Welcome to the first feature of the Web3 founder journey, a series to shed light on the founding stories accelerating the creation of the next generation of the web.
Austin Chaird is the chief product and technology officer at Alpha Impact, a rapidly growing Singapore startup reinventing the way people trade by leveraging the power of communities. Alpha Impact was founded during the Antler cohort in Singapore in 2020 and has raised $3.1M from the likes of Genesis Block Ventures, LuneX Ventures, SMO Capital, and Solidity Ventures.
Antler is on a constant quest to learn more about what it is that drives our founders to be successful and how they make positive change happen. Antler was able to speak with Austin to talk about all things Alpha Impact, its team, and Austin’s journey as a Web3 founder.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
I was born and raised in Australia, where I studied computer science. After graduating, I spent 15 years in corporate investment banking at Macquarie Group at JP Morgan. I wore tens of hats during my time in the corporate world and worked across various technology positions.
After 15 years in the corporate world, I started to feel a bit itchy to do something different. I decided to quit my job and start my first startup. It didn’t work out, but I learned a ton about how startups work. I was soon again into entrepreneurship and joined Antler Singapore in 2020 with a pre-existing idea that later became Alpha Impact.
I have always been fascinated by how things work. My dad was a computer programmer (he is retired now), meaning that we had access to computers. We had one of the first Apple computers and later bought the IBM 286, 486 and Pentium. I loved playing games and taught myself to do some basic programming. This interest developed into a passion and drove me to study computer science in college.
I started out trying to hack games by giving myself infinite lives or unique weapons. However, during college, I got together with five of my friends, and we started a consulting startup helping companies build websites. Nobody had a website back then, and it was a fantastic learning experience.
I have been interested in crypto since 2017, and my colleagues used to talk about Bitcoin when the price was around $1000. I started to dip my feet in the water by buying Bitcoin and Ethereum and getting familiar with the terminology. This endeavor fueled my interest in crypto, and I started to dive deep into the rabbit hole. I began spending time on Youtube and Twitter learning everything about the underlying technologies.
My lens is more of a developer. For example, I believe the trend is accelerated by the tons of new tools that allow us to interact with the Blockchain, known as Layer 2 solutions, which are pivotal for developing this new industry. In short, everything that touches and allows us to interact with the Blockchain falls into the Web3 category for me.
I believe Web3 will enable the full potential of the public Blockchain. The Blockchain is permissionless, trustless and decentralized, all properties that Web3 will support further. A concrete use case is decentralized finance. More concretely, exchange assets without any permission, like Uniswap. I believe that the future will bring more of these permissionless transactions taking place, giving the control back into the hands of the people.
During my time learning about crypto, I got interested in trading. I noticed that it was challenging for new people to get into crypto. It was hard to find a trusted source of information through all noise. Moreover, people lacked the incentives to share their research beyond their core social circles. I didnt see the point of sharing everything that I spent hundreds of hours learning about. I wanted to solve these two problems, leading to the creation of Alpha Impact.
Obtaining legitimate information about crypto investing is challenging. Alpha Impact tries to solve this problem by introducing transparency into the process. We focus on online communities, and everyone on our platform has the option to attach their live exchange account and be completely transparent about their past performance, what they are holding, what trades they do, and the return on investment.
Be cautious about where you obtain information. Try to absorb everything, but at the same time, take everything with a grain of salt. I would start understanding the Layer 1 solutions and the famous trilemma. Then, I would move to the Layer 2 solutions and understand what problems they are solving and how they are solving them. After that, you can decide if you want to go more into the developer path and build blockchain applications or more a business path trying to understand how everything is tied together.
It depends on how tech-savvy the founders are. If you don’t know where to start, I would personally look more into NFTs as they don’t require much technical knowledge to start. I would try to start as simple as possible and discover new use cases as you progress further into the rabbit hole. In any case, there are so many roads still to be discovered in this exciting industry.