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Its not about being quantative. It’s about being fair.

If such terms are available to VCs and not ordinary token holders, this is not fair.

There is a reason they want the discount, and that is, they are going to make a load of money with it. Nothing wrong with that but the opportunity should be shared fairly.

Loyal holders probably plan to hold for more than 2 years, they don’t get any discount.

30% discount is a terrible look.

I want VCs involved! But dare to be different and find a better solution to getting them involved. Their contribution is desired but the discount frankly puts gives all the power to them ie will they provide such Strategic help to offset the value of the discount. At least there should be better ways to do this…

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Per proposal, “We would also offer a public segment of up to 10 million for community members willing to participate” So there is some degree of fairness at least to new entrants or those that want to add additional capital.

Those that already are all in you can argue it is a bit unfair to them. But those people will need to determine if they are willing to accept this proposal regardless because the strategic benefits that VC’s can bring are worth it.

I am myself still on the fence with this proposal because of the unfairness to this group who are already all in. But I am confident in the team. If this agreement is structured properly (the right numbers, assurances that VC will offer these strategic benefits (vs being free riders), and get VC’s to agree to terms to mitigate possible unintended consequences of this proposal then I think this is a pill worth swallowing.

Side note: One unintended consequence we should be aware of is that VC’s currently invested in Sushi dump their tokens and rebuy at a discount. I think it’s important that Sushi team has clear terms and makes actions such as this disqualifying. If done right this can be great but this needs to be done right.

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OK, let’s try and get responses to your 3 points then, it’s important, thank you.

For me on Strategic benefits, I would just emphasise what others have said in that 21 VCs cannot provide any valuable benefit. It would need several team members full time to work with so many. It should be 4 selected VCs no more. Otherwise it looks like we are giving VCs free ride for some other reason.

The other 17 VCs can presumably participate in the x million offered fairly to everyone else. Perhaps you want to make this segment larger to avoid the criticism that VCs are being given discounts in return for nothing tangible. The community should not be disadavantaged, as it is currently.

I suppose if the community did not want to take the 30% discount for long term, then fair enough but this won’t be likely in my opinion. How about looking at Cream Finance, they offered multi year lockups for additional % and most was taken up by compound finance. But it was fair.

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i’ve done a number of startups had successful exits and interacted with vcs including raise money.from them. i also have vc friends. not junior level associates but general partners.

it is fun as founders to be wined and dined and treated like superstars. it’s fun to go to the super nice offices be introduced to famous people and they are super charming when they want to be.

bottom line though is their job is to run money and they will stab this entire community through the fucking face if push comes to shove and it makes them a bit more money. that is what their investors pay them to do. if you want to see something ugly watch a bunch of vcs muscle out a founding team that put their heart and soul and lives into a project to get better returns. vc money is the most expensive money you can take, and most vcs will tell you the same in private. they will not hesitate to wrest control of the protocol from the community if that is what it takes to enhance the return.

Many VCs add little value beyond the money they put in. Which is fine. Usually, thats their value! You need capital and they have it. Anything else is usually a bonus. An intro here and there that may or may not help and some advice that you already know about anyway is all you can expect.

The only place i can see vcs helping is from the regulatory side and they better bring in some heavy ex sec/fincen chairmen who know how the system works and have a proven track record of helping companies navigate similar regulatory waters. Most don’t. most just talk a good game about their network and people they know and hardly deliver after they get their shares.

my suggestion:

bring in maybe 1 or 2 vcs with a small amount of money at market price who the team thinks will be most beneficial. this is already a discount since it is hard to buy a large quantity without moving the price as suggested above. if they aren’t interested in it at today’s depressed market rates they aren’t interested in the first place. they just want in on a firesale.

if one vc goes above and beyond then award them with tokens from the treasury. why pay up front?

if you let these guys in on such discount you will do more damage to the sushi community then anything you will gain in regulatory help. it’s not a great look after what has transpired in other defi projects.

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100%. You guys have done such a fantastic job, you don’t need VCs, you don’t need their capital. You have done better than you would have with their help from the beginning. Why risk this changing?

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I’m a former founder and current crypto operator. I’ve raised money from some of the funds @0xMaki helpfully brought to the table, invested alongside another few and spent time with at least 3 or 4 the GPs I expect will actually get involved with Sushi after the USDC hits.

Here’s some real talk:

  1. I think this raise is a good idea. The basic reason is that, if you raise from the right VCs, they’ll fucking fight for you, and that’s worth a ton.

  2. If you raise from the wrong VCs, they’ll do fuck-all for you, be a pain in the ass, and then dump ASAP.

^^^ @SBF nailed it here. What you want to do as a project leader is fill your cap table with the collection of VCs who will provide the things you need.

That can be intros to portfolio companies, recruiting support, regulatory guidance or just a shoulder to cry on.

