Term Sheet — Wednesday, April 3: Inside Andreessen’s Big Crypto Play
NEW FUND, NEW STRATEGY
Andreessen Horowitz, the 10-year-old venture capital firm, is ready for its next chapter. That chapter includes raising a new growth fund and renouncing its status as a venture firm.
A new Forbes feature reports that Andreessen Horowitz will undergo a costly process that would morph it into a registered investment advisor. Why? This move would allow the firm to take even riskier bets. For instance, if the firm decides to put $1 billion into cryptocurrency or tokens, or buy unlimited shares in public companies or from other investors, it can. “What else are feathers for? They just like to get ruffled,” Andreessen tells Forbes. “The thing that stands out is the thing that’s different.”
What’s most interesting to me is the mention of Andreessen’s crypto play. Last year, the firm raised a $350 million fund to focus on investing in crypto assets and projects that build on blockchains. The fund is co-led by partners Chris Dixon and Katie Haun.
When the fund was announced, I noted that venture capital funds are legally limited to hold no more than 20% of their money in assets that are liquid securities, such as cryptocurrencies, because the SEC considers such investments as “high-risk.” “There are some regulatory constraints we were running into that limit how many times we could do different investments in our main fund,” Dixon told Fortune at the time. As a result, Dixon and Haun’s fund was technically a separate legal entity from the rest of Andreessen Horowitz, and they were required to have different emails addresses and their own website due to legal constraints on funds that register as traditional VCs.
So now, Andreessen Horowitz is renouncing its role as a “traditional VC.” As a registered financial advisor, the firm hired compliance officers, put its 150 employees through audits, and agreed to a ban on its investors talking about fund performance in public. But the benefits include the fact that the firm can share deals again “with a real estate expert tag-teaming a deal with a crypto expert on, say, a blockchain startup for home buying.” Yes, the firm will have more regulatory oversight, but it will also have much more freedom.
Andreessen has become one of the largest and most active investors in cryptocurrency thanks to investments in online exchange Coinbase, security token platform Harbor, hedge fund Polychain Capital, and blockchain-based social payment app Celo. Remember the New York Times feature with the headline, “Amid Bitcoin Uncertainty, ‘the Smart Money Knows That Crypto Is Not Ready’”? Well, I wouldn’t be so sure. Funding for crypto-focused startups is exploding and the talent (both operators and investors) is flocking. Keep an eye on Andreessen Horowitz and its forays in the space because it looks like the firm is gearing up to do things in the crypto world that its peers aren’t willing to touch yet.
The firm also plans to close a new $2 billion to $2.5 billion fund in the coming weeks, according to Forbes. It’s bound to be a big year for Andreessen Horowitz given its investments in Lyft (which just IPOed) along with Slack, Pinterest, PagerDuty, and Airbnb, which plan to go public in the near future.
It’s a whole new world for asset management.
• Perch, a marketplace for home buying and selling, raised $220 million in funding. FirstMark Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including Accomplice and Juxtapose.
• Segment, a customer data infrastructure company, raised $175 million in Series D funding. Investors include Accel, GV, Meritech Capital, Thrive Capital, Y Combinator Continuity, eVentures, and Sapphire Ventures.
• ezCater, a Boston-based online catering marketplace, raised a $150 million in Series D-1 funding at a $1.25 billion valuation. Lightspeed Venture Partners and GIC led the round.
• Aqua Security, an Israel-based operator of a container security platform, raised $62 million in Series C funding. Insight Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including Lightspeed Venture Partners, M12, TLV Partners and Shlomo Kramer.
• Vertical, a vertically integrated cannabis CPG company, raised $58 million in Series A funding. Investors include Merida Capital Partners.
• Rippling, a provider of cloud-based employee management solutions, raised $45 million in funding at a $270 million valuation. Kleiner Perkins led the round, and was joined by investors including Initialized Capital, Threshold Ventures (formerly DFJ), and Y Combinator.
• Red Points, a company focused on online IP infringement detection and removal, raised $38 million in funding. Summit Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including Northzone, Mangrove, Eight Roads Ventures and Banco Sabadell.
• Nutrafol, a nutraceutical brand that aims to improve hair growth performance, raised $35 million in Series B funding. L Catterton led the round, and was joined by investors including Unilever Ventures.
• Vestwell, a New York City-based digital retirement platform, raised $30 million in Series B funding. Goldman Sachs Principal Strategic Investments led the round.
• Pagaya, a financial technology company using artificial intelligence, raised $25 million in Series C funding. Oak HC/FT led the round, and was joined by investors including Viola Ventures, Clal Insurance Ltd., GF Investments, Harvey Golub, and Siam Commercial Bank.
• MemVerge, a San Jose, Calif.-based provider of memory-converged infrastructure solutions, raised $24.5 million in Series A funding. Investors include Gaorong Capital, Jerusalem Venture Partners, LDV Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Northern Light Venture Capital.
• Deepwatch, a provider of intelligence-driven managed security services, raised $23 million in Series A funding. ABS Capital Partners led the round.
