Crypto Investor Katie Haun Raises $1.5 Billion for New Web3 Fund — What Does This Signal Ahead?
Veteran crypto investor Katie Haun, who left venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) in December, raised $1.5 billion for her debut fund focused on Web3, underscoring the fast growing interest in the space and the capital pouring in.
“Introducing @HaunVentures, a firm built for the next generation of the internet. We’ve raised $1.5 billion across two funds to invest in web3. An exciting first step, but the real work begins now,” Haun tweeted March 22.
The funds will focus on Web3 — commonly known as the new, decentralized iteration of the internet — through two platforms: a $500 million early stage fund and a $1 billion acceleration fund.
Haun had announced in December that she was leaving a16z — a strong Web3 proponent itself — tweeting, “Today it’s more apparent than ever that Web3 will transform the internet.”
In a blog post explaining why she launched the funds, Haun said that she has always seen value in connecting the crypto world to different audiences — whether across government, academia, business, or otherwise — to facilitate greater understanding of the benefits of this nascent tech.
“All of this led to the launch of Haun Ventures, a firm built to uniquely serve the teams building the third generation of the internet, or Web3,” she wrote. “Web3 has expanded beyond its financial origins — it now provides the technological building blocks to power the next iteration of the digital world.”
Haun added that she believes the next generation of the internet will naturally produce a new generation of investors.
“Firms built for this moment need to be what one of our portfolio founders characterized as ‘venture contributors.’ This goes beyond asking how to be helpful — it’s about being an active, committed participant in the community and operating in a way that advances the values of Web3, she said.
Ivan Ravlich, CEO of Hypernet Labs, a cyber-infrastructure company building the tools to facilitate the transition to Web3, told GOBankingRates that Haun’s new fund is breaking new ground for Web3 development, particularly as it pertains to community-focused governance protocols and products.
“This notion of ‘venture contributors’ is really exciting and, I think, will be an enabling factor in terms of girding one of crypto’s core missions – making finance and other important endeavors easier, fairer and more accessible to people all around the world,” he said, adding that the fund’s intentions to educate the public on Web3, including combatting misconceptions and highlighting its beneficial use cases, is no doubt significant and integral for securing the foundations of the economy of the future. “The emphasis on participation from non-profits, moreover, is critical for this mission.”
Haun indeed explained in her post that beyond providing capital, the funds will contribute to Web3 in two specific ways: helping founders deliver system change and community participation.
“As an early investor in the space, I’m proud of the groundbreaking program I helped develop to delegate governance rights and tokens to civil society groups, universities, and non-profit organizations. Haun Ventures will continue to broaden the array of voices involved in this ecosystem,” she wrote.
Saro McKenna, co-founder of play-to-earn Metaverse game Alien Worlds, told GOBankingRates that it’s great to see a major investor like Haun integrating some of the governance ideals of DAOs [decentralized autonomous organizations] into her new fund.
“Community participation is what has made the crypto industry what it is, and it’s time we brought that to the investors also,” McKenna said. “I expect Haun’s fund to succeed, and I hope that it sets the precedent for other crypto funds to engage the community as they try to figure out what projects to support. There are lots of amazing projects out there that might get overlooked by traditional investors, and this new approach could bring them into the fold and be a win for everyone when those projects succeed.”
Interestingly, the launch coincides with a particularly volatile time for cryptos, a point Haun addressed in a CNBC interview. She said, “When I think back to deploying the first two crypto funds, that was during a period of immense volatility — it was definitely a crypto winter with prices down 70% and projects were still born that during that cycle,” she said, mentioning Solana and NFT exchange OpenSea. “One of the things I’ve learned as an investor with a long term view of the space, is that great products are going to be built and great protocols are going to be built, no matter what the prices are.”
McKenna echoed Haun’s sentiment, saying that there is so much great work going on in crypto right now, to the developers it truly doesn’t matter that it is a bear market.
“There is still money coming into the industry through funds like Haun Ventures, and, most importantly, crypto developers see crypto as more than a job; they see it as a gateway to a better and more equitable future for all, and that passion and belief will continue to drive the space forward even through challenging times,” McKenna said.
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