a16z crypto – the crypto-focused arm of VC firm Andreesen Horowitz – is leading a $50 million funding round for the VeeFriends Non-Fungible Token (NFT) Project. The funding will help VeeFriends expand its “creative, technical, and experiential operations” to support the growth of the Web 3 ecosystem.
A16z general partner Chris Lyons explained the firm’s interest in VeeFriends in an announcement thread on Thursday.
VeeFriends is an NFT collection launched by Gary Vaynerchuck – a highly popular social media entrepreneur and CEO of VaynerMedia. He regularly produces motivational and business-oriented content for his YouTube audience.
Vaynerchuck has taken a strong interest in web 3 over the past year, creating a stream of educational content about blockchain, NFTs, and why they matter. His VeeFriends collection is meant to leverage web 3 via “meaningful intellectual property and an extraordinary community,” the VeeFriends website
The collection is comprised of childlike hand-drawn animal cartoons based on “meaningful attributes” like tolerance, patience, and authenticity. These are traits that Vaynerhcuk frequently advocates for in his regular content.
“VeeFriends NFTs are brought to life through motivational storytelling and creative on-chain character development,” said Lyons.
An NFT is a unique digital blockchain token without any equal. Though NFTs are often marketed in collections of hundreds or thousands at a time, each token typically contains attributes that make them slightly different from all others.
Thus, such tokens can be used for creating digital collectibles, or for representing other non-fungible assets. VeeFriends in particular offers holders various utilities, such as providing access to in-person events like VeeCon.
Web 3 Over Bitcoin
A common thread shared between a16z and Vaynerchuck is their relative disinterest in Bitcoin, versus the broader world of blockchain, NFTs, and decentralized apps.
“I kind of dismissed it as because I don’t love finance, I don’t love financial arbitrage. I don’t really understand basic financial concepts,” Vaynerchuck told Yahoo Finance about Bitcoin in November.
By contrast, the value of Ethereum was an immediate click for the entrepreneur. “I was aware that something had happened where people collected something digital,” he said.
Unlike Bitcoin, Ethereum allows for the creation of tokens and other financial assets on-chain, like NFTs. Bitcoin NFTs only exist on sidechains.
In a similar fashion, a16z released a lengthy report in May concerning the adoption of web 3 in 2022, which contained no mention of Bitcoin, yet frequent mention of Ethereum. Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey has slammed the VC firm for taking this approach, preferring to build atop Bitcoin instead.
The Israeli-American businessman and investor started the firm with his spouse Rebekah and CEO Dana Gibber. On May 24, the company announced that it had raised $70 million in its first major funding round led by a16z. The event was made through a combination of traditional venture equity and a private token sale.
Participants included General Catalyst, Samsung Next, Invesco Private Capital, RSE Ventures, Allegory Labs, and the Celo Foundation, according to the announcement.
The startup aims to help companies reduce their carbon footprints by selling tokenized carbon credits on the blockchain. According to the firm, these tokens will then be tradable on major crypto exchanges.
Decarbonizing Through Crypto
Companies can buy carbon credits to offset their emissions and environmental impact. These credits are channeled into other projects that reduce or remove carbon from the atmosphere.
Flowcarbon aims to tap into this growing demand for carbon credits as the world becomes more conscious of emissions and corporations are pressured to do something about them.
These credits will be certified digital assets stored and traded on the blockchain. Additionally, this method facilitates cheaper funding for firms and projects to scale faster. Chief executive Dana Gibber explained:
“Our mission is to provide the financing necessary to scale projects that reduce or remove carbon from the atmosphere, in particular nature-based projects.”
She added that the voluntary carbon market is a “brilliant financial mechanism” that creates a counterbalancing incentive to reforest, revitalize, and protect nature. Arianna Simpson, General Partner at a16z, commented:
“The carbon market is extremely opaque, and we believe demand for offsets is rapidly outpacing the speed at which supply can be increased, especially for nature-based projects,”
She added that the carbon credit market could potentially grow to $50 billion by 2030. Last week, Ripple pledged $100 million to invest in carbon markets in its latest sustainability drive.
GNT Token Sale
Almost half of the funding, $32 million, came from a16z, which is extremely bullish on Web3, and other VC firms, while the remaining $38 million came from the closed-door sale of Flowcarbon’s Goddess Nature Token (GNT). The asset is based on the Celo network, an EVM compatible proof-of-stake layer-1 protocol.
GNT is backed by carbon credits which are pre-certified by industry groups including Verra, Gold Standard, Climate Action Reserve, and the American Carbon Registry, according to Reuters.
The tokens will be sold in bundles that improve liquidity and allow more significant volumes to be traded than in traditional ways such as OTC (over-the-counter).
