We’re coming on a year since the collapse of what was once venture capitalists’ favorite crypto exchange: FTX. And now, in just two weeks time, the criminal trial of infamous crypto founder Sam Bankman-Fried will commence in New York, where jurors will hear about the most spectacular startup collapse in history, and decide how much its founder, SBF, is to blame.
Bankman-Fried is being charged with seven counts of fraud and money laundering. He has pled not guilty on all counts and has been awaiting trial from the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn (no longer from his parents’ home on the Stanford University campus), after a judge revoked his bail in August on the grounds SBF was allegedly trying to tamper with witnesses.
We at Term Sheet plan to follow along, as the trial is set to have deep ramifications across the venture capital world. Not only are high-profile criminal cases against startup founders exceedingly rare, the FTX explosion has had massive reach—spanning political figures, Stanford University, and some of Silicon Valley’s most prominent investors. The explosion of FTX, once valued collectively at $40 billion between its U.S. and international operations, makes the demise of Theranos (worth $10 billion at its peak) look like peanuts. Not to mention, Theranos didn’t have many traditional venture investors, while FTX was one of the purest examples of a venture-built company gone wrong, throwing Sequoia Capital’s due diligence process and the glowing profile it had published on SBF into a rather harsh light.
My colleagues over at Fortune Crypto have been following this whole debacle rather closely (so much so that one of our crypto reporters, Ben Weiss, even built a Slack bot that automatically spits out alerts every time a new document is filed in Bankman-Fried’s criminal case file). As we get closer to the trial, I’ll be chatting with some of those colleagues, like Leo Schwartz, who plans to be a regular at the courthouse. If you want a daily play-by-play, I’d encourage you to sign up for Jeff John Roberts’ daily Fortune Crypto newsletter (you can do so here), and to subscribe to get all of Schwartz’s stories daily in your inbox here.
In the meantime, I pulled together some of the recent important happenings leading up to the SBF trial written by our Fortune Crypto team that you may have missed:
-In August, Judge Lewis Kaplan revoked SBF’s bail after the Justice Department accused Bankman-Fried of tampering with witnesses. That followed a story written by the New York Times that published information from leaked private Google documents.
-Since Bankman-Fried arrived at the Metropolitan Detention Center, he has lost his unlimited access to lawyers, and he says that the spotty internet access has made it difficult to review millions of pages of electronic discovery that can be used in his case. His lawyers have argued that this has hindered his ability to prepare for his defense.
-Both the prosecution and defense will examine jurors for bias before the trial starts on Oct. 3, and they’ll be looking for bias. SBF’s lawyers are looking to screen for bias against crypto or effective altruism.
-Bankman-Fried is planning to have various expert witnesses come testify in the case, though SBF has said he only has $100,000 in his bank account. The bankruptcy estate for FTX has alleged that Bankman-Fried is using FTX customer funds to pay for his criminal defense bills.
-The Department of Justice is planning to use notes and to-do lists from SBF’s onetime girlfriend and former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison, in their case against Bankman-Fried.
KVYO hits the NYSE…Market automation startup Klaviyo, backed by Shopify, Accel and Summit Partners, listed its shares on the New York Stock Exchange yesterday, rising 9.2% to $32.70 by market close. Just like Instacart, Klaviyo had priced its shares at $30 each prior to trading day, which valued the company at approximately $9 billion. Klaviyo was valued at $9.5 billion in its last fundraise in 2021.
See you tomorrow,
Joe Abrams curated the deals section of today’s newsletter.