VC crypto funds are getting bigger. So are the opportunities
Good morning, Term Sheet readers. Finance reporter Anne Sraders here, filling in for Lucinda.
It’s been a big week for crypto.
On Monday Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam and former Sequoia Capital partner Matt Huang’s venture capital firm, Paradigm, announced the biggest crypto fund ever—$2.5 billion, topping Andreessen Horowitz’s $2.2 billion crypto fund created this summer (more on this later). Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the owner of the NBA and NHL arena Staples Center in Los Angeles announced it will be renamed Crypto.com Arena after crypto exchange Crypto.com secured a 20-year naming rights deal, reportedly paying $700 million over that timeframe.
The crypto space is always buzzy, but this week it felt like crypto reached a new level.
And clearly more traditional institutions are looking to ride that boom to the bank. In addition to crypto-focused investment firms like Paradigm, traditional VC firms have increasingly ventured into crypto in recent years—from Accel to Bessemer Venture Partners to Sequoia, which stated that as part of its recent decision to become a registered investment advisor, it will look to invest more in crypto (The Information’s Kate Clark wrote an in-depth article last month about the growing trend of more generalist VCs dipping their toes into crypto).
But with so many big players entering the space, and with so much cash newly available for crypto projects and startups (like Paradigm’s $2.5 billion fund), I wonder how VCs themselves are thinking about competition—will VC firms increasingly have to duke it out for crypto deals?
According to David Pakman, a managing partner at crypto-focused investment firm CoinFund and 13-year veteran of tech VC firm Venrock, it’s not just crypto fund sizes that are swelling.
“Crypto-native firms are getting bigger, but the opportunity set is growing much, much more quickly than the funds themselves are,” he tells me. “There’s way more crypto networks, protocols,… built around the space than there were three or four years ago. And so there’s just way too much opportunity for the firms to have to just compete with each other on every single deal.”
That’s not to say the space isn’t competitive: “It’s super competitive,” he adds, but he does believe the crypto space is more “syndicate-friendly,” meaning more instances of multiple investors co-investing on deals, than with traditional tech.
Beyond any one mega crypto fund, Pakman sees something of an inflection point in the crypto space over the last 18 months: Lots of once novel crypto companies are growing into businesses “where they’re getting real revenue and they’re accelerating rapidly—basically, they hit product-market fit,” and then tap the equity markets to raise tens or hundreds of millions of dollars.
There will be VCs to serve those needs, like the more traditional VC firms, or, perhaps, Paradigm’s new fund. Paradigm said in a blog post that it will keep investing at the “earliest stages” as well as “later-stage category leaders” and “at every stage in between.”
At the same time, other kinds of startups and projects, like DAOs, or decentralized autonomous organizations, are largely still in the early stages, Pakman believes (one such DAO, Friends with Benefits, was recently backed by Andreessen Horowitz).
“There’s so much happening in, I’ll call it, the sort of theoretical phase of the market” like DAOs, says Pakman. “It’s sort of hard to argue that that segment has fully tipped yet in the same way as, say, DeFi or NFTs have,” referring to decentralized finance and non-fungible tokens. At CoinFund, Pakman says he’s making a lot of investments around the burgeoning DAO space, an area he’s “completely fascinated by,” that are more “team bets and concept bets” because the space is “so early.”
But clearly, whether at the seed stage or late stage, companies in the crypto space now have more funds available than ever. And, I wager, an increasing number of options to tap them.
SPEAKING OF CASH FOR CRYPTO… It looks like two crypto firms, Gemini and Anchorage, may be raising fresh funds that could value the pair at $7 billion and $3 billion, respectively, per reports from Bloomberg and The Information.
A NOTE: While Lucinda enjoys some well-deserved time off, a few writers will be taking over Term Sheet. Consequently, the deals section of this newsletter will be pared down from its normal length.
Please send deals to Rey.Mashayekhi@fortune.com for Nov. 19 and 24, and to Declan.Harty@fortune.com for Nov. 22 and 23.
- Lacework, a San Jose, Calif.-based cloud security platform, raised $1.3 billion in Series D funding at a $8.3 billion valuation. Sutter Hill Ventures, Altimeter Capital, D1 Capital Partners, and Tiger Global Management led the round and were joined by investors including Counterpoint Global (Morgan Stanley), Durable Capital, Franklin Templeton, General Catalyst, XN, Coatue, Dragoneer, Liberty Global Ventures, and Snowflake Ventures.
