Meet the Web3 founder making blockchain mainstream
The CEO of Repose has been ahead of the curve in crypto
Olivia Lovenmark, co-founder and CEO of Repose. Photo: supplied.
Olivia Lovenmark is a tastemaker.
I first met Lovenmark in 2009 when we both had fashion blogs and would run into each other at events. Even then she had impeccable taste — so much so that she was selected for brand campaigns and event partnerships, solidifying her place as “one to watch.”
These days, Lovenmark is the founder and CEO of Coupe Beverages, a premium bottled cocktail company, and co-founder and CEO of Repose, a Web3 company building digital social clubs for fashion and beauty creators and brands. Both companies came into existence after she saw gaps in the market.
“I looked at the alcohol market back in 2019 and didn't see anything that I would want to drink,” she told Vancouver Tech Journal. “I like wine, I like scotch, but the ready-to-drink market didn't speak to me specifically. I thought, ‘If I feel that way, there's probably a lot of other women who feel that way [too].’ Repose comes off the back of my career in crypto. I was working most recently for a federally regulated crypto bank through the NFT boom and it really became crystal clear to me that this technology, which is really cool, is being used as a speculative asset. There are so many other things we could be doing with it.”
Though Lovenmark was successful with her fashion writing, she started to feel constrained by the expectations of her website as she found a new interest leading her in a different direction. “After I stopped doing the fashion blog, I started a blog called Bergdorf to Bloomberg because I wanted to get into finance. In 2013, I got my Canadian Securities Course [certification] and started digging into that whole world, watching a lot of documentaries about why the 2008/2009 financial crisis happened. I wanted to understand; I’d thought banks were solid. I started to understand the issues with mass centralization and how when things are that interconnected, it can create problems.”
But then Lovenmark caught the crypto bug. Her interest in finance resulted in her reading about how the Winklevoss twins were looking to launch a Bitcoin ETF. Though she had never heard of the digital currency, she knew the Winklevoss twins had some cachet in the tech industry and decided to educate herself on Bitcoin. In 2016, she left her job at a fashion tech startup to enter the crypto space.
Over the next six years, Lovenmark found herself spending more time in Silicon Valley, continuing her crypto career. She held roles at BitGo, which provides regulated custody and financial services for investors and builders, and most recently at Anchorage Digital, a fintech company. Her hope is that at some point society will be able to move beyond the superficial nature of the industry and focus more on the technology. “I think the tech is really interesting,” she says. “I think that it could have massive benefits and implications for all sorts of businesses and industries, especially around ownership — I definitely believe in the autonomy of the user.”
Lovenmark built Dutchess Cocktails, the product line behind Coupe Beverages, over the past two-and-a-half years, bootstrapping while also continuing to work full-time in crypto. It wasn’t until August 2022, when she left her nine-to-five to start Repose, that she made the leap to focus solely on her business. From her fashion blog to other short-lived ventures, it seems as though Lovenmark has always had a founders’ bent.
“I think I've always had an entrepreneurial spirit,” she says of the shift, “and now I'm highly motivated by a desire to see things are different; to see products and services reflect the diversity of our world and not a singular perspective. This is extremely compelling to me. There's a significant opportunity to create and reach audiences who haven't been catered to before.”
Repose co-founders Martha Staus (left) and Olivia Lovenmark (right). Photo: supplied.
Repose fits this bill. The platform launched its beta earlier this year and is looking to raise a pre-seed round in the near future. Focusing primarily on women in the beauty and fashion industries, Lovenmark sees this as an untapped market. Creators in these industries lean towards an overall brand “look and feel”, especially on social media platforms like Instagram where many have developed photography “presets” to use on their pages to create a specific aesthetic, but also to sell to followers. Further, with the increase of paywalled content – such as Substacks, and more recently Instagram – there existed an opportunity to provide creators with a more visually appealing platform that provides better engagement opportunities.
Interestingly, Lovenmark and her co-founder, Martha Staus, have built Web3 technology into Repose, but to them it’s not a selling feature. At least not yet. “We just feel like there's going to be an inflection point where the mainstream starts to understand the values of Web3,” Lovenmark says, “but doesn't care about the term Web3, and we're working towards that.”
The thing about a tastemaker is that you don’t always know how they’re influencing your life. One day Web3 will be mainstream, and Repose clients will be ahead of the curve – all because Olivia Lovenmark made the decision to sneak it into their lives.