VC Roundup: Blockchain infrastructure, data analytics and BTC for DeFi catching investors’ attention

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The second month of 2024 has offered solid prospects for crypto venture capital. The start of February witnessed $16 million in funding secured by the cross-chain protocol Analog, alongside another $15 million in capital allocated to the Lava Protocol.

Also making headlines in the alternative investment space are private equity firms Deus X Capital and Bridgetower Capital. The companies are launching a new $250 million crypto infrastructure platform dedicated to institutional investors in the Middle East.

Venture capitalists are also seeking direct exposure to cryptocurrencies. Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund reportedly pumped $200 million into Bitcoin and Ether in 2023, as speculation of a pending approval for spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) ramped in the United States over the past year.

Cointelegraph’s VC Roundup features some startups that raised capital in the first half of February.

Lava Network raises $15 million in seed funding for modular network

Lava Protocol has raised $15 million in a seed round led by Jump Capital, Hashkey Capital and Tribe Capital. The funding comes just a few months before its mainnet launch in the spring and will be used to support Lava’s modular network.

The platform seeks to make communication between protocols easier through RPC requests, or Remote Procedure Call. According to Lava’s team, the current landscape for blockchain infrastructure is highly fragmented and complex, requiring developers to make trade-offs about what they build.

“For a long time, infrastructure providers decide which chains to serve — they control the keys to all the doors. Developers use Lava to build whatever, wherever,” noted Lava’s founder Yair Cleper in a statement.

Other investors in the round included Alliance, Node, North Island, Quiet, Finality, and Dispersion Capital, in addition to validators, ecosystems and founders of Cosmos, Polkadot, Filecoin, StarkWare, Axelar, Near, Celestia, and Celo. 

RW3 Ventures secures $60 million for blockchain fund

Early-stage venture capital firm RW3 Ventures has raised $60 million in capital from The Raptor Group and Mubadala Capital, one of the sovereign wealth funds of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The capital will seed RW3’s Ventures Fund I LP, dedicated to blockchain infrastructure and decentralized finance. The crypto VC is led by two former BitGo executives: Pete Najarian and Joe Bruzzesi. The fund targets opportunities from pre-seed through Series A and focuses on teams using blockchain technology to disrupt industries and businesses with sizable addressable markets. 

Helika raises $8 million from Pantera Capital, other investors in Series A round

Data analytics and infrastructure firm Helika announced the closing of an $8 million Series A round, led by Pantera Capital alongside Sparkle Ventures, Diagram Ventures, and Sfermion. The funding will support the development of AI-powered game management products. Helika provides off-chain and on-chain analytics, LiveOps and A/B testing products for gaming studios. Helika is said to have reached seven figures in revenue in less than a year following a $4 million seed round led by Diagram Ventures in early 2023.

Truflation raises $6 million for inflation data

Data provider Truflation raised $6 million in funding from several investors, including Laser Digital, Red Beard Ventures, Modular Capital, Abra, G20, and Four Seasons Ventures (4SV), in addition to previous investors Chainlink, Fundamental Labs, C2squared, Cogitent Ventures, and the Israeli Blockchain Association. Truflation gathers data from independent, commercial, and public sources for measuring the changes in inflation on a daily basis — an alternative to government data released on a monthly basis. The company provides independent indexes and data feeds, with Chainlink infrastructure making it available on-chain.

Omega Secures $6 million for Bitcoin-DeFi integration

Omega has secured $6 million in funding across three rounds from several investors, promising to enable yield generation for Bitcoin holders. The funding was backed by Lightspeed Faction, Borderless Capital, Bankless Ventures, Wave Digital, Blockchain.com, Blockchain Founders Fund, Kronos Ventures, XTBO Humla, Cadenza, Psalion Ventures, AlphaLab Capital, Side Door Ventures, and others. The startup is developing a decentralized platform for Bitcoin (BTC) collateralization, enabling users to generate yield through their layer-1 Bitcoin assets. Its beta version is planned for release by mid-year.