Polychain’s #2 exec Ryan Zurrer leaves the firm amid weak 2018 performance

A founding principal at $1 billion crypto-investment fund Polychain Capital is no longer with the firm, The Block has learned. Ryan Zurrer left the firm in recent months and will continue to advise firms including Polkadot, a Polychain-backed blockchain project, in his existing role as a Web3 Foundation Council member.

Since inception, Polychain has been one of crypto’s breakout investment stars. It has received funding from prominent venture capital firms like Andreessen Horowitz and invested intensively in a portfolio of crypto tokens and blockchain companies that resulted in a 2,303% return in 2017, according to the Wall Street Journal. The firm, led by founder CEO Olaf Carlson-Wee, was also later featured in the Fintech 250 list by CB Insights, a tech and data analytics firm.

However, in 2018, the firm encountered a series of setbacks. Prior to Zurrer’s exit, Polychain saw the departure of former #3 Chase Lochmiller earlier this year. Polychain also faced significant performance issues according to a September Wall Street Journalfeature, with the fund reportedly “shed[ding] around 40% of the $800 million it made for clients last year through a combination of investment losses and withdrawals by some of its earliest investors.” A source familiar with Polychain’s business also told The Block a number of limited partners are suing the firm for not delivering on its investment promises. The company’s accounting practice has also spurred suspicion, marking private investments at cost rather than their much reduced current market value, according to multiple investors.

Zurrer joined Polychain in December 2016. He left a considerable footprint as the chief “architect” of the Simple Agreement for Future Tokens (SAFTs) contracts, which promises future rights to unreleased tokens. He also helped oversee the company’s long-only portfolio, making investments based on forecasts of 5-10 years, building Polychain into the biggest crypto fund according to assets under management at its peak.

The Block has learned that Zurrer is also now working closely with Commonwealth Labs, a California-based governance-for-blockchain startup he advised while at Polychain. Zurrer has since reconnected with Commonwealth and has independently helped them secure key contracts, as well as personally investing in the project. 

Zurrer’s departure has not been made public and there is no known replacement.

With contributions from Frank Chaparro.

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Polychain’s #2 exec Ryan Zurrer leaves the firm amid weak 2018 performance written by Isabel Woodford @ https://www.theblockcrypto.com/2018/12/04/polychains-2-exec-ryan-zurrer-leaves-the-firm-amid-weak-2018-performance/ December 4, 2018 Isabel Woodford

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