Venture funding fell to its lowest level all year at $212M, down over 50% from $503M last week. Total deals also nearly got cut in half, falling from 47 to 22. The largest drops in funding came in the infrastructure and Metaverse/Gaming segments, which were each particularly high last week. Surprisingly, NFT funding increased to its highest level in weeks at $81M. There were four NFT deals, the largest of which being Gary Vaynerchuk’s Veefriends, which raised $50M in a Seed Round. The majority of deals occurred in the early stages, with 63.6% of the deals being Seed Round.
While venture funding was low, crypto investment funds actually had a huge week, with 9 funds raised for a total of $1.98 billion. The largest of these was global macro hedge fund Brevan Howard’s $1 billion raise for its crypto fund – making it the biggest crypto hedge fund raise ever. Brevan Howard’s Digital Asset Multi-Strategy Fund employs a multi-manager and multi-strategy approach, putting capital to work in both venture capital-style plays and liquid crypto tokens. Strategies include quantitative trades and relative-value plays that are implemented by teams of portfolio managers structured in “pods” that feature supporting analysts and engineers. More than 60 staffers run BH Digital’s operations, up from 25 employees in January.
There were two major acquisitions this week. Messari, a crypto research platform, acquired Dovemetrics for $100M. Dovemetrics is a venture capital funding aggregator that tracks the latest deals. The other deal was Chiliz acquiring 24.5% of Barca Studios for ~$102M, which we discuss in detail later in the report.
Deal of The Week:
Chiliz, the world’s leading blockchain fintech provider for sports and entertainment, has acquired 24.5% of Barca Studios for roughly $102 million (100m Euros). Barca Studios is the digital business arm of FC Barcelona, one of the most elite soccer teams in the world. Formerly led by superstar Lionel Messi, FC Barcelona has advanced to nine out of the last 10 La Liga championships, winning five of them. Barca Studios plans to use the sale funds to improve their digital brand with increased investment in NFTs, metaverse projects, and other Web 3 strategies.
Why is this Deal of The Week?
FC Barcelona’s success has led to the club accumulating a massive following, with fan estimates exceeding 250 million people. Barca Studios has previously partnered with Chiliz to release their fan token $BAR, providing holders the power to vote on certain team decisions and earn VIP experiences or merchandise. The expanded partnership and additional funding will allow Barca Studios to take its digital brand to the next level.
The crypto industry often has a steep learning curve, deterring some users from taking the time to learn. Mainstream entertainment such as pro soccer teams adopting Web 3 offers the crypto industry tremendous publicity. The intertwining of traditional entertainment and Web 3 will likely be a significant adoption driver for digital assets while simultaneously offering sports teams a new revenue stream. The cross-section allows fans to gain familiarity with different aspects of the Web 3 world while cheering on their favorite team.
VeeFriends is an NFT project founded by Gary Vaynerchuk, chairman of VaynerX and co-founder of restaurant reservation application Resy. Owners of the 283 VeeFriend NFTs will gain admission to VeeCon. This Web3-related conference provides a variety of content and entertainment from speakers such as Steve Aoki, Snoop Dogg, Pharrell Williams, Mike Novogratz, and others. The project has secured $50M in funding through its seed round led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z). VeeFriends plans to use the capital to grow its digital and physical presence and expand its workforce.
Kurtosis is an infrastructure-based platform focusing on creating software and tools that will assist crypto developers. The company has secured $20M in funding through its Series A round led by Coatue Management. The round also included investor participation from Coinbase Ventures, Mantis VC, and Olivier Pomel. Kurtosis plans to use the capital to hire additional software engineers to expedite the development and launch of future products.
MarqVision is a platform that digitizes conventional counterfeit prevention procedures through image recognition, semantic analysis, and test purchases. The company has secured $20M in funding through its Series A round with investor participation from DST Global Partners, Atinum Investments, Softbank Ventures, Bass Investment, and Y-Combinator. MarqVision plans to use the capital to build upon its current operating systems.
Reltime ($RTC) is a Proof-of-Authority (PoA) based Web 3 monetary ecosystem. The platform allows money to be lent, borrowed, sent and received at a near instant rate with no transaction fees. The company has secured $50M in funding through a strategic investment partnership with GEM Digital Limited. Reltime plans to primarily use the capital to scale its biometric payment card, providing features such as cold storage and touch-free payments.
Coherent is a Web3-based blockchain platform aiming to create application programming interfaces (APIs) concentrating on user data. The company has secured $4.5M in funding through its seed round led by Kindred Ventures, Matchstick Ventures, and Foundry Group. The round also included investor participation from Coinbase Ventures, Alchemy, and others.