IndigiDAO Fund

IndigiDAO Fund

Interview with Liz Gamboa, Co-Director

Jen: How was IndigiDao Created?
Liz: I think we recognized that new blockchain and Web3 technologies offer their users a chance to take sovereignty over their data technologically. This tech also provided an opportunity to exchange goods and services in ways that reflect cultural, ecological, and other community values beyond simply the financial. We work with some amazing, talented individuals who own creative businesses, and are farmers in the Southwest. We see that in creating a DAO, and ultimately a fund, we could create a pathway that would connect them to this technology space. Their representation is needed here. There are a lot of economic values that are not traditional indicators, and part of our work will be to hone in on whether our economic principles work, if they’re measurable, and if they’re investable. The initial idea came from our Program Director and Fund Director with IndigiDAO, Jake Foreman. When I started here almost five years ago, he was already incubating this idea around using the blockchain and would use a physical model he could hold in his hand, and demonstrate what he was describing. At the time the idea wasn’t fully evolved, and now it’s just fascinating to be a part of the evolution of this work.

Jen: How are your investment funds catalytic in a way that is different from other funds?
Liz: The technology centerpiece will use a type of blockchain technology called Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) that improves upon previous member cooperative models to raise and distribute capital, build wealth, and share power. A DAO facilitates collective governance regarding how assets (including funds, data, and more) are pooled and allocated, giving everyone the experience of ownership. A DAO grants its members direct access to shared assets using transparent ledger technology. It also allows each member a direct democratic voice in how the group uses and distributes its assets. It’s like a bank account with shared access, along with a self-defined governing mechanism to structure the members’ collective use of funds. There are two distinguishing features of this pilot. One is the royalty sharing of digital assets. The other is the sharing of regenerative agricultural data.

Jen: How do you describe the kind of non-financial returns the fund offers?
Liz: Our goal is to develop a consent-based technology. Therefore, building capacity and in-depth understanding with participants around DAO and Web3 technology is a key desired outcome of IndigiDAO. Traditionally our communities have utilized collaborative methodologies to facilitate transactions and decision making. We see the IndigiDAO as an equivalent modern technology with the potential to facilitate traditional economic cooperation, re-establish traditional economic pathways, and empower our communities to build wealth via modern day tech. We want this project to support a foundation for future technological sovereignty for Indigenous communities increasing the web of knowing, support, and empowerment in these new technologies.

Jen: Can you describe how you use integrated capital to do your work?
Liz: Centered around the theme of economic sovereignty, we propose to involve and train Indigenous participants on the use of DAO technologies that grant the ability to collectively manage a shared pool of financial and other culturally relevant resources. Integrated capital is provided through this DAO, and we see a system that is beneficial to its members, and one that offers several layers of knowledge, investment, guidance, and capital.

Jen: How do you address racial justice, income inequality, and or gender justice through your products and services?
Liz: A software-defined governance structure will empower the participants with direct control, without involving third parties. This premise is powerful. Enabling direct participation and cultural alignment in the management of shared resources may help counteract and remedy the racism, bias, and systemic barriers that our communities are typically subjected to by financial institutions. The process of defining the DAO’s governance framework will also allow its members to align their cultural knowledge and ethical norms. This will be implemented across 3 project phases: planning, build and launch, learn and adjust.

Jen: Can you share with us an example of an investment?
Liz: Our design goal is to provide an open-ended foundation for governance on day 1, creating the opportunity for IndigiDAO members to build out their preferred governance processes independently. Members will hold tokens which enable them to propose a vote or vote. Each member votes one time and all votes are weighted equally. Once governance is established, the group can change the rules to include a compensation for members that contribute more or the group might decide to weight the votes vs equal votes. Once the group is solidified, and rules determined, the exchange of money, time, services, or investments begins.

Jen: What do you tell people who think your fund is risky?
Liz: On one level, we can mitigate or reduce known risk by ensuring the structure of the DAO is well-conceived and rules are generated by all members of the DAO. The integrity at the time of formation is really important. The risk to the investor may be partially addressed with a larger fund of funds, diversifying the risk, but we recognize the downside is just as large as the potential upside at this stage. We will seek to align this as we get further along. There are several other areas to address in terms of risk which include the regulatory requirements and limitations involving the use of tokens and how they are classified.

Investment Thesis/What is your rationale for your approach to investing?
Centered around the theme of economic sovereignty, we propose to involve and train Indigenous participants on the use of DAO technologies that grant the ability to collectively manage a shared pool of financial and other culturally relevant resources. A software-defined governance structure will empower the participants with direct control, without involving third parties.

Geography: New Mexico/Turtle Island

Year Founded: 2022

# of Investments: 0

# of Investors: 1 (donors, funders, supporters, investors)

Funds Raised: $250,000 since inception

What’s on Liz’s Mind?

Book: I have such a short attention span these days, and instead focus on a handful of tech and finance blogs. I love robust link lists and Abnormal Returns provides a grouped list daily. The last book I read was Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver.

Song: The last two songs I added to my playlist were Brooklyn Basquiat by Danger Mouse and Buy My Product by Water from Your Eyes.

Podcast: I have a one-track mind when it comes to podcasts – it’s all about business! Currently, I’m
catching up with Lenny’s Podcast right now which features tech leaders, founders and mentors/coaches
talking about their lessons in starting or running a business. I’ve learned a lot from this one. I also like
“How I Built This” with Guy Raz and a Barry Ritholtz podcast called Masters in Business. I really should be
more balanced in what I listen to but I’m fascinated by the founder’s story and all the levers that are
pulled in order to build and grow a successful, profitable company.