Throughout his entrepreneurial journey, Rupert Barksfield has unearthed opportunities by looking at the world in terms of problems to be solved. It wasn’t always as high-minded as it sounds. “My first entry into entrepreneurship was selling cigarettes at school,” Barksfield recalls. “I was importing them online from Czechoslovakia and selling them to the cool kids, and then teachers and parents.” The Czech cigarettes were cheaper, so Barksfield did pretty well until he got a hefty tax bill from the UK government. Lesson learned.
As an adult, Barksfield dabbled in the world of rock and roll, touring with a band as a drummer when he discovered a stronger passion: putting on events. He started a festival and then worked for an events company that managed logistics and publicity for U.S. bands touring the UK. That led to a job in corporate events with a company called Brand Fuel, where he was seconded to Google to help promote a little-known product that it had just acquired called Android. “We took Android from 0% market share to about 86% market share in just over three years,” Bakersfield recalls. “And that’s when I learned about hyper-growth businesses and how much I enjoyed anything that grows in a massively volatile environment.”
In 2015, Barksfield started his own agency, FATUnicorn, and worked with high profile clients such as Google, Twitter, Facebook, and Virgin. The company developed specialized software and hardware and, says Barksfield, “we were known as the dream team of tech.” It was when the company was sold that Barksfield was faced with a challenge that ultimately led to his next company. “After selling, there were a couple of financial issues that came along that I realized I was particularly ill-equipped to deal with,” he says. “I didn’t know much about investing or how you’re supposed to financially look out for yourself.”
“The articles I write [through Cointelegraph Innovation Circle] are about helping yourself be more secure, building a business in crypto, raising capital in a bear market. It’s really about helping founders navigate the Web3 landscape.”
His curiosity regarding financial markets brought Barksfield to the world of cryptocurrency and he purchased his first assets in 2016. He began to think about how the financial system could be made better and founded a crypto crowd community called Pynk. “We had a large community of people and they all put in their ideas about how an asset would move,” Barksfield explains. “And we put together a portfolio of the best performing assets together and the community could buy it in one click.” He sold his shares in Pynk to his co-founders in July of 2021 and was on to his next venture, Amulet, the first DeFi (decentralized finance) insurance platform built on the Solana network. The vision is to provide reliable insurance for anyone involved in Web3.
Last year, crypto crime hit $12 billion. “[The industry] made a total of about $24 billion in revenue, so 50% of the revenue we generated was essentially stolen,” says Barksfield. He counts himself among the victims of crypto crime — he had approximately $1,000 worth of NFTs stolen.
Amulet sells policies that protect Web3 investors from crypto crime. “We take invested capital on the front end, put that into the Solana proof of stake validator, and they give you a yield,” explains Barksfield. “We use that yield to pay out claims.” The model serves to better protect the assets of stakers/investors. Amulet mitigates its own risk by filtering out what it deems to be projects that are at high risk of fraud. The company has $6 million in venture funding and has sold approximately 400 policies since its launch in October 2022.
His membership in Cointelegraph Innovation Circle, says Barksfield, is valuable because “it gives me a little bit more credibility and a bit of an edge as a company through being associated with a strong brand.”
A prolific contributor to Expert Panels and an author of by-lined articles, Barksfield uses the publishing opportunity to explore topics that he believes will help other crypto industry entrepreneurs. “There’s an opportunity to get our message out there,” he says. “The articles I write are about helping yourself be more secure, building a business in crypto, raising capital in a bear market. It’s really about helping founders navigate the Web3 landscape.”