FTX Launches $2B Venture Fund
FTX has launched a $2 billion venture capital fund focused on backing teams building within the digital assets ecosystem as the company is focused on advancing blockchain and Web3 adoption. The crypto derivatives exchange also revealed that Amy Wu, most recently a partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, joined FTX to lead ventures, gaming, M&A and commercial initiatives.
The fund, FTX Ventures, will invest broadly across crypto and Web3, Wu said, noting that the unit is particularly excited about the number of talented teams in the Web3 gaming space.
Gaming is huge — a $200 billion annual industry in content alone and growing fast,” she told Blockworks.
“Gamers pioneered the usage of digital assets and now can own them, and we think games can onboard the next 100 million, even 1 billion people into Web3.”
FTX, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Solana Ventures joined forces to create a $100 million Web3 gaming investment initiative, the companies announced in November.
FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried said during a panel at the Bloomberg Financial Innovation Summit that month that gaming NFTs could be a driving force behind bringing crypto to the mainstream.
At Lightspeed Venture Partners, a $10 billion multi-stage venture fund, Wu led crypto and gaming investments, including the fund’s investment in FTX.
“Our investors at FTX have made a deep impact in supporting our growth and development,” Bankman-Fried said in a statement. “We strive to do the same at FTX Ventures and are excited to find the brightest minds and disruptive innovation in tech.”
As part of FTX Ventures, Wu will lead a team of eight people, which includes general partner Ramnik Arora and advisor Armani Ferrante.
Arora has worked as FTX’s head of product since October 2020, according to his LinkedIn profile. Ferrante has been a software engineer at Alameda Research since September 2020, a quantitative cryptocurrency trading firm and liquidity provider founded by FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried.
Venture money has poured into the crypto space over the last year. An all-time high of $17 billion had been invested into crypto projects in the first half of 2021.
Circle revealed plans in November to launch a venture fund to invest in early-stage blockchain projects and companies.
Last month, Silvergate Capital and EJF Capital teamed up to launch a venture fund, and Kraken Ventures announced its first fund after raising $65 million to invest across crypto and fintech.
FTX has participated in the funding rounds of a variety of crypto startups in recent months, including crypto infrastructure provider Web3Auth and DriveWealth Holdings.
“Some existing investments from FTX will be folded into the new Venture fund,” Wu said. “At FTX Ventures we’re excited to co-invest with our close partners and investors, so it’ll be a natural way to continue partnering with Lightspeed as well.”
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