Three BlackRock analysts have quit their jobs to launch Eterna Capital, a €20m venture capital fund aimed at investing in blockchain projects with an environmental, social and governance (ESG) tilt.
The firm will be headed up by chief executive Andrea Bonaceto, who previously founded recruitment service HiredGrad in 2014, which he headed up for four years until moving into the blockchain space.
He is joined by Asim Ahmad, Mattia Mrvosevic and Nassim Olive, who were all part of BlacRock's institutional client business.
Ahmad will be the firm's portfolio management head while Mrvosevic will head-up research and Olive is chief economist and chief operating officer.
The fund's approach will be to invest in companies harnessing the blockchain technology that are having a positive impact in terms of ESG.
As a rule, the fund will use the United Nations' Sustainability Development Goals as the benchmark, which looks to tackle issues such as gender equality, hunger and education.
"It would be great to marry this disruptive technology with ESG," Bonaceto said. "More and more institutional investors are looking at ESG.
Mrvosevic added: "Blockchain technology has the ability to disrupt most industries around the globe, and we are aiming to be at the forefront of this disruption."
Olive said the move to launch this fund came about after all three were researching initial coin offerings (ICOs) separately at BlackRock and in turn ended up pooling their knowledge together.
He compared the move to blockchain technology to the rise of the internet in 1990s.
"It is time to take a step back and realise what we are passionate about," Olive said. "It was not an easy decision to leave BlackRock but this was such a big opportunity to be in the space.
"We see professional investors coming into this space this year and we want to create a robust structure for people to invest in."
The trio are not the first to leave BlackRock to enter the crypto space, as two fixed income managers Adam Grimsley and Michael Wong teamed up with Nic Niedermowwe to launch Prime Factor Capital, a cryptocurrency hedge fund in January.