Crypto funding: A16z bets on blockchain infrastructure
The tech VC participated in rounds for two infrastructure projects that went through a16z’s crypto startup school this summer
Suriyawut Suriya/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks
This week, venture fund a16z joined two crypto funding rounds. This follows recent reports from Axios indicating a delay in Andreessen’s upcoming crypto investment initiatives to 2025.
Both rounds centered on blockchain infrastructure ventures.
A16z led a $4.2 million seed round for Pimlico, an infrastructure product working to let wallet developers abstract away parts of the payment process. In a blog post announcing the raise, a16z general partner Sriram Krishnan said Pimlico CEO Kristof Gazso participated in the venture firm’s crypto startup school in Los Angeles.
“By the end of Crypto Startup School, we were convinced that no one was better equipped to build the supporting infrastructure for account abstraction than Kristof,” Krishnan wrote.
The use of Pimlico’s form of account abstraction has increased for four straight months, according to data from 1confirmation general partner Richard Chen.
A16z also participated in a $5.5 million seed round for the developer tool Stackr.
The Stackr investment came from a16z’s 2023 crypto startup school.
These two investments mark a16z crypto’s return to backing blockchain infrastructure startups. Their last similar move was in LayerZero’s $120 million round in April, according to CryptoRank. Meanwhile, Lightspeed Faction announced its $285 million crypto venture fund this week, telling Blockworks that Faction is primarily interested in infrastructure and protocol level projects.
Decentralized AI project lands $25 million
The decentralized AI project Ritual secured $25 million in seed funding, Blockworks previously reported. The round was led by Archetype with participation from Accomplice and Robot Ventures.
In a blog post announcing the fundraise and the company, Ritual highlighted that the crypto space is already working to address key challenges for AI startups, such as centralized APIs, closed-source code and high computational costs.
Ritual hopes to launch its platform in early 2024 with a focus on letting AI preserve transparency and privacy. The project is advised by the founders of NEAR Protocol and Eigenlayer.
Ritual’s raise comes the same week as OpenAI’s DevDay conference and shortly after X debuted its own chatbot, Grok.
Other notable fundraises
- The governance tooling platform Llama raised $6 million from Founders Fund and Electric Capital to develop its full stack platform that lets governance permissions be doled out more precisely.
Updated Nov. 15, 2023 at 1:00 pm ET: Clarified that a16z’s Stackr investment was only through its crypto startup school.
Don’t miss the next big story – join our free daily newsletter.