- Formstack, a Fishers, Ind.-based workplace productivity platform, raised $425 million in funding led by Silversmith Capital Partners and PSG.
- Gemini, the crypto exchange from founders Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, is looking to raise $400 million in funding that could value the firm at around $7 billion, Bloomberg reported citing sources. The Block reported on the potential $7 billion valuation in September.
- Grammarly, a San Francisco-based AI-based editing and grammar tool for writing, raised $200 million in funding at a $13 billion valuation from investors including Baillie Gifford and accounts managed by BlackRock.
- Anchorage, a San Francisco-based crypto trading and custody startup for institutions, is reportedly raising funds from investors led by KKR in a round that would value the company at $3 billion, The Information reported citing sources.
- Generate Biomedicines, a Cambridge, Mass.-based platform that uses AI and machine learning to create new therapeutic drugs, raised $370 million in Series B funding from investors including the company’s founder Flagship Pioneering, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), the Alaska Permanent Fund, Altitude Life Science Ventures, ARCH Venture Partners, Fidelity Management & Research Company, Morningside Ventures, and funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price.
- Expel, a Herndon, Va.-based managed detection and response (MDR) security provider, raised $140.3 million in Series E funding. CapitalG, Alphabet’s growth fund, and Paladin Capital Group led the round and were joined by investors including Cisco Investments, March Capital, Index Ventures, Scale Venture Partners, and Greycroft.
- Kandji, a San Diego-based security and management platform for Apple devices, raised $100 million in Series C funding. Tiger Global led the round and was joined by investors including Definition, Frontline Ventures, First Round Capital, Greycroft, Felicis Ventures, The Spruce House Partnership, B Capital Group, SVB Capital, and Okta Ventures.
- Airwallex, an Australia-based payments platform, raised $100 million in additional Series E funding to total $300 million. Lone Pine Capital led the round and was joined by investors including 1835i Ventures, the venture capital partner to ANZ, and Sequoia Capital China.
- OTA Insight, a London-based platform that provides business intelligence tools to hotels, raised $80 million in Series B funding. Spectrum Equity led the round and was joined by investors including Eight Roads, F-Prime Capital, and Highgate Technology Ventures.
- Practice Ignition, an Australia-based client engagement and commerce platform serving professional services businesses, raised $50 million (65 million AUD) in a Series C funding. JMI Equity led the round and was joined by investors including Tiger Global, EVP, and strategic investors and family office groups.
- Hg invested in Revalize, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based revenue operations software developer for manufacturers backed by TA Associates. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
- Blackstone agreed to invest in Life Science Logistics, a Dallas-based healthcare supply chain solutions provider. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
- An affiliate of Roark Capital acquired Mathnasium, a Los Angeles-based math learning center operator. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
- Carlyle agreed to acquire AutoForm AG, a Switzerland-based industrial software company, from Astorg. Financial terms weren’t disclosed, but the deal was reportedly valued at €1.75 billion (nearly $2 billion), per the Wall Street Journal.
- Bentley Systems (Nasdaq: BSY) agreed to acquire Power Line Systems, a Madison, Wis.-based software firm for designing overhead electric power transmission lines and structures, from TA Associates for approximately $700 million.
- Novo Nordisk (NYSE:NVO), a Denmark-based pharmaceutical company, agreed to buy Dicerna Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: DNRA) for $3.3 billion in cash.
- China Evergrande Group, the embattled property developer, is selling the remainder of its stake in HengTen Networks for HK$2.13 billion ($273 million).
- Sweetgreen, a Los Angeles-based salad company, raised $364 million in an IPO by selling 13 million shares for $28 above its range. The company posted $221 million in revenue in the 12 months ending Dec. 27 and reported a net loss of $141 million. Fidelity, T. Rowe Price, Revolution Growth, D1 Capital, Anchorage Capital Group, and Lone Pine Capital back the firm.
- Chobani, a Norwich, New York-based yogurt and food company, filed to raise up to $100 million in an IPO as a placeholder figure. The company posted $1.4 billion in net sales in the year ending Dec. 26, 2020 and reported a net loss of $58.7 million. The Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (Hoopp Capital Partners) backs the firm.
- Trilantic North America, a New York-based private equity firm, promoted Dan Siegman to managing director.