One of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, Binance, has laid the groundwork for a $100 million startup fund, the team revealed to TechCrunch on Thursday. In late 2021, managing partners Ling Zhang, who had served as vice president of M&A and investments at Binance, and Wayne Fu, who had previously served as head of corporate development at the cryptocurrency exchange, founded Old Fashion Research (OFR), which takes its name from the traditional cocktail.
According to Zhang, the fund will concentrate on the metaverse and increasing cryptocurrency use in developing nations like Latin America and Africa. We want to collaborate with builders in the long run, added Zhang. “We have a strong concentration on the Southern Hemisphere. We’ll target all emerging markets, but our objective and ambition is to hasten acceptance there.
Zhang oversaw many significant investments and acquisitions while at Binance, including FTX, Multicoin Capital, and CertiK. Global gaming platform WEMIX led the investment, according to Zhang. The funding was raised by limited partners, conventional VC firms, family offices, and angel investors both inside and outside the crypto sector.
The former CFO of Binance, Wei Zhou, will serve as an investor and strategic advisor for OFR, and Jiang Xin, a partner, will support its venture arm. Jiang Xin oversaw major investment deals for Binance Labs and Launchpad, including those in Axie Infinity, Moonbeam, Alpha Finance, and other companies. Since the beginning of the year, the market has cooled off a little. According to Xin, this represents more of an opportunity than a difficulty for OFR. Since [the fund] has only recently been established, we can find lower and fairer prices during a market downturn, and many bubbles will be bursting.
After realizing the potential of blockchain technology and the cryptocurrency ecosystem, Zhang claimed to have observed an increase in the number of funds entering the cryptocurrency field or new funds starting to invest in it. According to Zhang, “more and more VCs are searching for methods to invest in cryptocurrency ventures. The capital plate is being revolutionized and disrupted by cryptocurrency itself. It is no longer top-down and centralized.
This week, Andreessen Horowitz revealed plans to raise $4.5 billion for its fourth cryptocurrency-focused fund. One-third of the firm’s mega-fund, which is more than twice as big as its $2.2 billion third fund, would be used exclusively for seed projects. There have been a number of mega-funds formed in the crypto industry in recent weeks, demonstrating that even if prices may be down, venture capitalists are still investing in the field.
The size of our new fund, however, “speaks to the degree of excitement and conviction we have in this area,” said a16z general partner Arianna Simpson when asked whether established corporations will stop investing in cryptocurrencies because of the market’s adverse emotions. Zhang agreed, pointing out that market declines give investors wishing to invest cash in the area clarity on which bets to make. This is also the ideal time to make investments and incubate additional ideas, according to Zhang. “This is the optimum period for us to discover the long-term believers in the crypto area.”