Joining Variant: Alana Levin

My journey into crypto and why it was time to go all-in at Variant

I am excited to announce that I have joined Variant as an Investment Partner focused on infrastructure. I’ll be working alongside Jesse, Spencer, Li, Medha, Derek, Geoff, Mason, the rest of the team, and our incredible portfolio companies.

My journey into crypto was somewhat serendipitous. It was senior year of college and the middle of the pandemic; campus was basically shut down, so I turned to online platforms as a way to stay connected. Through writing online and joining Twitter, I found the crypto community. As I became more involved, my writing became progressively more focused on crypto. Topics ranged from Bowie Bonds as early creator tokens and Dunbar’s Numbers for DAOs to novel token mechanics and dynamic governance structures. The more I wrote, the more connected I became. And as I got to know the community better, the more I wanted to write. I was hooked.

During that time, I also started working as a consultant at Boston Consulting Group where I worked exclusively in the private equity diligence group (and yes, that was by choice). My goal was to learn as much as possible about as many industries and business models as possible, from as many perspectives as I could. Juxtaposing my weekdays scrutinizing more mature, cash-flow generative businesses with my weekends (and frequently early mornings) devoted to studying crypto’s more nascent, innovative models proved invaluable. Many of the connections emerged unexpectedly: a digilience about the stickiness of mainframes and data storage informed my perspective on Arweave; learning about industrial distributors helped me build a mental model for what one version of L2 value accrual may look like. It was an unconventional year and I loved it.

Throughout that time, it also became clear to me that I wanted to work in crypto – it was just a matter of how and when. I’d long known of Variant as an exceptional firm and feel lucky to have spent the past few months getting to know them better. In particular, through spending time with Jesse, I have seen his consistently thoughtful and resourceful approach to supporting founders. It’s evident this approach shines through with the rest of the team: Li’s masterful storytelling of founders’ journeys, Spencer’s weekly data-driven deep dives via OurNetwork, Jesse and Derek co-leading discussions on token strategies, and much more. The team are true partners to the projects they invest in and I can’t wait to get started.

Much of my focus will be on topics related to infrastructure – identifying, investing in, and supporting founders building system architecture designed to help shape the future of how we engage. Although the recent growth in crypto seems exponential, we recognize that the design space remains an open frontier. In particular, I’m excited about token design, novel governance structures & support for public goods, scaling costs, and privacy mechanics.

If you’re working on something within these realms – or even just want to chat about these topics – please reach out. My DMs are open and I’m always available at [email protected].