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Cypto investor 1RT weighs the SPAC path

Jan 16, 2024
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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Growth-stage crypto investor 1RoundTable Partners is weighing the creation of SPACs to take some of its associated companies public, managing partner Dan Tapiero tells Axios.

Why it matters: Crypto and SPACs have been under intense scrutiny, with the crossover of the two universes becoming a recipe for rejection in the regulatory books.

Yes, but: Recent regulatory wins in crypto — including the approval of the Spot Bitcoin ETFs — has helped rekindle Tapiero's optimism for the product.

Details: "I'm hoping that the fact that the ETF just passed is a good sign for us," says Tapiero, who says the firm will probably decide this year whether to pull the SPAC trigger.

  • Tapiero sees crypto infrastructure companies — those that don't directly touch the buying and selling of the asset — as facing fewer regulatory hurdles.

Background: Stock-trading company Apex Fintech originally planned to go public in a 2021 SPAC merger but struggled to complete the deal due to concerns from the SEC over its crypto business.

  • It later sold that business to Bakkt and recently filed confidentially for an IPO.
  • Other crypto companies — including Bullish, eToro, and Circle — also pulled their SPACs following a long review period.

Context: Tapiero launched growth-stage crypto investing firm 10T in 2020, with $750 million for its first fund. It would raise two more before putting an end to fundraising.

  • Last year, Tapiero formed 1RT with some 10T employees as well as new roster partners, including Dubilier & Co. founder Michael Dubilier.
  • 10T is backed by Alan Howard. Its other investments include Gemini, Figure, and Kraken.
  • Tapiero has not yet notched an exit at the two firms, though he has come close with portfolio companies Circle and eToro.

What they're saying: Tapiero notes that 1RT has investors familiar with the SPAC process in its roster. Partner Tad Smith, former Sotheby's CEO, was a Capitol Investment Corp. V. board member.

Bottom line: Crypto companies are eyeing the exit again.

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