Featured Image Courtesy of Commercial Observer
Andreessen Horowitz, also known as a16z, has raised $4.5 billion to pour into the cryptocurrency industry via a new fund. Thus, the company’s total funds raised for blockchain-related entities have shot up to $7.6 billion.
- Founded over a decade ago, a16z has become one of the largest venture capital firms with a focus on the cryptocurrency industry, with multiple initiatives launched in the past. One of the most recent included a $2.2 billion fund announced in January this year.
- However, the company took it a step further on May 25 when news broke that it had raised even more funds – $4.5 billion – to allocate in the cryptocurrency ecosystem.
- The firm’s first fund came four years ago, during the notorious bull market, and the latest one comes as the prices have tumbled quite a lot since the November 2021 highs.
- According to Arianna Simpson, a general partner at a16z, these types of unfavorable market conditions provide the “best opportunities.”
“Bear markets are often when the best opportunities come about when people are actually able to focus on building technology rather than getting distracted by short-term price activity.”
- Speaking on what requirements projects have to meet before receiving a16z backing, Simpson added:
“The technical diligence and the other kinds of diligence that we do are a key part of making sure that projects meet our bar. While our pace of investment has been high, we continue to invest really in only the top echelon of founders.”
- The company is also very bullish on Web 3 protocols, as it recently launched such a designated crypto team.
Leading crypto VC firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) released a report offering an annual overview of the current trends and state of the crypto industry. The paper reiterated the firm’s bullish views on Web3, projecting long-term growth ahead of the sector, and weighed in on the dominant position as claimed by Ethereum among layer-one blockchains.
“Web3 is Fairer”
a16z summarized the report into a few observations, mainly on the state of Web3 and Ethereum. The VC giant attributed the recent selloff of the market as a possible sign of a seasonal downturn while maintaining that the crypto-powered Web3 could be one of the best opportunities of the decade.
The company argued that Web3 offers much fairer economic terms than Web2 giants like Meta. According to its data, in 2021, primary sales of Ethereum-based NFTs plus the royalties paid to creators from secondary sales on OpenSea yielded a total of $3.9 billion – four times more than what Meta has rewarded its creators through 2022.
Though YouTube and Spotify paid out respectively $15 billion and $7 billion to their creators as of 2021, the report outlined that each artist on Spotify and each channel on Youtube only received $636 and $2.47. In contrast, by categorizing NFT collections as Web3 creators, the firm said there are a total of 22,400 Web3 creators, and “web3 paid out $174,000 per creator.”
On top of crediting DeFi as a disruptor to the traditional finance industry, a16z also identified blockchain projects like Flowcarbon, Helium, and Spruce as strong candidates for solving significant real-world issues by leveraging the DLT strengths in privacy, transparency, and decentralization.
Ethereum Remains in Dominance but Faces Challenges
Another notable factor, as highlighted in the report, is Ethereum’s lead ahead of other layer-one blockchains like Solana, Fantom, etc. With nearly 4,000 monthly active developers, the second-largest blockchain by market cap has the most builders ahead of its primary competitor Solana which only has around 1,000.
However, the report noted that Ethereum’s emphasis on decentralization over scaling has made other networks more attractive to users with the enticement of lower fees and better performance.
“It’s Still Early“
a16z compared Web3 with the early commercial use of the Internet by analyzing the current size of such users, which is roughly between 7 million to 50 million. It states:
“The internet reached 1 billion users by 2005 – incidentally, right around the time web2 started taking shape amid the founding of future giants such as Facebook and YouTube.”
Seeing blockchain as “a hit product” like PCs and broadband in the 90s and 2000s and mobile phones in the last decade, the firm predicted that there will be “multiple winners” in the race.
Renowned VC firm – Andreessen Horowitz (known as “a16z”) – announced launching a $600 million fund, GAMES FUND ON, dedicated to investing in the gaming industry. It has garnered support from industry leaders, including the founders and cofounders of Roblox, Blizzard, Riot Games, Discord, Twitch, and more, for building the next generation of digital games.
a16z’s Game Endeavors
The leading VC firm a16z said the latest move is based on the belief that games are “driving innovation” across the consumer ecosystem and the “pivotal point” of the next century.
Considering that giants like Fortnite, League of Legends, and Minecraft, are generating billions of dollars in revenue each year, a16z believes the Metaverse powered by game infrastructures and technologies can potentially challenge the $300 billion game industry.
The firm’s release has outlined that the fund will go to promising game studios, consumer companies built around player communities, and infrastructure tools and services vital for upcoming games and the Metaverse. In addition, the fund will help its portfolio companies, from building communities to managing virtual economies, IP licensing and building dev teams.
