Fem3 Voices Volume 5: Natalia

By Alli and Regan

​​About Fem3 Voices

Earlier this year, Newstand published Alli's article, "Fem3." The piece outlined the importance of including women and nonbinary (NB) individuals in building the foundations of Web3. "Fem3'' argued that we all can, and should, commit to onboarding and retaining more diverse talent and voices into this space. That commitment includes uplifting successful women and NB-led projects, work, and perspectives. This series, "Fem3 Voices," aims to do just that.

This interview series highlights the voices of powerful women and NB players in the web3 ecosystem. Each interview will be recorded on Twitter Spaces and accompanied by a subsequent article on Alli and Regan's mirror pages.

Most recently, we met with Natalia, the founder and CEO of Koop.

Natalia’s Web3 Journey

Like many of us, Natalia got into crypto during the Covid-19 pandemic. She was a student at USC studying neuroscience and data science and she found herself captivated with those building in the Web3 space. She eventually decided to jump all in and began building with Juicebox Protocol and Shark DAO, and investing in NFTs with friends.

Natalia quickly realized that investing with friends wasn’t a seamless process. She had so many questions about tax obligations, ownership rights, and more. There wasn’t a way to collectively purchase, invest, and build alongside her friends–so they decided to create one for fun. What started out as a fun project by friends quickly turned into an exciting web3 startup: Koop.

What is Koop?

Koop is a platform that enables groups to collect, invest, and build together: “if you have a community that’s run in a crypto-native way, and you’d like to engage your community on-chain… the place to do that is Koop.” Currently, there are few options for multi-signature primitives that communities can use to enable cooperative group production and wealth generation on-chain. As Natalia puts it, there is only one strong multi-signature primitive today (gnosis), and it’s a governance primitive. This is “great for enterprise and business DAOs,” but anecdotally it has been difficult for some DAOs to maintain engagement and voter participation while running their treasuries on top of gnosis. The Koop team doesn’t think this is a problem at the product level, but at the protocol level, so they’re building different multi-signature primitives that can help enable various community frameworks.

When different communities– whether that’s a group of friends, a DAO, etc. launch on Koop, all members of a given “Koop” are granted permissions for particular actions based on an NFT pass they own. These tokenized communities can then leverage shared treasuries, purchase NFTs together, and more. Not only do membership NFTs allow for community members to contribute to different actions, but each pass is also a dynamic NFT: “As you contribute inside of your Koop, if it's just a group of friends investing, if you make strong investments decisions then your membership and NFT is dynamic it will level up at secondary markets and so the more you can contribute the more that your membership has value the more that your “squad” or your “Koop” has value and all of that money from secondary sales or contributions is funneled back into a shared treasury,” allowing members to share in group generated wealth.

Squad Goals

Koop started out as a project that was “just for fun,” as Natalia believes most projects should. As she began to learn more about the space, she relied heavily on her friends and close communities to answer questions, learn together, and more. They’re building Koop as a team not only to contribute something they feel is missing from the ecosystem, but also because they believe (and have experienced) that the “strongest hedge [against being so early in crypto] is community and friendship.”

Many people today feel “more commitment to their digital worlds than their city or state.” Natalia refers to these individuals as “larpers.” She explains, “larpers participate in fictional worlds with a lot more passion than a lot of Americans participate in their local democracies.” A prominent example of this exists in online fandoms like BTS’s “ARMY.” Yet, while the internet has allowed for global connection across communities with shared interest or values, those communities are not hyper-localized: “meaning that the people can’t necessarily come together and form small tribes with individuals who 100% align with their values and then sporadically connect with adjacent tribes” or “vibe under the same types of topics.” Natalia + her friends saw that the infrastructure to allow for such connections was missing. They knew how much they benefited from operating and connecting as a squad, and so they incorporated it into their mission and product at Koop.

Found(h)er things

When Natalia first began her journey in web3, she was active mostly as an anon, and didn’t really notice that there weren’t a lot of women in the space until she started speaking in voice channels on discord and noticed people reacting: “I kept hearing everyone go ‘girl! girl!” and I realized there were far fewer women in the space than I thought.” Although being a woman in the space has come with its challenges, Natalia channels the negative experiences she has had into motivation to work harder: being one of few women founders “just motivates me a ton,” and “it 100% gives you a different perspective in just the user experience of an entire category of the population that other founders or teams may not be thinking about.”

Natalia hopes that her presence as a woman + founder building in web3 can encourage others to do the same. She believes that being a founder doesn’t only mean being a CEO, to Natalia, “a founder is going into a new space and being a leader for individuals. It’s being vulnerable and doing something different and unknown.” Further, Natalia channels her energy into the work she does because she wants it to be really valuable, and she wants to be able to empower women + founders at a larger scale in the future: “if Koop let’s say has a token that is valuable one day I would want to redirect all the value to encouraging and bringing in other young women or founders into the space.”

Natalia’s words of wisdom

Natalia got her start in web3 reading about zero-knowledge proofs and cold DM-ing core contributors or more experienced researchers and builders involved with Starkware when she felt stuck. Eventually, she got added to a small group chat for contributors and researchers which was shocking to her: “in my eyes I was like I'm a nobody, I’m just curious and learning and now because of that curiosity I’m in this ‘room’ with all these researchers and mathematicians and computer scientists who I never would have been exposed to if I didn’t just give it a shot.” Natalia says her own journey is proof that “you never know how close you are to being in ‘that room,’ so even though it might seem aimless at the time, you should keep following aimlessly into the areas you are interested in” because like her, “you know more than you think you do.”

Flying the Koop (closing) ;)

Natalia still spends “probably 80% of [her] day just learning,” self-teaching, and tackling the challenges of being a founder. She feels “so lucky to work on something that [she’s] really passionate about,” and can’t wait for all the exciting innovation and updates coming soon to Koop. The platform now has over 250 “Koops” and is focusing on launching a new and updated version of the platform next month. The team is currently working on expanding their dynamic NFTs, and building tools to make Koop more social and mobile too.

Natalia is a powerhouse founder, and the team of friends at Koop has lots of exciting tooling + features in store. Make sure you follow them for the latest updates, and learn more about Koop here.

Alli is the Director of Education of Events at Variant Fund, a first-check crypto fund investing in the ownership economy.

Regan just graduated from USC and now is joining Opyn as an Associate of Community & Research

If you have suggestions for future interviewees, feedback, questions, etc. please DM us!

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