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Venture funding on the whole may be pulling back from 2021’s stratospheric highs, but Web3 startups in particular are still gaining momentum these days. The nebulous sector—which includes everything from NFT-laden video games to decentralized finance platforms—exploded last year and has only accelerated its pace of funding during the first two months of 2022.
Standout Web3 deals so far this year include India’s Polygon, which builds Ethereum developer tools and raised $450 million in February, and Hong Kong’s Animoca Brands, which makes blockchain games and secured some $359 million in January. This week alone, two of the top U.S. funding deals went to New York-based blockchain companies: ConsenSys, which raised $450 million, and Optimism, which grabbed $150 million.
Can Los Angeles and the greater SoCal ecosystem keep up with this blistering pace? While much of the Web3 action is elsewhere, L.A.’s blockchain scene is nothing to sneeze at, especially where NFTs and entertainment collide. Web3- and blockchain-related deals in and around the city so far this year include:
- iTrustCapital, a Long Beach-based cryptocurrency platform, raised a $125 million Series A in January.
- EthSign, which is like a decentralized version of DocuSign, closed on $12 million in March.
- Unblocked, an NFT startup focused on the music industry, secured $10 million in January.
- Artema Labs, a stealthy Venice-based startup also focused on NFTs, raised $10 million in February.
- DNABlock, the company behind the 3D avatar design tool Replikant, announced a $7 million raise in March.
- Battlebound, the Web3 gaming startup behind the Evaverse, secured more than $4.8 million this week.
- NFT Brands, a Beverly Hills-based startup that mints NFTs for (you guessed it) brands and celebrities, closed a $3.6 million seed round in March. It’s already aiming to raise an additional $35 million in Series A funding, the company told dot.LA.
Even Irvine-based fintech firm Acorns plans to get into crypto, though it would be quite a stretch to call the 10-year-old savings and investing app a Web3 company.
As far as venture funds go, most of the top blockchain investors hail from Silicon Valley, but that isn’t stopping L.A.’s own VCs from getting in on the action. In rolling out its hefty $400 million third fund earlier this month, Santa Monica-based consumer tech investor M13 said it was doubling down on Web3 as an overarching investment thesis. As startups continue to capitalize on the buzz surrounding the blockchain, surely more investors will follow. – Harri Weber
The company has made an effort to design its scooter for the way that lower-income riders use them, and is one of the few scooter companies able to thread the requirements of multiple municipalities in L.A. But can it make a dent in the region's stubborn transportation equity issues?
The stealth gaming startup behind the anonymously launched Web3 game "Evaverse," has raised more than $4.8 million in funding and is gearing up to bring its first title to mobile devices.
Propel Bio Partners is seeking to raise a pooled investment fund of $150 million to invest in life sciences companies at various stages of development.
Former Disney chief Bob Iger joined virtual avatar startup Genies’ board of directors. Electric vehicle manufacturer Rivian hired Frank Klein as its chief operations officer. Check out all the new hires and promotions in our weekly roundup, L.A. Tech Moves.
What We're Reading Elsewhere...
- The pandemic may have changed the visual effects industry for good.
- California's experiments using electric vehicles to power homes and its energy grid are being closely watched.
- Whole Foods opens its second 'just walk out' store in Sherman Oaks.
- Police departments are expanding their budgets for 'predictive' technology, amid concerns about whether it works.