Seeing GAMES FUND ONE as “nearly a decade in the making,” the VC firm recalled its game endeavors began in the 2010s by backing companies like Zynga and Oculus, stating its firm belief in the industry has only been stronger.
“All of this has cemented our belief that games require a specialized focus–not just in dedicated investing capital, but also in operational prowess that’s as unique and forward-thinking as the games industry itself.”
A New Crypto Research Unit Focused on Web3
Last month, the VC firm created a Web3-focused crypto research team, claiming that such applications can “uncover fresh research challenges that are fundamental to how this technological movement will play out.”
The team saw the lab as a research center dedicated to solving problems in the Web3 space and moving to advance the science and technology of the next generation of the Internet.
As reported by CryptoPotato several months ago, a16z, amongst the leading venture capital companies investing in all sorts of crypto and tech-related projects, raised $9 billion to double down on its involvement in the sector.
The venture capital firm – Andreessen Horowitz – announced it will form a cryptocurrency research unit encompassing various talents from the space. The team’s main goal will be to solve important problems related to the emerging Web3 ecosystem.
a16z’s Next Endeavor
The leading VC firm – Andreessen Horowitz (known as “a16z”) – has been active on the digital asset scene for years now. In a recent blog post, it disclosed a new project in the field – a crypto research team that aims to fix arising issues in the Web3 universe:
“Today, we’re excited to announce the creation of a16z crypto research, a new kind of the multidisciplinary lab that will work closely with our portfolio and others toward solving the important problems in the space and toward advancing the science and technology of the next generation of the Internet.”
The company is a firm believer in Web3, claiming it “has unlocked an extremely rich design space for innovation.” Moreover, Web3 applications are able to “uncover fresh research challenges that are fundamental to how this technological movement will play out,” the organization added.
Tim Roughgarden will be the man spearheading the newly designed unit as Head of Research. Andreessen Horowitz described him as a “brilliant researcher, communicator, and educator who could also assemble and lead a world-class team.” Roughgarden is a computer scientist at Stanford and Columbia and has previously led the development of Algorithmic Game Theory.
Dan Boneh will serve as Senior Research Advisor. He is a distinguished cryptographer and could be of great help to the entire unit with his expertise and knowledge about the world of crypto and Web3.
Apart from them, the team will consist of many other members who have dedicated their careers to the digital asset sector and have made “outstanding contributions to Web3.”
“Both Dan and Tim have made countless contributions to their fields, but great researchers never work alone,” a16z concluded.
Andreessen Horowitz and its Multibillion Funding
Several months ago, the venture capital firm raised $9 billion to double down on its crypto and tech endeavors. Specifically, $1.5 billion of the total amount were designated for a Bio fund, while $5 billion and $2.5 billion were meant to support the Growth Fund and the Venture fund.
“We will continue to invest across the entire spectrum of stages, writing checks as small as $25,000 and up to hundreds of millions of dollars,” the company stated back then.
It is also worth mentioning that the organization’s Co-Founder – Marc Andreessen – is among the strongest proponents of bitcoin. Last year, he described the primary digital asset as a “fundamental technological transformation.”
Yuga Labs, the entity behind one of the most popular non-fungible token (NFT) collections, Bored Ape Yacht Club, is reportedly negotiating financing talks with Andreessen Horowitz, which could potentially value the startup as high as $5 billion.
- According to the Financial Times report on Thursday (February 3, 2022), anonymous people familiar with the matter revealed that the BAYC creators are looking to sell a multi-million dollar stake to investors.
- The unknown sources stated that leading venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) is among the firms that could be involved in the funding round.
- However, neither Yuga Labs nor a16z has made any official comments on the matter. Meanwhile, the deal would bring the startup’s valuation to between $4 billion and $5 billion, according to the FT report.
- But sources with knowledge of the negotiations said, “the terms could still change, and any discussions might not lead to a deal.”
- Bored Ape Yacht Club is a collection of 10,000 unique Bored Ape NFTs, which are digital collectibles built on the Ethereum blockchain. It was launched by a group of anonymous developers and became the most expensive collection in terms of floor price as of January 2022.
- A contributing factor to BAYC’s popularity is the caliber of celebrities who hold such NFTs. Notable names include Tennis star Serena Williams, rap icon Eminem, and popular soccer player Neymar Jr.
- Andreessen Horowitz has also been involved in the cryptocurrency space, investing in several startups. As previously reported by CryptoPotato, the company raised $9 billion to continue injecting funds into the nascent industry.
Andreessen Horowitz – a leading venture capital firm and a prominent investor in the cryptocurrency space – has raised a fresh $9 billion to further its involvement in the growing industry.
- Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) is amongst the leading venture capital companies investing in all sorts of crypto and tech-related projects.
