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Katie Haun launches the world’s biggest female-backed VC fund

Posted by Carol Mahamedi

March 25, 2022    |     3-minute read (458 words)

Cryptoasset investor and Haun Ventures founder Katie Haun, an alumna of Andreessen Horowitz, has raised $1.5 billion to invest in crypto-related startups for her new firm’s first fund. According to data from PitchBook, that makes it the biggest VC fund ever launched by a female partner without another partner included in the deal. 

The fund will invest in Web3 startups, with $500 million allocated for early-stage ventures and $1 billion allocated for firms ready to accelerate growth. “Web3 is the new era of the internet, and it deserves a new era of investors,” Haun said in an interview with CNBC last year after her surprise departure from Andreesen Horowitz.

What is Web3?

Web3 is an attempt to create a democratized, decentralized internet built on the blockchain. “We think open platforms will win through loyalty, transparency, and trust by delivering better incentives than the walled gardens that came before,” Haun wrote in her blog announcing the funds.

Proponents say in the Web3 era, platforms will be owned by communities of users rather than profit-making companies.  Users would be responsible for the operation of platforms with total transparency because their actions would be recorded. They would earn crypto tokens for contributing to the platform, which in turn would confer them more decision-making power.

The Web3 space is still in an experimental phase as entrepreneurs around the world try to design and build the technologies and protocols to support it. And not all blockchain companies refer to themselves as in the Web3 sector. 

According to Crunchbase, funding to startups using words like “decentralized web'' and “Web3” to describe themselves have seen a leap in funding since last year. In 2021, $380 million in 93 deals went to companies describing themselves as Web3 startups, and at the time of publication, over $173 million had been allocated to 34 Web3 startups in 2022.

Web3 is not without detractors

Some high-profile skeptics maintain that Web3 is merely an attempt to rebrand crypto. For example, Tesla CEO Elon Musk famously described Web3 as more of a “marketing buzzword” than a reality in a controversial tweet.

Meanwhile, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey has said that venture capitalists and their limited partners will end up owning Web3, and London-based software engineer and “The Case Against Cryptocurrency: The Failed Financial Revolution” co-author Stephen Diehl refers to Web3 as a “vapid marketing campaign” on his blog.

The controversy has not gone unnoticed by Haun, who told CNBC, “I look at it as Web3 finally getting some of the critics it deserves in the space. If I could have the choice between Jack Dorsey offering some critiques versus some of the myths that we’ve heard perpetrated for so long in the space, I would certainly choose the former.”

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