Cédric Waldburger is the Founder and General Partner of Tomahawk.VC, an early-stage venture capital firm investing in global-first companies. Prior to this, he has been an angel investor in a range of companies and has built companies in the agency, consumer and blockchain sectors. Most recently, he co-founded DFINITY, a Silicon Valley unicorn.
Cédric Waldburger graduated from the public research university, ETH Zurich, in 2010. He then worked as a consultant and started a range of companies.
The entrepreneur turned VC started his first business venture when he was 14. It was an agency business and it was at a time in the early 2000s when everyone felt like they needed a website, but didn’t really know why. Waldburger and a friend saw this as an opportunity and started building websites for family, friends, and the local community.
Waldburger was first introduced to Bitcoin, and the concept of blockchain, when he was working for a company called SumUp. SumUp is a payments company that allows users to receive payments through a phone.
According to Walburger some of his colleagues were, “fans of bitcoin from the very beginning.” Some of them went to work on Ethereum. “I remember my colleague Gustav sometimes asked me if he can use my laptop over lunch to mine some bitcoins,” Walburger said. “This was when it was still possible to do so with a MacBook Pro.”
The serial entrepreneur stayed connected to the space, and when he started to look into angel investing, in 2014, he wanted to invest in blockchain-based companies. However, he couldn’t find companies that he perceived as fit for investment.
Continuing on his journey of staying involved in the crypto space, he was introduced to Dominic Williams and Tom Ding in 2016, the two founders who were working on a blockchain idea that became DFINITY.
DFINITY is a Silicon Valley-based company, building a public decentralized cloud computing resource. The company has raised over US$150M from leading VCs including Andreessen Horowitz, Village Global, SV Angel, Polychain and Multicoin Capital.
Waldburger was asked to help set up the foundation for DFINITY in Switzerland. He stated, “I really liked the idea plus I was fascinated with Dominic’s technical innovations which he had uncovered in the space,” he said.
Waldburger was also involved when DFINITY conducted an initial coin offering (ICO), in early 2017. Reflecting on the event, Waldburger states that they were very conservative in the amount of money raised via the ICO, when compared to other projects raising money in 2017.
To restrict the amount of money invested in the ICO, the DFINITY team implemented a mechanism that would let it run no longer than 24 hours after the first million Swiss Franc had been raised. The first million was raised in the first 75 minutes of the sale. The company raised 3.9M CHF in less than 48 hours.
After leaving DFINITY in 2019 Waldburger decided to focus on being a full-time investor. When asked what led him to angel investing he stated that it was “my curiosity to learn about how to build young startups and create an environment with process and systems that can make them successful early on.”
Waldburger recently launched his new venture capital firm called Tomahawk VC, which is focussed on global first companies, and not specifically crypto. The VC has a keen interest in remote work, as according to him, there is “a much larger talent pool when you hire remotely, meaning you can basically hire from anywhere, or at least a few different timezones.”
He believes that COVID has rapidly accelerated the movement to remote work, as most corporates and companies had to evolve to allow this for their employees. “I believe that’s definitely something that is going to stick, I think there is going to be a lot more work from home policies, there is going to be a lot more opportunities to work from anywhere.”
Keeping this belief in mind, one of Waldburger’s and Tomahawk VC’s latest investments has been in a company called Lano. Lano is a dashboard for companies to manage their freelance workforce.
“We invested in them because obviously we think that in the future there are going to be a lot more freelancers and companies will get used to working with a more distributed and more freelancer based workforce and Lano fits right into that vision,” stated Waldburger.
However, finding employees for a remote working position can be tricky. According to Waldburger, approximately 90% of applicants are not diligent enough to read an entire job listing. He has added the following sentence to the end of his listings, “Hey, if you are really interested in this job then start your application with exactly this sentence: Hey Cedric, I am the marketing rockstar you’re looking for.” Only 10-15% of applicants that applied for those jobs included the sentence.