Top investment deals across the crypto sector over the last week (Sept. 10–16, 2022):
VC firm Bloccelerate is raising $100 million for its second crypto-focused fund
Venture capital firm Bloccelerate is looking to raise $100 million for its second fund, according to a filing with the US SEC on Sept. 9. The Bloccelerate VC Fund II has already raised $20 million from 26 investors since the fund opened on Aug. 25. While only one-fifth of the target, the amount already surpasses the firm’s $12 million inaugural fund in late 2020.
NEAR unveils $100 million VC fund focused on Web3 culture and entertainment
The NEAR Foundation is introducing a $100 million VC fund and venture lab in partnership with Caerus Ventures, the Swiss organization behind the NEAR blockchain protocol announced Sept. 12. NEAR will anchor the fund, which has an initial closing of $50 million and a target of $100 million for seed series A investments. The first investment will be in the venture lab, which will work with creators, talent and franchise owners to conceive, validate, test and build the next generation of platforms, according to the press release.
CME Group announces launch of Ether options
The world’s leading derivatives marketplace, CME Group, announced Sept. 12 the launch of options on Ether futures.
“The launch of our new Ether options contracts is particularly well-timed to provide the crypto community with another important tool to gain access to and manage exposure to ether. Our new options contracts will also complement CME Group’s Ether futures which have seen a 43% increase in average daily volume year over year,” Global Head of Equity and FX Products of CME Group Tim McCourt said.
Major asset manager Stone Ridge liquidates its Bitcoin strategy fund
Stone Ridge Asset Management LLC filed a liquidation and dissolution plan for its Bitcoin strategy fund with the US SEC on Sept. 12. According to the filing, the liquidation of the fund is expected about October 21, and as of the close of business on October 3, shares will not be available to purchase. Until then, the asset manager expects to operate the fund by its stated investment strategy.
British VC firm Northzone targets Web3 startups with a new €1 billion fund
On Sept. 13, London-based venture firm Northzone announced the launch of a €1 billion fund with an eye on investing in crypto and fintech startups. Founded in 1996, Northzone has backed a wide range of tech companies, from fintech firms like open banking specialist TrueLayer and buy-now-pay-later giant Klarna to music streaming platform Spotify, which is said to be exploring Web3. Also, the company counts crypto infrastructure startup Magic Labs, Web3 privacy firm Sunscreen, and DeFi protocol Gro as portfolio companies. Northzone partner Wendy Xiao Shadeck called Web3 a “core sector” for the firm.
NFT project Doodles raises $54 million at a $704 million valuation
Colorful-profile-picture maker Doodles raised $54 million of equity funding on Sept. 13, backed by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian’s Seven Seven Six. Acrew Capital, FTX Ventures, and 10T Holdings also participated in the fundraising.
Doodles, which began minting its pastel NFTs less than a year ago, has created one of the biggest profile picture collections on the internet. The 10,000-image collection has a collective value of about $121 million, according to NFTPriceFloor. The company plans to use proceeds of its capital influx, which it says will bring its valuation to $704 million, to expand in music and gaming NFT sectors that are attracting growing interest.
North Island Ventures launches $125 million crypto fund
Crypto-focused investment firm North Island Ventures is launching a new $125 million investment fund. According to its statement on Sept. 14, the company is looking to make 30 to 40 early-stage investments in emerging crypto and Web3 companies and protocols. North Island Ventures said initial investments will range between $250,000 and $3 million.
JP Morgan invests in trading network Ownera’s $20 million raise
Ownera, a trading network for tokenized assets, has announced a $20 million Series A fundraising from investors, including JP Morgan, LRC Group, and Accomplice Blockchain. Founded in 2019, Ownera aims to create a unified trading pipeline for digital assets, which will connect different tokenization platforms and trading interfaces. JP Morgan and LRC Group’s representatives will also join Ownera’s board.
Two Sigma Ventures raises $400 million across two crypto funds
VC firm Two Sigma Ventures announced on Sept. 14 that it raised $400 million across its two funds.
Two Sigma Ventures will use funds to invest in companies that use data and technology for social advancement, per a release. The firm raised 85% of the $400 million from external investors like college endowments, non-profit foundations, and pension funds. Senior employees and partners at Two Sigma provided the remaining 15%. Aside from crypto and DeFi, Two Sigma Ventures invests in early-stage firms in software-as-a-service and fintech, among others.
FTX reportedly eyes raising money to fund new acquisitions
Crypto exchange FTX is raising capital in parallel with a potential acquisition, according to a CoinDesk source familiar with the matter. It’s evaluating several possible takeover candidates, some of which are companies operating retail-trading platforms with negotiations in the preliminary stages, the source said. However, if acquisition talks fall through, it’s less likely that FTX will raise money.
Sam Bankman-Fried’s exchange is seeking the same $32 billion valuation it was assigned the last time it raised money early this year if it does a capital raise, the person said. That is noteworthy given the recent decline in crypto prices, while FTX rival Coinbase has seen its stock plummet about 70% year-to-date.
Binance Labs boosts strategic investment in Aptos Labs
Binance Labs, the VC arm and accelerator of Binance, announced on Sept. 15 a strategic investment in Aptos Labs, a next-generation layer-1 blockchain built for better safety and user experience. This is a follow-on investment that comes after the first round of funding announced in March this year and further expands Binance Labs’ commitment to infrastructure building.
The funds will help Aptos in further developing its scalable and upgradeable layer-1 blockchain that uses the Move language for faster transaction execution and supports flexible key management for a safer user experience.