Katie Haun Debut Crypto Fund Attracts Investor Interest
Venture capitalist and crypto investor Katie Haun raised $1.5 billion for her new debut crypto fund, the largest initial fund ever raised by a solo female founding partner. The fund’s size is also more than double the previous record set for a fund raised by a firm with exclusively female founders.
Ms. Haun is a well-known figure in the crypto and Web3 communities. Prior to founding Haun Ventures and launching her own fund, Ms. Haun was a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, the prominent Silicon Valley venture capital firm. While at Andreessen Horowitz, she led the firm’s crypto efforts.
The $1.5 billion fund raised by her new firm, Haun Ventures, will allocate $500 million for investments in early-stage companies. The remaining $1 billion will be used for “acceleration” projects or later-stage companies.
Haun Steps Out of Her Comfort Zone
Ms. Haun’s departure from Andreesen Horowitz, where she had established a stellar reputation, caught many by surprise. She acknowledged that starting her own fund was a step out of her comfort zone.
“It feels, honestly, like a lot of pressure,” Ms. Haun remarked. “But I think that motivates everyone on the team. Web3 is the new era of the internet, and it deserves a new era of investors.”
Fund To Focus on Equity Positions in Startups
Ms. Haun’s fund will take equity positions in startups, and in some cases, also hold the tokens issued by those cryptocurrency startups. “There’s something I’ve learned through being involved in deploying three other crypto funds: there’s still a ton of potential in crypto and Web3 equity business models, but also token business models,” Ms. Haun stated. “I don’t think that you can really be a crypto investor without holding tokens.”
Web3 companies are marketplaces and platforms built on decentralized blockchain technology. Many Web3 companies involve cryptocurrencies and digital tokens. Some refer to Web3 as a fundamental remaking of the internet. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki describes Web3 as a “previously unimaginable opportunity to grow the connection between creators and their fans.” Many also believe Web3 facilitates the democratization of tech platforms.
The Haun Ventures Team
A lawyer by training, Ms. Haun graduated from Stanford Law School and worked as a federal prosecutor in the earlier days of her career. While at the U.S. Department of Justice, she was responsible for prosecuting a wide variety of digital currency crimes. Ms. Haun spent over a decade at the U.S. Department of Justice before transitioning to venture capital.
Haun Ventures runs a lean operation with a nine-person team. Several former employees from Andreessen Horowitz followed her there. The team also includes a former Airbnb executive and Clinton administration official.
Described as a “crypto-native” fund, Ms. Haun’s newest venture focuses on investments in crypto and Web3 startups. Despite the fund’s specific industry focus, Ms. Haun is not concerned about lack of diversification. She is confident in the future growth potential of crypto and Web3 and sees a lot of diversification within each of these ecosystems.
“I’ve spent almost a decade in this space, and I certainly see this as the future,” Ms. Haun remarked. “So I’m not worried about the opportunity set. And I’m also not worried about diversification because of how dramatically the space and the ecosystem have grown.”
Through her board positions, Ms. Haun has exposure to leading crypto and NFT companies. She sits on board of directors of Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States, and OpenSea, a leading NFT platform.
Optimism About the Cryptocurrency Market
Despite the recent fall in crypto prices, Ms. Haun views the industry from a long-term perspective. “One of the things I’ve learned as an investor with a long-term view of the space, is that great products are going to be built and great protocols are going to be built, no matter what the prices are.”
Investor appetite for backing Web3 startups remains strong. In 2021, approximately $25 billion in venture capital money was invested in blockchain startups. That figure represents an eightfold increase from the prior year.
In announcing her debut fund, Ms. Haun stated, “We believe the next generation of the internet deserves a new generation of investors.” The ultimate success of Haun Ventures may depend on the momentum of the cryptocurrency market. The venture capital and regulatory experience of Ms. Haun and her team gives her fund a distinct advantage in weathering market changes.