What it is NOT is money.

What it also is NOT is 21 VCs who all do the same thing. And don’t have much skin in the game.

Because, why?

For example, Amy Tong Wu may be an enormous value add. But Lightspeed just raised a $4 billion fund. How much can she actually justify devoting time and resources to Sushi … if her check size is only $3m?

Now imagine having 21 clones of her … all doing almost the exact same thing! :roll_eyes:

(Sorry Amy! I am only singling you out because of you happened to post first! I actually think you are probably lovely!)

A better path forward

Based on this reasoning, I suggest we consider doing the following:

1. Retain a reasonable size treasury sale, but reduce the number of big VCs in the round. This has two key effects: it gives each VC more skin in the game and it makes it easier for each GP involved to justify devoting additional time and resources from her or his fund to the project.

Remember. Each GP supports a portfolio of companies. We will never be the biggest or the hottest - except now!

2. Choose each VC based on a specific contribution that we want. This is like arming yourself for an expedition. What do you really want? 5 crossbows but no boots or food?

Hell no! You want what you need to survive - crossbows, a battle axe, food, water, tents. So we should use this moment to get all the supplies we need!

3. Bring in a bunch of little guys who will have outsized incentives and power to help us…for very small allocations. This is the flip side of the skin in the game problem.

For only $5m, you can bring in 50-100 strategic angels who will do all sorts of high-value-add tasks for you from post great memes to get a dev out of jail. Again, however the challenge is selecting the right ones. You do not want 50 CMS interns! But ROI from getting a healthy collection of angels? Enormous because the incentives are so strong.

In sum:

  1. Keep the fundraise size large
  2. Cut the number of VCs to improve incentives
  3. Optimize our portfolio of VCs - now is the time to arm ourselves to win!
  4. Create an angel tranche to get outsized returns while giving up very few tokens

@0xMaki

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Tokenactivist raises a good point. How does $3M move the needle for a $4B fund? The answer is it doesn’t. I can’t speak for every investor here, but Lightspeed takes a crawl / walk / run approach to building long-term relationships. Our top portfolio positions are $100M+ investments over multiple rounds. Our first investment may be small, but if we invest even $100k in a project (which we have), our reputation is on the line, and the anticipation is to increase position (e.g. via spot) over time. Not every investor takes an active role, not all active roles are good for a company, and not every company wants an active investor. The team/community should decide what kind of value they want, then do references to learn if an investor has a history of providing that.

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This sounds exactly right. Most of the “better” VCs will write small checks early and scale up with the company. It’s why they set up growth funds, keep dry power and jealously guard and use their pro rata rights!

But how would that work here?

What the VC funds are buying now are tokens that already have fixed supply and a market price. Selling the VCs these tokens at a discount to the market price dilutes our treasury (and undercuts existing token holders).

If we scale this up in the future, we will just further dilute the treasury because of the discount.. In fact, each time we offer the VCs a bigger slug, we will be undercutting the existing token holders by more and more money!

Is this really what we want to do?

I’d strongly encourage the team and treasury to just allocate large slugs to the VCs they most want to include - not to gear up for future sales at below market prices.

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Great Points.
The other thing that is yet to be explored but is critical is what “strategic inputs” mean.
In CeFi, of course, it means many things ( talent, merger, intros etc.), but in a community-driven business, these are organic to a successful protocol. Any large protocol like Sushi is naturally attracting these. An argument here is that DeFi can be broad-based, but that I think doesn’t require a Venture Fund’s intros :slight_smile:

I would argue that there has be a roadmap on what Strategic inputs a VC brings to a table that warrants a discount. If they don’t meet the roadmap, then there has to be some repercussion for the same. I do know these are nebulous, but at least a shot has to be given.

In the absence of the above, what Tokenactivist says makes sense. Get someone who has significant Skin in the game OR is commit to a roadmap that is in. I mean, you can’t imagine playing the same game in a new financial ecosystem being built, which in a way is not kind of aligned to large pools of money controlling things

If not, then diversify a lot as the probability of getting a big strategic lever increases.

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Hi everyone, I’m Franklin from Pantera Capital. I love the discussion happening here and wanted to share more detail on the value that Pantera brings as a potential co-lead for Sushi’s strategic raise. We’re also planning to join the Community Call tomorrow and look forward to hearing from others in the Sushi community.

Quick rundown on Pantera Capital:

  • We’ve been investing into the blockchain ecosystem since 2013, with 100+ investments across cryptocurrencies, early-stage tokens, and venture-backed companies. Over that time, we’ve grown our focus and expertise in areas like fiat on-ramps, scaling solutions, developer infrastructure, DeFi and other decentralized applications - with an extensive base of resources, best practices, and team members to support projects and companies building on-chain and off-chain.

