Riva’s Crypto Punk

WWIII Already Exists But This Time It’s a Cultural War and It’s Happening on the Internet

Interview with Riva-Melissa Tez

Danielle Newnham
8 min readNov 12, 2021


Riva-Melissa Tez is one of my favourite people on the internet. She studied Philosophy at UCL before digging deeper into technology and engineering, and starting the Berlin Singularity.

She also co-founded Permutation Ventures — an early stage VC fund which focused on AI startups and, most recently, worked with Jim Keller at Intel as Senior Director for Strategic Technology Initiatives.

At nineteen, Riva-Melissa started Notting Hill toy shop R.S. Currie & Co. She continues to pursue interests in her fields of interest which include philosophy, technology and finance. Here’s her story…

Newnham: Can you tell me about your childhood — what were the events/experiences which shaped you?

Tez: I grew up poor — some years in a homeless shelter with my mother. People like to pity me but I look at my childhood and think of all the stuff I learned and feel immensely grateful, to be honest. Probably some sort of blatant survivor bias happening here…

Getting caught up in the government system while young, particularly the poverty-welfare-housing cycle rooted my distrust of the state. There’s methodology behind keeping the poor poor. Wealthy progressives have no idea.

Newnham: You once wrote, “We live in a world that rests on an assumption that we can fathom what is possible and what is not. Yet history has shown us that the impossible often becomes possible, and that the dreams that seem out of our reach become very real. Everything on this earth, every one of humanity’s achievements is simply a manifestation of how high we have previously aimed. What’s the grandest vision that humanity can aspire to? Well, it starts with how big you are willing to dream.”

…which I thought was equally wonderful and should be read to every student. What’s your view on education and how can we reform it?

Tez: State schools crush individuality because greatness is a threat to social…



Danielle Newnham

Host of Danielle Newnham Podcast — interviews with tech founders and innovators. Writer. Author. Recovering Founder.