Investments in crypto, Web3 startups and blockchain ventures are on the rise worldwide, and in Europe the situation is no different. It's also no surprise that this is leading to investment firms intensifying their efforts in finding and backing the most promising upstarts in these fields, and sector-dedicated venture firms to pop up like mushrooms all over the place (e.g. Fabric Ventures, BlueYard, Tioga Capital, Maven 11, Greenfield One, Semantic, etc.).
Kraken Ventures, one of the most recognisable vertical investors out there by virtue of its association with US-based crypto exchange Kraken, is also upping its game.
Today, the firm is announcing the close of its first fund at $65 million, and formally presenting a recent hire who will lead their early-stage investments in European crypto, fintech, DeFi, blockchain tech-centric and Web3 companies.
Laurens De Poorter, a young Belgian, has joined Kraken Ventures from Dawn Capital, where he was focused on fintech and B2B SaaS investments, to spearhead the charge.
De Poorter cut his teeth as an entrepreneur - he made a fair but ultimately unsuccessful attempt to tokenise real estate investments in his home country - and with stints at Boston Consulting Group, Google's moonshot factory X, and as a growth equity investor at Global Founders Capital.
I caught up with him to see what we can expect from Austin, Texas-headquartered Kraken Ventures in Europe, now that its fresh fund has been closed. In short: $500,000 to $2 million tickets into young companies building promising 'underlying technologies powering the next wave of crypto and fintech innovation'.
“The European crypto scene is booming. Deal count doubled in the last two years and continues to accelerate,” said De Poorter. “With the influx of institutional money and impending regulation wave, one of the most promising areas will be the intersection of crypto and fintech. I couldn’t be more excited to join Kraken Ventures and look forward to working with the broader team to identify the most promising opportunities out there.”
“In this competitive industry, what makes Kraken Ventures really stand out is the amount of time and resources it can allocate to each of its portfolio companies, allowing it to add real value to the businesses it invests in,” De Poorter added.
An interesting note: Kraken is not the only LP in the $65 million fund, which also raised capital from a group of (unnamed) 'global institutional investors'.
We'll be watching its investments in Europe closely.