Web3’s venture company Variant has raised a $450 million general fund, including a $150 million seed fund for early-stage projects and $300 million to support teams “with demonstrated traction from our portfolio and beyond,” according to the official press release. Led by a16z veterans Li Jin, Jesse Walden and Spencer Noon, the company emphasizes investments in user-owned networks that could create favorable economic conditions.

With a core focus on user experience and ownership, Variant’s new fund, its third so far, focuses on areas such as DeFi, blockchain infrastructure, consumer applications, stablecoins, and projects experimenting with a new form of capital ownership. Variant’s various portfolios include high profile Web3 projects including Uniswap, Mirror, Foundation, Magic Eden and Polygon. The fund is launched at a time when the crypto winter has postponed the inflow of capital for relevant investments. According to data from Crunchbase, venture capital cryptocurrency investments totaled $9.3 billion in the first half of 2022, down 26% from last year. General Partner Jesse Walden described the fund’s investment thesis as “being the marquee seed fund on Web3”, as he believed that such a strategy acts as the foundation that determines the size of the fund. He explained in part why the first two only raised $110 million and $22.5 million, respectively, a relatively small amount compared to venture capital giants like a16z. By staying small, the founders believe they could guide entrepreneurs through the difficult phases “they face early in their journey.” Co-founder Li Jin saw the next three to five years as a critical period in which a group of highly competent Web3 projects will drive mainstream adoption. Compared to traditional Web2 behemoths, he argued, Web3 projects would financially empower users by allowing them to genuinely own their capital output.

“Web2 was digital feudalism and Web3 is digital capitalism. Web3 is a paradigm shift as it introduces capitalism to the Internet. It introduces the ability of people to own capital and become owners of capital of their own production.”

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