Union Square Ventures (USV), a 19-year-old New York venture capital firm, has raised $275 million for its eighth early stage fund and $350 million for its fourth opportunity fund, the firm announced in Blog post yesterday.
Sharing the news of the two new vehicles, firm partners Andy Weissman and firm general counsel Samson Mesele wrote that USV plans to “invest our new funds along the same thesis as our previous funds: we are looking for opportunities in the market that align with our Thesis 3.0.” (USV previously wrote that this updated thesis focuses on “trusted brands that expand access to knowledge, capital, and well-being through the use of networks, platforms, and protocols.”)
Accordingly, USV will continue to invest in “both Web2 and Web3 companies and projects,” the post reads without further details.
Early last year, when Weissman announced in a similar blog post that USV had raised $250 million for its seventh core fundhe explicitly wrote that, as with USV’s “last few funds,” the firm planned to invest approximately 30% of the capital in crypto-related investments, and that it intended to hold tokens and capital in blockchain-related projects at an early stage.
One of these new, related bets Polygon, a platform for Ethereum scaling and infrastructure development. (USV, which got into crypto earlier than most companies, was also an early investor in Coinbase and held 8.2% of Class B shares at the time of the direct offering last year.)
Some of the new USV rates include Slope, developer of an API that allows retailers to offer “buy now, pay later” services; a two-year-old Egyptian electric vehicle start-up called Shift EV, which aims to convert fuel-powered vehicles into electric vehicles using batteries it designs and manufactures; Alife, a two-year-old San Francisco startup that is trying to increase efficiency IVF procedures through AI; and Gumball, a biennial Los Angeles-based podcast advertising marketplace founded by podcast company Headgum.
USV, which also closed its first climate fund last year with a $162 million capital commitment, has seen its fair share of exits over the years. Just last month, a three-year public stock trading platform bought Otis is a startup that allows individual investors to acquire stakes in alternative assets, including NFTs and sports memorabilia. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, although data from Crunchbase shows Otis has raised $16.5 million from investors including USV and Maveron.
Apart from Coinbase, other large USV stakes included Etsy and Twitter, companies in which USV owned more than 15% and at least 5%, respectively, at the time of their public offering, according to their S-1 filings.
Indeed, USV co-founder Fred Wilson remains very active on Twitter and tweeted Earlier this month, he thought Twitter was “too important to be owned and operated by one person. The opposite should happen. Twitter must be decentralized as a protocol that supports an ecosystem of communications products and services.”
After Elon Musk’s offer to buy the company was accepted by its board earlier this week, Wilson softened his stance a bit in his newsletter, writing: “I continue to believe that one person who owns one of the most important communications protocols on the Internet, is a bad idea, but perhaps it could be a bridge to something better.”
Credit: techcrunch.com /