Open Web Collective, a venture capital firm focused on backing blockchain startups, has launched a new division called OWC Ventures.
The launch of the division was reported today by TechCrunch.
Open Web Collective invests in early-stage blockchain companies and also runs a startup accelerator program. The company was launched as a spin-out of the NEAR Protocol blockchain project. According to Open Web Collective, startups in its portfolio have raised over $360 million from investors.
OWC Ventures, the new venture capital arm of Open Web Collective, will focus on investing in early-stage Web3 startups. OWC Ventures would be backed by NEAR Protocol as well as Digital Currency Group. Digital Currency Group is the parent company of several major players in the digital asset ecosystem, including Grayscale Investments, a cryptocurrency-focused investment firm.
OWC Ventures is reportedly raising a fund to support pre-Series A seed investments. The division estimates the fund will launch with an initial capital of $20 million.
As part of its investment strategy, OWC Ventures intends to back startups in several different parts of the digital asset ecosystem. OWC Ventures will support startups developing DeFi technologies, or technologies to trade financial instruments without intermediaries such as brokerage firms. The division will also invest in startups focused on video games and SocialFi, the term for products that combine social media functionality with blockchain technology.
The launch of OWC Ventures comes a few weeks after its creation reported this venture capital firm Seven Seven Six is seeking $177.6 million for a cryptocurrency investment fund. Previously variant raised $450 million to support Web3 and DeFi startups.
In May, the well-known venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz made its debut the industry’s largest blockchain venture capital fund. The fund was launched with an initial capital of $4.5 billion, which the company will use to support Web3 startups “at every stage.” To date, Andreessen Horowitz has secured a total of $7.6 billion from investors for Web3 investments.
Web3 startups raised $6.6 billion in funding in the second quarter, according to Crunchbase to research. This represents an improvement from the $6.4 billion invested in the segment in the same period a year earlier. It is estimated that there are currently 79 unicorn startups, or startups with a valuation over $1 billion, in the Web3 ecosystem.
One of the latest Web3 startups to achieve unicorn valuation is Mysten Labs, developer of the Sui blockchain. The startup at the beginning of the month raised a $300 million funding round led by FTX Ventures at a $2 billion valuation.