Meet the GD1 team - Nawaz Ahmed, General Partner

8.5.2022
GD1 Team


General Partner, Crypto Fund 1

With the ability to hunt down the genius in others, a passion for journeying with early stage crypto founders and revered for his level-headed, pragmatic style, meet Nawaz...

Why venture capital? 

“As an entrepreneur, I’ve been through all of the phases of successfully starting a company - ideating, coming up with a product proposition, executing on that vision, and selling. Doing all of that taught me a lot about startups and the role VC plays in the journey entrepreneurs take. 

Since 2019, I have been an avid angel investor and have used this valuable experience as a way of learning about the VC processes using my own capital. Over the past three years, I have invested in over 15 companies, including US-based, focused on what I know best - early stage crypto. VC is an amazing way to talk to interesting people doing interesting things which is what I’m passionate about. I love discovering the genius in others. It’s there,  if we look for it.”

More importantly, why GD1?

“The people who work at GD1 were what drew me to the company. I got to know John and Vignesh really well and I’m excited about their vision. Within the NZ ecosystem, I have seen their progress and growth first hand and was interested in playing a part in that. Crypto Fund 1 - a vehicle for exploring a brand new concept for VCs in NZ - was a great starting point. They epitomise innovation - the flexibility and ability to try new things - and I haven’t been disappointed. With their backing, I can’t wait to meet and help support the next generation of innovators in this space.” 

What do you do at GD1, 9-5?

“We’re still raising for Crypto Fund 1, so pitching to investors and telling them about the fund and an opportunity to learn more about crypto as an interesting new asset class is a large part of what I do. My time is also spent meeting founders who are leveraging crypto/web3 tech to build new and exciting businesses. Both of these groups of people are inspiring - one for their appetite to learn about the future; the other for their appetite to build it.” 

What makes a good General Partner?

“A good general partner has to be able to raise money; not just invest it. In many ways, a general partner is a founder themselves - building a fund, staying on the track with raising money - the general fund raising journey isn’t unlike a business owner’s trajectory. An ability to build relationships is key - both with founders and investors.” 

What’s your superpower?

“Have you ever heard that ‘to grow yourself; you must know yourself’. I know myself and my strengths and weaknesses well enough to leverage those in a way that works for me.”

What gets you up in the morning?

“Waking up and knowing that today, I get to talk to cool people doing cool stuff - be it crypto or outside of crypto - is why my feet hit the floor. People who are thinking about and building the future inspire me and I love hearing about their vision!”

If you won the lotto, what would you do? 

“I would travel…and then supplement that by investing in great founders around the world.”

What would you say to someone wanting a career in venture capital? 

“There are lots of ways to get into VC. I would advise people to focus on a specific subject within VC or tech and to become an expert at that thing! Once you become an expert, you can leverage your learnings and networks and add value within that arena. Pick a niche, and become the very best you can be within that niche.“ 

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