  • We invest in teams with a clear vision for advancing the blockchain ecosystem towards greater utility and adoption, with the ability to execute and lead. Our portfolio includes companies and projects like Alchemy, Wyre, Coinbase, Circle, Bitstamp, Bitso, Arbitrum, BitGo, InstaDapp, Terra, Audius (publicly disclosed list here: Portfolio | Pantera).

  • We’re long-term investors and early adopters, who bet with conviction. We’ve been through bull and bear markets with our founders, fighting in the trenches and through the darkest hours to help our teams keep building great tech and products for their users. We’ve been an educational resource and “first stop” for the institutional world and mainstream enthusiasts to learn about crypto - we’ve been able to translate the what / why / how of Bitcoin, Ethereum, DeFi, Web3, etc. for new audiences and we take huge pride in that responsibility & privilege.

About me:

  • As part of the Pantera investment team, my focus is on supporting and accelerating our portfolio teams - building out the tools and resources for hiring / talent, business development & partnerships, marketing / PR, M&A strategy and rolling up my sleeves with founders to break through walls and get shit done.

  • I was the first team member to propose SUSHI as an addition to our portfolio and have actively advocated for SUSHI as one of the most important and exciting projects and communities in DeFi amongst our network, including trading partners, centralized exchanges, and other investors. One of the more visible occasions here, where we shared our support for xSUSHI’s listing on Aave - also the first time we publicly disclosed our SUSHI position: https://twitter.com/FranklinBi/status/1359683748229308417.

  • Prior to Pantera, I was at J.P. Morgan where I helped launch the blockchain team in 2015 and built out the firm’s early strategy / R&D in blockchain and crypto before I left to work directly with early-stage crypto / DeFi companies in 2018.

What value does Pantera bring?

  • Hiring support: Sushi’s team and community are fantastic, but constrained on capacity and will inevitably need to scale. Our jobs board and talent network is a lightning rod for new talent entering the crypto / DeFi industry. We see great candidates leaving Wall Street / Web 2.0 / FANG companies for crypto and our goal is to connect them with the best teams we know. Talent is one of the biggest bottlenecks for the DeFi industry to reach its potential and therefore one of the highest-leverage activities we can help with. We have an in-house recruiter, a deep network of recruiting firms, an active candidate database - all of which has helped our teams get hires (not just candidates) for everything from smart contract engineers and product managers to CFO’s and biz dev leads.

  • Portfolio / Industry connectivity: Sushi’s built out a strong network of partners and relationships, as well as a solid playbook for fostering that within the community. Therefore, our added value for Sushi in connecting with potential partners inside or outside of our portfolio would be less about getting a “foot in the door” and more about accelerating the pipeline - by navigating to the decision makers, uncovering thoughtful ways to partner with mutual benefit, finding the partners who can help crack open new markets or products.

  • Technical / Market research: The sands are constantly shifting in crypto and it’s immensely difficult to track the latest and greatest developments, even for a project like Sushi that’s often been ahead of the curve in testing / experimenting / shipping. Having a partner who’s constantly vetting new tech and solutions can be critical to spotting the next big shift - e.g., which Layer 2’s should we focus our Engineering resources on? where should we prioritize cross-chain bridges & liquidity? what new tools should we be using to ship faster or improve scalability / security / UX? While Sushi hyper-focuses on executing the product roadmap and growing its usage, we’d help constantly scan the horizon for critical opportunities / risks emerging in the crypto ecosystem.

  • Resources / Vendors / Best practices: Over the years, we’ve taken many lessons learned from our portfolio teams on everything from regulatory strategy to recruiting to bootstrapping communities & liquidity. We’re also constantly building out a bench of vetted vendors who uniquely serve crypto companies / projects, e.g., security audit firms, law firms, market makers, insurance providers, etc. It’s funny to call anything a “best practice” in crypto because of how quickly things evolve, but we do our best to collect those lessons learned in real-time and share them. This also helps teams like Sushi save a ton of time and anxiety re: finding and vetting the right vendors.

  • Visibility / Marketing: We’ve built up an incredible audience over time through our monthly Blockchain Letters, conference calls, and annual Summits. Over 100k+ institutional investors, CEO’s, industry leaders - they’ve all looked to us to help them understand the most important topics / trends in the crypto / blockchain industry and the companies / projects working on them. As Sushi’s product set and narrative expands, we’d help carry that message to new audiences to help Sushi uncover new opportunities and gain visibility.

It’s getting late here and I’m winding down a 20+ hour workday, so will add more to this post as needed and also follow up on specific topics. Hugely appreciate the chance to present our perspective and big props to everyone participating actively in this discussion (0xMaki @SBF @paperhands2 amywu OmakaseBar pegbit) - it’s not a decision to be taken lightly and I’m hopeful that we’ll find the best course forward.

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