A Crypto-Educational Disaster involving Olivia Steedman

A Crypto-Educational Disaster
A Crypto-Educational Disaster

Teachers investing in crypto flame FTX has already received a lot of attention.

OPM Wire has discovered, after conducting a thorough Google search, that Teachers’ biggie Olivia Steedman is accountable for the pension fund’s investment in crypto bubble-bursting FTX. This is due to the fact that she is the head of the $8 billion growth investing division Teachers’ Venture Group.

She also contributed a favourable quotation as part of the $420 million Series B funding in October 2021. With 80% confidence, Teachers was the round’s top investor. Alternately, with 99% certainty, Teachers was at least a co-lead investor with venerable VC Sequoia.

This is the kind of probabilistic reporting I developed. In January of this year, teachers made another investment, though not as the lead one. Now, that money has essentially vanished. Teachers’ has verified that the exposure was $95 million USD.

If you need some background, Sam Bankman-Fried, one of the most well-known crypto geniuses, founded FTX, which at one point was the third-largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world. It received funding in January with a $32B valuation. It basically exploded in the previous week.

Since 2002, Olivia Steedman has worked for Teachers. She worked for the “Infrastructure and Natural Resources” division from her start date until April 2019. She unexpectedly rose to the position of Global Head of Teachers’ Venture Group.

I am the first to admit that venture capital is more voodoo than science, but I still believe that having actual VC experience is beneficial. She then founded that organisation, and her initial move was to invest in SpaceX, which was run by the unstable genius Elon Musk. Additionally, I find it puzzling why zero-judgment As recently as September, Teachers CEO Jo Taylor offered positive remarks about FTX, saying:

“Due to the fact that everyone is trading on your platform, the risk profile is probably the lowest you can have.”

​This comes after he had the advantage of being able to watch the various crypto-related explosions this year, including a fellow pension fund, the Caisse, investing in Celsius. And I don’t understand why the CEO of such a sizable organisation makes comments about a specific job that is managed by a subordinate.

With investments ranging from $50 million to $250 million, Teachers’ Venture Group generally acts as the lead investor in series B rounds for growth companies. Teachers announced in April 2022 that it aimed to increase venture assets from their current 3% to 10% of the net assets of the pension plan within a five- to ten-year period.

In addition to their bases in Toronto, London, and Hong Kong, they also want to establish a presence in San Francisco. That reminds me a lot of what John Ruffolo wanted to accomplish at OMERS just before he mysteriously left. As the tech nuclear winter approaches, I anticipate that those plans will be changed.

Olivia repeated the tired phrase about FTX, “pick and shovels”

Importantly, FTX is an exchange and not cryptocurrency itself. To us, opening up the wider crypto markets is more of an infrastructure play than an investment in a specific digital asset, which we haven’t yet done.

The quotes from Olivia Steedman and Jo Taylor show a shocking lack of comprehension of the exposures and structure of their investment. But that might have been the result of the company’s deception or even fraud. Due to its connections to a hedge fund that trades cryptocurrency and its exposure to its own cryptocurrency token, FTX failed.

There were some red flags, such as those in a 2019 lawsuit. Another major cautionary sign is the fact that 99.99% of all cryptocurrency is pure nonsense. Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of FTX, is now frequently referred to as Scam Bankster-Fraud. I have to respect that because I engage in name-calling myself. You are free to skip the lengthy apologia that The Pension Pulse guy, the official propagandist of pension fund people as investment gurus, has already given.

Picking apart the results of a single investment is rarely acceptable as a matter of fundamental intellectual honesty. especially when using a venture strategy, which always involves numerous failures in the quest for enormous profits. Nevertheless, it’s enjoyable. Additionally, it will turn out to be accurate due to adverse selection.

The equivalent of saying “I only stole $20” is to say that FTX was a tiny weight. What matters in terms of principles is what is revealed. She enlisted a “bona fide” VC man whose investment in Instacart is a frequently cited claim to fame to support Olivia. Say it with me: Occasionally finding a nut is not a basis for an investment strategy, not even for a blind squirrel.

In the same way that Sequoia probably shouldn’t try its luck closing oil and petrol deals in Calgary, a dormant Ontario pension fund has no business competing in the world of venture capital. (Or take into account Lowe’s exit from Canada after suffering a $2 billion loss over seven years.)


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