THREE QUESTIONS TO BAPTISTE COTA, FOUNDING PARTNER LEADBLOCK

They are our clients, our friends, good contacts or just people we met. They have a new vision, they are running great projects, they are developing new services or they just want to share their story. Havas Blockchain interview key people of the blockchain and tech ecosystem: if you want to be next, please email us at blockchain@havas.com

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Can you start by presenting yourself?

I am Baptiste Cota, founding partner at LeadBlock Partners. We are a venture capital fund that drives blockchain adoption across sectors by investing in the most promising enterprise blockchain start-ups. We believe blockchain is now heading towards a maturation phase with concrete applications, in the same way, that the early 2000s’ saw the Internet create the businesses we know today.

My role is to find, invest in and support entrepreneurs who leverage blockchain technology as part of their tech stack to solve key challenges for their clients. Far from being an idealist, I believe blockchain investing is not about the power of the tech itself but how it is applied to specific industries.

I have a fundamental investor background having worked in equities research and asset management at Goldman Sachs and Rothschild. My work required deep industry knowledge to forecast trends, study corporate strategies and feed my financial modeling & valuation. These insights, industry expertise and contacts are key to my start-up due diligence process. My top sectors of interest are Utilities, Renewables, Financial Services.

Why did you decide to launch LeadBlock Partners?

I decided to launch LeadBlock Partners as a natural evolution of my investor background and interest in the blockchain space. I started to do more research when blockchain technology went further than payments with smart contracts. The concept of Ethereum’s “world computer” opened up a lot of opportunities. Although I saw potential but I couldn’t get myself to invest in crypto-currencies simply because you cannot derive a fundamental valuation. Therefore I started mining and looking into the start-up space.

Over time, blockchain’s potential for enterprise software became clear to me. With Jean-Marc Puel and David Chreng-Messembourg we decide to see whether on one side there were enough start-ups to invest in and on the other whether corporates were interested to work with them and buy them out. We validated both hypotheses before launching the first enterprise blockchain fund.

I decided to quit Goldman Sachs after coming out of a meeting with the innovation head of a top European company. It was clear to me that there was a gap to fill and we were the right team to do it.

What is your vision of the European Blockchain environment? Its strength, weakness and opportunities?

Opportunities abound in the European Blockchain space for all. Blockchain is a protocol and there are endless opportunities to build applications on top of it. This represents an opportunity for entrepreneurs, incubators, venture studios and angel investors who can get these businesses off the ground and for the VCs which will accompany their growth. Meanwhile large companies through their innovation arm or CVC arm are actively adopting blockchain applications to drive new revenues and lower costs.

The European Blockchain ecosystem needs to continue its awareness work which is being led by entrepreneurs, corporations and government organisations at a national and EU level. Blockchain is still too often confused to be a synonym of cryptocurrencies. Blockchain has a wide array of applications far beyond crypto and far beyond what start-ups and corporations have built to date.

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