Pontem Network Investor Spotlight
In one of our recent posts, we explained the basics of venture capital and fundraising for crypto projects. We also broke down what a private token sale is and how it has revolutionized venture financing. (Make sure to read that article here if you have not already.) Towards the end of the post, we mentioned that Pontem Network raised investor funds through a private token sale.
Today, we are going to tell you a little bit more about that fundraising round and shine a spotlight on our incredible investors. Each one brings their own unique expertise, focus, and investing thesis. Together, they form a supportive community who help Pontem Network grow and push us to succeed. We truly could not do what we do without them!
Pontem’s Private Token Sale
In June, we announced our $4.5 million fundraising round with more than 30 participants.
Technically, this raise came between the “Seed” and “Series A” in traditional VC lingo, but it still served the same purpose: equipping Pontem with the capital we need to keep building and connecting us with smart, experienced mentors. Because we used a private token sale, our backers received Pontem tokens with governance rights instead of equity in our company.
This was Pontem’s largest fundraising event to date, following a previous seed round with our two lead investors, Mechanism Capital and Kenetic Capital. Lead investors are, fittingly, the “leaders'' of a fundraising round. They put up the most capital and often handle the logistics and behind-the-scenes needs, including making connections to other partners for tasks like accounting and legal work.
Name: Kenetic Capital
Investment Thesis/Focus: Blockchain Technology, Asia-focused
Major Investments: Red Date, Caspian, Auros
Kenetic Capital is one of our two lead investors who participated in both of our fundraising rounds. Founded by Jehan Chu, Kenetic has invested in blockchain projects since 2013. One of their most intriguing investments is in Red Date, which is building software for China’s Blockchain-based Services Network (BSN), a nationalized blockchain infrastructure. Since Red Date is instrumental in creating a national blockchain for the world’s largest country and economy, Kinetic Capital has invested in an extremely important project. The firm focuses on Series A and Series B stage companies. They also focus on Asian companies, although they do invest globally. Kenetic also manages Auros, a proprietary cryptocurrency market maker.
Name: Mechanism Capital
Investment Thesis/Focus: Crypto, NFTs, Blockchain Gaming
Major Investments: Nansen, Banqi, Yield Guild Games, PleasrDAO
Mechanism Capital is the other of our two lead investors. Their principal focus is blockchain projects, including non-fungible tokens, play-to-earn blockchain gaming, cryptocurrencies, and more.
Name: Animoca Brands
Investment Thesis/Focus: “To deliver digital property rights to the world's gamers and Internet users, thereby creating a new asset class, play-to-earn economies, and a more equitable digital framework contributing to the building of the open metaverse.”
Major Investments: Axie Infinity, Yield Guild Gaming, Dapper Labs, OpenSea
We profiled Animoca Brands in our article on trends in NFT gaming because Animoca is one of the most important players in that space. Founded by Yat Siu, the Hong Kong-based Animoca is known for its partnerships with high-profile brands for NFT gaming, with intellectual property licensed from Formula 1®, Marvel, WWE, Power Rangers, MotoGP™, and Doraemon. They also created the popular NFT-based MMO game, The Sandbox, which we covered in our article on NFTs and augmented reality. In addition to their game development business, Animoca Brands also invests in NFT and blockchain products, including Pontem Network. We are grateful to join huge names like Sky Mavis (creator of Axie Infinity), Dapper Labs (creator of CryptoKitties and NBA Top Shot), OpenSea, and Alien Worlds. (We profiled many of these products in our deep dives on play-to-earn gaming and NFT collectibles.)
Name: Web3 Foundation
Investment Thesis/Focus: “Software development and research in the field of decentralized software protocols”
Major Investments: Polkadot, Kusama
The Web3 Foundation is not technically a lead investor since they did not participate in our VC raise. However, the Web3 Foundation gave us a hugely important grant in February before our private token sale. The foundation gives grants to projects which develop the software infrastructure for Web3.0, the future of the Internet. Our grant sponsors our efforts to make the Move language, which is ideal for smart contracts, compatible with Facebook-backed Diem.
Investment Thesis/Focus: “Accelerator for developers building decentralized applications like lending, derivatives, stablecoins, getting funding for community work, and things not yet imagined.”
Major Investments: Aave, Sushiswap, Topps NFTs
Avalanche is a smart contracts platform that’s built for decentralized finance, with a focus on speed, reliability, and scalability. We previously called Avalanche a potential “Ethereum-killer” because of its blazing fast transaction times! Avalanche also had one of the most succesful private token sales of all time, garnering $230 million for its AVAX tokens. Avalanche-X is Avalanche’s venture arm, which distributes grants to “moonshot” projects building decentralized applications. Currently, Avalanche-X has open grants for projects building decentralized exchanges, lending, stablecoins, derivatives platforms, and volatility indices on Avalanche.
Name: Delphi Ventures
Investment Thesis/Focus: “With our global team of dedicated analysts, specialising in specific sectors of the digital asset industry, we assess projects down to their minute details; from their specific use case and economic models, to their community and cultural impact.”
Major Investments: Avalanche, Solana, Bitcoin, Axie Infinity
Delphi Ventures is the investment arm of Delphi Digital, a “cutting-edge crypto research” firm.The company was originally founded to bring institutional-grade research to the crypto industry, and has since expanded into a multi-pronged enterprise. In addition to venture investing, the company also publishes research reports on the blockchain space and develops new projects through its Delphi Labs division.
Name: Alameda Ventures
Investment Thesis/Focus: “A pragmatic, real-world oriented approach to finance - making it more accessible for all.”
Major Investments: Solana, Paraswap, Clover, Blockfolio
Alameda Research, founded in 2017, is a leading high-frequency trading and market making firm in cryptocurrencies and blockchain. The firm manages $10 billion in digital assets and trades over $1 billion per day across major coins, altcoins, and derivatives. Alameda Ventures is the investment arm of the firm, which invests in all types of blockchain and finance companies. They offer guidance on a wide range of topics, including “tokenomic design, governance, token liquidity to operation, legal and audit.”
Other investors who participated in our round include: Genesis Block Ventures, Spartan Capital, Altonomy, CMS Holdings, Momentum 6, Taureon, AU21 Capital, GIBC, and more!