Bitcoin and crypto prices are up again, it is ‘Uptober‘ after all, but how’s the funding and VC action going in the space? From where we’re sitting, it looks pretty active again. NYDIG, Uniswap, Improbable and more are all seeing the cash flow.
Let’s start with the largest pile of filthy lucre first, then work our way down.
NYDIG pulls in the huge bucks
Making a headline or two in this arguably very important section of the crypto world this week is NYDIG (New York Digital Investment Group), which has so far raised the very large sum of US$720 million for its Institutional Bitcoin Fund. And that’s according to an SEC filing published last week.
NYDIG has raised the funds from 59 investors, at an average contribution of US$12 million, the firm noted.
Around the same time as this mammoth raise was announced, however, NYDIG also revealed that its CEO, Robert Gutmann, is leaving the company, along with the firm’s president Yan Zhao.
A press release mentions the departures and their replacements, although gives no explanations for the resignations.
Uniswap eyes up to $200m for next round
According to US website TechCrunch, Uniswap Labs – the firm behind, er Uniswap, the biggest decentralised crypto exchange – is looking to raise more than US$100 million in its latest funding round.
“Four unnamed sources familiar with the matter” told TechCrunch that a number of investors, including Polychain and a Singaporean sovereign fund are being canvassed by Uniswap Labs to raise an equity round of US$100 million, or even as much as US$200 million, to give the company a valuation of roughly US$1 billion.
The round will follow Uniswap’s 2020 Series A funding, which raised US$11 million led by the major VC firm a16z with participation from Paradigm among others.
Uniswap recently revealed plans to launch “several new products”, with Uniswap Labs COO Mary-Catherine Lader noting to news outlet Decrypt that one of the offerings will enable the trading of NFTs on the Uniswap DEX from a number of different marketplaces. It’s a feature Uniswap users have been craving for some time.
The exchange’s UNI token has surged about 26% over the past two weeks. Maybe this news has something to do with it.
Improbable, XDC and the Serena Williams-backed Numida
• Improbable, a London-based metaverse-focused startup, is set to close a US$100m raise at a valuation of more than US$3 billion. The Softbank-backed firm is perhaps best known within the crypto space for its building of the metaverse world Otherside for Bored Ape Yacht Club-creator Yuga Labs.
The company has reportedly been seeking to achieve “operating profitability” amid the market decline. Its CEO Herman Narula told the Financial Times recently that the firm is “now a financially sustainable business with a really interesting growth rate because we found product-market fit in a new sector”.
As reported by Decrypt, in 2017 Improbable (which is clearly perfectly named) raised the then-largest funding round ever for a British startup when it raked in US$502 million in a round led by the Japanese multinational investment firm Softbank.
• XDC is another token that’s up more than 20% over the past fortnight. The founders of the “enterprise grade” Ethereum-compatible layer 1 blockchain have reportedly leveraged a portion of their personal token allocations to secure a US$50 million commitment from global alternative investment group LDA Capital Limited.
The aim of the raise, according to XDC, is to “fund new ventures and entities laser-focused on increasing network adoption among retail and institutional participants, jumpstarting on-chain activity and total value locked (TVL), and supporting technological innovation”.
• Tennis great Serena Williams – did you know she had a VC firm? Suppose it’s unsurprising considering her vast wealth and who she’s married to. (That’d be internet entrepreneur and recent crypto venture capitalist Alexis Ohanian.)
Williams’ firm Serena Ventures is leading a US$12.3 million raise for Numida, which is a Uganda-based digital-lending platform with global expansion plans.
Also participating in this funding round were Breega, 4Di Capital, Launch Africa, Soma Capital and Y Combinator.