Ethos Capital is buying a controlling stake in domain registry company Donuts. Donuts recently announced that it was buying Afilias and now it too is being bought.
Ethos Capital is the entity that attempted to acquire PIR, the .org domain name registry.
Ethos Capital described itself at the time of its attempted acquisition as being “firmly rooted in the belief that prosperity can be built and shared with all the stakeholders in our investment ecosystem”. They also presented themselves as being more than your average VC firm and were trying to give the impression that their investments and company ethos had a purpose of some kind. Nora Abusitta-Ouri is still there as “chief purpose officer”.
The relationship between Donuts, Ethos Capital, Abry Partners and ICANN is a little confusing. Essentially Fadi Chehade, like a lot of people, works with people he trusts, so a small group of people followed him to ICANN. He left ICANN back in 2016 and over four years later several of them are involved in either Ethos or Donuts. So Akram Atallah, who was at ICANN, is CEO of Donuts. And there’s a few other familiar faces if you peruse the Ethos site. Chehade was working with Abry before getting involved with Ethos, though his position as co-CEO was only made official back in July of last year.
Abry bought the controlling interest of Donuts back in 2018. At the time the managing partner of Abry Partners was Erik Brooks, who is now the other co-CEO of Ethos.
Does this transaction matter?
I’d say yes and no. Yes in that it shows that there’s money being invested in the space. But no in terms of the day to day. It’s not going to have any tangible impact on anyone who registers domain names or uses them. Two investment companies are moving money and shares around. So it’s really not that exciting at all. Or am I missing something?