• Medical Informatics Corp, a Houston, Texas-based provider of a patient monitoring and predictive analytics platform, raised $11.9 million in Series A funding. DCVC led the round, and was joined by investors including Intel Capital and the Texas Medical Center Venture Fund.
• OpenGamma, a U.K.-based provider of real-time market risk management technology, raised $10 million in funding. Dawn Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including Accel, CME Ventures and Cristóbal Conde.
• Hungry, an online marketplace that connects independent chefs with the business and events catering market, raised $8 million in Series A funding. Sands Capital Ventures and Motley Fool Ventures co-led the round, and was joined by investors including Marcy Venture Partners.
• Cora, a women's wellness brand, raised $7.5 million in Series A1 funding. Harbinger Ventures led the round.
• Made In, a direct-to-consumer cookware company, raised $5 million in seed funding. Brian Spaly led the round, and was joined by investors including Ezra Galston, Grant Achatz, Nick Kokonas, Tom Douglas, Barry Sternlicht, and The Labora Group.
• DynamiCare Health, a Massachusetts-based addiction recovery technology company, raised $4.1 million in seed funding. Investors include Hyperplane Venture Capital and Patrick J. Kennedy.
• AppOmni, a startup that solves the cloud data leak visibility and security problem for enterprises, raised $3 million in funding. Costanoa Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Silicon Valley Data Capital and George Hu.
• Intello Labs, an India-based AI-focused agritech startup, raised $2 million in seed funding. Investors include Nexus Venture Partners and Omnivore.
• C-Motive Technologies, the creator of a viable electrostatic motor, raised $2 million in funding. Prime Impact Fund led the round, and was joined by investors including Clean Energy Trust of Chicago.
• Qoreboard Inc, a provider of performance management as a service solutions, raised $1.6 million in seed funding. IDEA Fund Partners led the round.
• Augean Robotics, a Philadelphia-based startup developing a collaborative robotic platform for the agriculture industry, raised a $1.5 million in seed funding. ffVC led the round, and was joined by investors including S2G Ventures and Radicle Growth.
• MAMBI, a parent company of Happy Planner, a creative lifestyle brand, raised funding of an undisclosed amount, from Main Post Partners.
HEALTH AND LIFE SCIENCES DEALS
• Candel Therapeutics, an Auburndale, Mass.-based biotech firm, raised $22.5 million in Series C funding. Northpond Ventures led the round.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Dock Square Capital acquired a minority stake in Protect My Car, a St. Petersburg, Fla.-based provider of extended warranty products for vehicles. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
• Paradigm, which is backed by OMERS, acquired Restore Rehabilitation, an Owings Mills, Md.-based case management company that provides field coverage in 27 states and nationwide telephonic coverage. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
• Italmatch Chemicals, a portfolio company of Bain Capital Private Equity, acquired Eco Inhibitors, a Norway-based developer of chemical solutions. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
• Cook & Boardman, a portfolio company of Littlejohn & Co, acquired A3 Communications Inc, a Columbia, S.C.-based systems integrator focused on electronic security, enterprise networking, structured cabling, electrical services, unified communications, virtualization/storage solutions, audio/visual, and managed services. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
• PrismHR, which is backed by Summit Partners and Accel-KKR, acquired AgileHR, a Wichita, Kansas-based provider of cloud-based talent management software. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
• Merck (NYSE:MRK) acquired Antelliq Corporation, an Irving, Texas-based provider of animal health digital tracking, traceability and monitoring technology, from BC Partners. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
• Hygeia, a radiotherapy equipment maker in China, is planning an IPO to raise $200 million in Hong Kong, Bloomberg reports citing sources. Warburg Pincus backs the firm. Read more.
• Symplr, which is backed by Clearlake and SkyKnight, acquired API Healthcare, a Hartford, Wisc.-based developer of labor resource management software solutions, from Veritas Capital. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
• Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners agreed to acquire Oryx, a Midland, Texas-based midstream crude operator in the Permian Basin, for about $3.6 billion. Sellers include Quantum Energy Partners, Post Oak Energy Capital, Concho Resources and WPX Energy.
FIRMS + FUNDS
• IA Capital Group, a New York-based venture capital firm, raised $150 million across three funds.
• ByFounders, an early-stage venture capital firm, raised €100 million ($112.5 million) for its debut fund.
• Rio Investment Partners, a Canada-based investment firm, raised $77.5 million for its new agri-food venture fund. The target is $150 million.
• Cambridge Innovation Capital, a U.K.-based investment firm, raised 150 million pounds ($197 million) for its new fund.
• Nick Abouzeid joined Shrug Capital as a partner.
• Arma Partners named Broor Spahr van der Hoek as partner and co-head of its private and growth capital team.
• Clearlake Capital Group promoted Fred Ebrahemi to partner and managing director; Dan Groen to managing director; James Pade to partner and managing director; Arta Tabaee to managing director; Pedro Urrutia, to partner and managing director.