May 14, 2024 - Business

Why Haun Ventures invested in Fireblocks and Chainalysis

Katie Haun of Haun Ventures at Axios BFD

Katie Haun onstage at Axios BFD. Photo: Chris Constantine on behalf of Axios

Haun Ventures founder Katie Haun confirmed in a conversation with Dan Primack at the Axios BFD in San Francisco that the firm invested in late-stage crypto survivors Fireblocks and Chainalysis.

Why it matters: The investments — both previously unannounced — came while other crypto VCs either slowed investing or stopped altogether.

The big picture: Following the collapse of FTX, Haun said her firm looked opportunistically to invest in late-stage companies that other investors might have written off.

  • "During the depths of the crypto winter, we had what we called a 'harpoon list,'" Haun said. "We looked at our harpoon list, and we said, 'Let's get some meaningful ownership.'"
  • "Any company that is growing during a crypto bear market, we thought, 'Imagine what it will do when the market matures?'"

Between the lines: Haun characterized the deals as founder-led, with shares coming from "a variety of strategies," some of which were secondary sales and some from other investors who got in at higher market prices.

  • "The reality is we weren't out there publicizing what we were doing, because we didn't want other funds to go do that. It would be more competition," Haun said.
  • The Information reported in April that Haun Ventures was acquiring a stake in Chainalysis via secondary sales.

State of play: Those investments run counter to most of the industry, as VC funding for startups in the sector fell precipitously during the recent crypto winter.

  • Crypto startups raised $9.2 billion through 1,160 deals in 2023, according to data from Architect Partners, compared with $28.6 billion through 1,766 deals in 2022 and $26.7 million through 1,425 deals in 2021.

Yes, but: There is some room for optimism, as the number of crypto deals has picked up, even if the dollars backing those startups haven't increased as quickly.

  • According to more recent FT Partners data, crypto startups garnered a record 300 capital raises in the first quarter of this year.
  • The median financing size for crypto deals in Q1 was $3.7 million, still down significantly from the $6.2 million median deal size at the sector's height in Q2 2022.
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