Our next Women in Crypto feature is a partner at Dragonfly Capital, an investment firm supporting leading participants in the decentralized economy. Before her role at Dragonfly, Mia Deng was the Head of Business Development of the Amber Group, a crypto finance firm. Mia worked as a product manager of the world’s first and largest stationless bike-sharing system, Mobike, and co-founded her alma mater, Wesleyan University‘s first and largest film production house, Cardinal Pictures. At Cred, we are proud to highlight innovative and pioneering people and feel Mia Deng is no exception. We sat down with Mia to discuss her background, interest in the crypto industry, and where she thinks blockchain is headed.
Born in Beijing, Mia moved to the United States when she was 16. A graduate of Wesleyan University, Mia began her career as a product Manager for Mobike, a bike-sharing system. Thanks to a bike-share boom in 2017, Mia managed products used by 10’s of millions of people across China. “Capital formation,” Mia notes, is an essential part of a successful business.
Following Mobike, Mia joined Amber Group as an early founding member and worked her way into the Head of Business Development. She grew the BD department from scratch and witnessed the company grow from six founding partners to now 150+ employees. As a current partner at Dragonfly Capital, Mia not only invests in “rocketships” or startups proliferating toward a successful exit, she acts as an international bridge between the United States, Europe, and Asia. Noting, she finds it particularly interesting how different cultures interact with each other.
Looking back on her international working experience, Mia notes the fascination of witnessing China’s evolution from mimicking internet business models to leading their ways of innovation. She points out this is especially evident in the crypto industry.
What do you think makes crypto investing different from a regular venture?
One factor in crypto investing that differs from a regular venture is the liquidity aspect; crypto is a liquid venture. With a venture investment, you can view it as a trading opportunity, while with crypto, you take a long term approach and let time accrue value. When thinking about a go-to-market plan, the globalized aspect of crypto investing is attractive. The global ecosystem is tightly connected, and at Dragonfly, a strong focus is on the balance between leveraging information and the worldwide network.
Where do you see the blockchain/ crypto industry headed in the next year?
We see a lot of market craze and hype around DeFi and liquidity mining. Channeling my product management expertise, this can be an excellent opportunity growth for hacking with DeFi protocols. Centralized exchange platforms are merging with DeFi protocols, and from that, we see the rise of “super platforms.” A good example is Meituan, a group-buying website specializing in localized consumer services, offering consumers a one-stop-shop for all lifestyle needs. Customers can book a taxi, use food delivery services, and even book a hotel through one platform. Notably, WeChat began as a messaging platform and extended its services into payments and lifestyle needs.
CeFi and DeFi are merging. When DeFi protocols have ripple effects in the industry, the crypto community is excited and cross the firewall to understand the DeFi ecosystem. Historically, decentralized platforms have been a good contact as a distribution channel, and it is a trend that we can see continuing.
What advice do you have for females looking to break into crypto VC?
Crypto is multidisciplinary. Beyond finance, it entails collecting ideals and understanding the structural shifts in generation and society, and investing in things that allow humans to interact with each other without trust. Ultimately, it’s an intellectual pursuit, and being a VC in crypto is vetting and seeking truth alongside entrepreneurs. Crypto VC is a full-time investment, but if you fundamentally believe in its benefits, reach out to other female investors and VC’s in general to get a better understanding of the landscape. She256, is an online hub working to connect other females in the space, and there is a good chance you’ll be able to connect with female mentors.
Aside from her extensive work fostering the growth of promising blockchain companies on a global scale, Mia devotes her time towards volunteer efforts. She currently works with Wesleyan University as an Advisor at Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship.