Funding Wrap: Startup co-founded by former FTX employees land $17M

Plus, restaking continues to draw investment and Dan Held announces a bitcoin fund

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A startup co-founded by the former FTX general counsel and former head of strategy at FTX.US has raised $17 million in a Series A led by Placeholder VC, with a valuation of $120 million. 

The startup, Backpack, is an exchange and wallet, also home to the popular Solana NFT project MadLads. 

Having previously been backed by FTX Ventures, Backpack was hit badly financially following the collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange.

Read more: MadLads creator Backpack to offer native crypto exchange in Dubai

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The company has turned things around since, with MadLads NFTs’ floor price currently sitting at over $23,000, according to CoinGecko. 

Backpack is not the only company led by former FTX employees that has raised funding as of late, with former FTX.US president Brett Harrison recently securing $12 million for his new derivatives exchange. 

Restaking is still top-of-mind

Restaking protocol ether.fi has received $23 million in a Series A led by Bullish Capital and CoinFund. This will be in addition to the $4 million in SAFE funding it secured late last year.  

This raise follows EigenLayer’s $100 million haul from Andreessen Horowitz, showing that restaking is top of mind for many investors today. 

In addition to ether.fi and EigenLayer, a project called BounceBit, which focuses on bitcoin restaking, has also secured $6 million in funding. 

Other notable fundraises

  • Longtime bitcoiner Dan Held raised a $21 million fund for bitcoin.
  • Avail raised $27 million to address interoperability in a seed funding round led by Founders Fund and Dragonfly.
  • Karma3 Labs secured $4.5 million to build a reputation protocol in a round led by Galaxy Digital and IDEO CoLab Ventures.
  • Payments infrastructure startup Sphere landed $2.8 million in a seed round led by TCG Crypto and Jump Crypto.

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