Over the last 6 months, we have seen a significant increase in the number of people interested in cryptocurrencies. With Amazon exploring ways to accept crypto as payments, and Tesla already accepting Bitcoin in February, has drawn even more attention to a rapidly rising industry. One particularly young entrepreneur is Viktoria Fox, who famously founded Polaris Capital, a multimillion dollar cryptocurrency mining company without any venture capital funding. Entrepreneurs who are self-made, otherwise known as “bootstrapping” their way to success are quite rare. Bootstrapping is the minimalistic business approach to starting a company, characterized by extreme sparseness and simplicity. Typically, they’ll take an idea, apply their talent with little or no starting capital from investors. It takes great dedication, work ethic, and pure moxy to achieve success this way. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started building computers in Jobs’ parents garage back in the 1970’s. Jobs and Wozniak are among the great entrepreneurs who bootstrapped their way to success.
Fox grew up in an upper middle class Los Angeles neighborhood, away from the glittering lights of Hollywood. But her life was far from being picture perfect and she endured numerous hardships that would one day set her up for the title of CEO. The family was dominated by an abusive and alcoholic father. She, her mother, and brothers were often beaten and starved. Police were always called to their house because of concerned neighbors. A former general, her father would often bring his militant style to the home. Fox states “He was the kind of person where if something went wrong, we would end up getting beaten or forced to do hours of physical labor. He was a coward and bully. My brothers and I were so good at sports because it was the only time we were allowed to be free from home. We made varsity in every sport we tried out for”.
One night, her eldest brother had enough and attacked her father severely enough to “scare him”. That would be the last time they ever got abused again, however, the father wanted to kick her brother out as soon as he turned 18. That date was looming and their mother finally had the courage to divorce him after 21 years. This put the family under severe stress as her mother had always spent the majority of her life supporting her husband’s career and taking care of the children. It was a challenge to re-enter the workforce after being gone for over a decade. “’I devoted most of my life to raising my children, so I could not afford to buy a home after the divorce”. While her mother received a considerable sum by most standards, it meant Fox and her brothers had to grow up quickly. “We literally had to change our lifestyle overnight, and for teenagers, that was really tough”.
One night while watching Netflix’s “Weeds” with her boyfriend, who was a well known drug dealer in the area, received a call from rapper Snoop Dogg’s assistant. “He wants six pounds of your finest top shelf in the next hour”. Her boyfriend was already an avid fan yelled in excitement “Holy f*ck we’re gonna meet Snoop right now!”. Fox was initially confused and did not want to go and meet the Rap legend. “There was something sketch about a $28,000 weed transaction”. Eventually he convinced her that it was safe and they headed to Snoop’s penthouse on Sunset Boulevard. “It was so surreal. He was very tall and much frailer than I was expecting. For such a luxury complex, I thought the place was a mess, there were clothes and video games all over the floor”. Fox immediately called her brothers about the encounter after coming home. It was at this moment they all decided to take a gamble into the legal cannabis business. Using her boyfriend’s connections, and a $400,000 loan from her mother, Fox was able to successfully parlay this event into what would become a multimillion dollar enterprise. Her family opened 3 retail dispensaries in the Los Angeles and SF Bay Area. “It was an extremely rough start to be honest,” Fox said, describing the initial steps of breaking into the business. “Everything was grey. We had to balance indefinite local and state laws, hire an army of lawyers, deal with landlords who blackmailed, and issues with security. Dispensaries were all nonprofit at the time, so there was never any clear oversight; everyone was self regulated”. Even with all the obstacles they faced, Fox persevered. “I never took anything for granted. For me, every struggle, every challenge was an opportunity”. As her family’s weed empire was exploding, so was California’s transition into the recreational market. “We received a ton of offers from corporate America wanting to buy us out. Everyone from Silicon Valley tech companies, to real estate firms wanted a piece of the action. It felt like everyone was trying to get in the 420 biz”. Eventually, Fox was presented with an offer that was too good to pass, and her family reached an 8-figure deal to sell 100% of their interest to a New York based company.
Fox quickly learned that living off a pile of money, and semi-retirement status was not all it’s cracked up to be. “I never felt so bored and unfulfilled than ever before. When we sold our business, I thought we had achieved our dreams, but then you realize that part of that dream includes wanting something to look forward to every morning, challenging yourself, while improving the lives of others. I missed working with staff on projects and creating”. While Fox was still trying to figure out the next phase of her career, her brothers Sacha Nemcov, and Xak Puckett were already making it big in the cryptocurrency space. They had used their fortune from the marijuana industry to invest in crypto, eventually creating their own startups. “They say it takes money to make money. I could not help but take notice that my brothers were rubbing shoulders with the likes of Robert Herjavec and Mark Zuckerberg, while I was in the yoga studio sipping on a Kale smoothie”. In an effort to get her introduced into the industry, they took her to a Bitcoin ATM machine to show her how this new technology will become the future of money. Fox inserted $250 cash and purchased her first Bitcoin. “I didn’t know what to do with it at first. Did I really just hand over all that cash for a receipt with a bunch of useless numbers on it?”. In an effort to boost interest, the brothers set up an account for her on the popular trading platform Coinbase. “In the beginning I would just send and receive small amounts of Bitcoin with friends for fun. As I got comfortable transacting, I could really see the real world applications. Fox began expanding her portfolio to include other altcoins such as Ethereum, Cardano, and Dogecoin. “I was shocked because every single coin’s price went up! While my stock portfolio was static, my crypto portfolio was pure excitement!”. Fox followed the footsteps of her brothers, and founded Polaris Capital, which launched in 2016 without any investor funding. The company invests in up and coming crypto technologies that have the potential to “disrupt” the space. “My journey as an entrepreneur has always been about taking risks and challenging the status quo. I’m fortunate that my company’s model also reflects this”.
In addition to the crypto space, Fox is a fashion model who’s worked with major labels including Versace, Louis Vuitton, Mercedes-Benz, L’Oreal, Jovani, hiTechMODA, Marc Defang, Chinese Laundry, Victoria Duke Beauty (Carol Casal), Scott Barnes Cosmetics, Dressup With Us, and Miss USA. She is booked for New York Fashion Week (NYFW) this Fall, ready to chronicle her adventures on and off the runway through her Instagram and Facebook. Media sources peg her current net worth at $33 million (USD).