Funding Wrap: Venture Funding Remains Hot In Down Crypto Market

Variant puts $450 million aside as it looks to invest in early-stage crypto startups in the bear market

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Blockworks exclusive art by axel Rangel

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key takeaways

  • A16z pours $50 million into Gary Vaynerchuk’s latest project
  • Quasar Finance closes $6 million in funding to build on Cosmos

Continued steep volatility in cryptocurrency markets has not dampened the enthusiasm of institutional investors backing promising digital asset-focused startups.

Variant, an early-stage crypto venture firm, raised $450 million across two new funds. Of the total, $300 million is earmarked for an opportunistic fund and the remaining $150 million to investments in early-stage Web3 projects — specifically focusing on DeFi, blockchain infrastructure, Web3 consumer applications and ownership companies. 

The venture firm has previously invested in prominent projects including Uniswap, Polygon and Phantom.  

Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), meanwhile, partnered with Gary Vaynerchuk to lead a $50 million seed round for his latest NFT collection, VeeFriends.

“From launching Wine Library to his success with VaynerX and Vayner Sports, Gary was one of the first entrepreneurs to bring everyone along for the journey through compelling motivational and business-oriented content,” Chris Lyons,16z general partner said in a statement. 

VeeFriends plans to use the capital to fund the growth of its creative, technical and experiential operations and will continue to expand its talent pool in the Web3 space. 

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Cosmos blockchain-based project Quasar Finance closed  $6 million in funding from a range of firms, including Polychain Capital, Blockchain Capital, Figment Capital, Lightshift Capital and Galileo.

The DeFi startup allows strategists and liquidity providers to launch vaults, investors are then able to store their assets in the vaults and receive yields on their investments. Currently, Quasar Finance has nine employees and said that its latest raise will be sufficient to support its operations for the next two and a half years.

“We’re focusing on blockchain build-up and introducing the vault standard to Cosmos,” Valentin Pletnev, CEO and co-founder of Quasar Finance told Blockworks.”The first few years of product development is going to be funded by this [raise].”

Other notable venture rounds this week include:

  • Sweatcoin, a popular Web2 app, raised $13 million from investors including the NEAR Foundation and Jump Capital to expand into Web3.
  • DeFi protocol Aurigami raised a $12 million round from private token sales and initial exchange offerings via KuCoin, Bybit and Impossible Finance. 
  • Center — an open-source technology project launched by founding members of Circle and Coinbase — raised $11 million in a seed round led by Thrive Capital and Founders Fund to build a search index.
  • Space and Time, a decentralized data platform, raised a $10 million seed round led by Framework Ventures.
  • UK-based provider of corporate client verified credentials, Gatenox, closed a $2.5 million Seed round led by C3 VC Fund.

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