Solana’s Macalinao Brothers Launch $100M VC Fund

Dylan and Ian Macalinao of Solana have launched Protagonist, a $100 million venture capital and incubator fund. Last month, CoinDesk reported on the fund’s existence based on regulatory filings.

“Our focus is mostly on emerging blockchains and technologies where we feel that we can add value within those general ecosystems or within those protocols,” said angel investor and Protagonist co-founder George Bousis in an interview with CoinDesk.

Miami-based Protagonist, is looking to make early-stage investments of $1 million to $5 million in 20 to 30 portfolio companies. According to Bousis, the company also has an early opportunities approach that targets prospective high-growth startups and will aim to invest $5 million to $15 million in two to three companies.

The fund’s initial portfolio firms include layer 1 blockchain Aptos, Solana-based non-fungible token (NFT) system Cardinal, and mobile banking platform Cogni.

The Macalinao brothers, well known for the stablecoin trading protocol Saber, co-launched Protagonist with Henry Hurst (co-CEO of fintech business Pipe) and Bousis, who established the digital gift card company Raise and Slide.

The developer group Ship Capital rebranded as Protagonist. Dylan tweeted in September that Ship Capital was “a group of friends building new [decentralized finance] protocols,” not a venture capital firm that invested in projects. On May 23, Ship Capital applied to the Securities and Exchange Commission to alter its name to Protagonist.

“I don’t really see ourselves as a VC in general,” Bousis explained. “I think we see ourselves as a partner and as fellow entrepreneurs that are helping other entrepreneurs build their business.”

“Founders have somewhat of an unfair advantage versus traditional investors because you’re in the network. You’re helping people. You’re mostly an entrepreneur [first], and an investor second.”