- According to a recent announcement, the firm has raised a fresh $ billion “to invest via our Venture, Growth, and Bio Funds.”
- Out of the total number, $1.5 billion will go to the Bio fund, $5 billion to the Growth Fund, and $2.5 billion to the Venture fund.
… coupled with the $2.2B Crypto Fund and $400M Seed Fund we raised in 2021, we will continue to invest across the entire spectrum of stages, writing checks as small as $25,000 and up to hundreds of millions of dollars. – Reads the announcement.
- The company has been historically bullish on the advent of cryptocurrencies. Its co-founder, Marc Andreessen, stated last year that Bitcoin is fundamental to the technological transformation.
- a16z has been involved in multiple fundings in the industry. Last October, Axie Infinity raised $150 million in a funding round led by the VC firm.
Prominent crypto investor Katie Haun is reportedly planning to raise a whopping $900 million for a pair of cryptocurrency investment funds. This could be a significantly large debut for a new venture capital firm.
Katie Haun’s High Target for First Venture Firm
Haun, who is set to depart as a partner at Andreesen Horowitz (a16z), has high targets for her new venture firm, according to Financial Times. The investor has doubled down on a $300 million early investment fund focusing on cryptocurrency startups, while the other $600 million will be raised for a fund dedicated to larger firms and digital tokens.
The reports also stated that Haun had witnessed strong early demand from high-profile and wealthy investors. Hence, she has set a high goal for the new venture and also intends to start targeting institutions next week. Cryptocurrency startups have emerged as a lucrative area for VCs across the world.
Haun, who was the first female general partner Andreessen Horowitz, announced the departure from the firm in December last year and revealed starting her own venture capital company – KRH. In her four-year stint at the company, Haun managed to raise multiple cryptocurrency-focused funds. Through her new firm, she has already participated in the NFT marketplace OpenSea’s $300 million funding round earlier this week.
FT also reported that Andreessen and KRH will join forces to back founders and projects in the sector and continue the web3 policy program they built this year. Additionally, Haun would help invest the rest of the California-based VC firm’s latest $2.2 billion funds.
VCs and Crypto Startups: 2021 Edition
Businesses focused on cryptocurrency and blockchain technology attracted more than $32 billion in funding from venture capital in 2021 CryptoPotato earlier reported that investments from VCs noted a 450% growth compared to the previous year.
Only a handful of VC investments made their way in 2020 as the market witnessed lows initially. Reports suggest less than $6 billion in investments from venture capitalists that year. However, as crypto startups became massively profitable recently, the trend changed. One of the main contributors was the approval of Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETF) across different parts of the world.
The blockchain analytics platform Nansen raised $75 million via a Series B funding round led by the venture capital firm Accel. The investment will aim to expand the former’s global presence and accelerate the development of innovative product offerings for customers.
Nansen’s Newest Funding Round
The Singapore-based blockchain platform announced the news on its official website. Apart from Accel, the funding round was supported by several other venture capital firms, including Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), GIC, Tiger Global, SCB 10X, and more.
Nansen informed that the investment will fuel the company’s next phase of growth and development. It also intends to add innovative platform features, multichain integrations and expand globally.
The last funding round which Nansen raised was in June this year. The company noted that since then, it had introduced several advancements. Some of them include broader blockchain support from Ethereum and Polygon to Binance Smart Chain (BSC), Fantom, Avalanche, Celo, and Ronin.
Nansen also joined the non-fungible token space and took part in over 18,000 NFT collections. Additionally, the company hired 55 new team members across 28 countries.
“2021 has been an inspirational year for us. We’re grateful for how much our customers love Nansen, and with this latest round, we can serve them even better. In addition, we can now onboard new customer segments that will benefit from market-leading on-chain analytics”, said Alex Svanevik – Co-Founder and CEO at Nansen.
Following the most recent initiative, Nansen is ready to provide global investors with a “world-class product to explore the latest crypto trends and make more informed decisions,” Svanevik assured.
Andrei Brasoveanu – Partner at Accel – predicted that the funding round could provide “huge” opportunities for Nansen. It even has the potential to become “investors’ go-to platform for crypto insights and data.”
Nansen’s Previous Endeavors
At the beginning of October, the data-analytics provider added support for the decentralized smart contracts platform – Fantom Network.
Consequently, Nansen began showing Fantom’s data on its dashboards. Speaking on the matter, Michael Kong – Fantom’s CEO – said:
“Nansen analytics will bring visibility to innovative projects on the network and amplify their successes. We’re excited about the increased usage Nansen will bring to Fantom and the incredible wealth of information that the analytics platform will make available.”
Interestingly, shortly after announcing the news, the native token of Fantom Network – FTM – soared by 30%.