EdgeIn hopes to be a faster, community-driven, ‘CrunchBase for Web3’

https://techcrunch.com/2023/08/04/edgein-hopes-to-be-a-faster-community-driven-crunchbase-for-web3/

As we saw with the collapse of FTX, the Web3 space leaves a lot to be desired in terms of transparent information about companies, fundings, management and a slew of other data that really is commonplace and ‘de rigueur’ in the ‘normal’ tech industry. And there are far too many so-called ‘Web3 analyst’ houses that are borderline conflicted.

But, let’s face, it the ‘Web2’ space doesn’t have all the answers either. Subscribing to platforms like Pitchbook and Crunchbase can be an expensive business, expecially for the for the everyday individual builder who doesn’t have access to a corporate expense account, making it difficult to access reliable, trustworthy, web3 data for the average person.

After a while in Beta, a new startup, now formally coming out of the gate, hopes to change this.

EdgeIn is a new database platform which it says is aiming to “level the playing field for builders in Web3” to “erode Big Venture/Hedge’s advantage/stranglehold” over the market, it says.

Put simply, the platform is pulling in lots of different data sets in a familiar database format and making it either (mostly) freely available or charging a low subscription.

The Web3 dataset on companies, projects and investments will cost $14.99/month, and offer real-time updates on companies, people, deals and events. Unusually, it will also offer emails of users on the platform (I’m not sure how that will play with Europe’s GDPR however).

Cofounder and CEO Redg Snodgrass told me the idea for the platform came from ‘scratching his own itch’ in terms of a desire to get reliable data for discovery, due diligence and competitive analysis: “We spoke with 100s of investment analysts and associates (the workhorses) and heard the same pain points over and over. Crunchbase is stale and unreliable. Pitchbook is too expensive and out of reach especially for web3-specific data. Other incumbents in the space move too slow. Everyone wanted a better, more collaborative experience.”

There are currently two user journeys on the site: company and investor. The platform pulls in lots of data sets from partners such as Harmonic.ai or Amberdata, and indexes companies itself. A companies page offers ‘Recently Discovered’ Web3 projects. This is a short view of a company, plus users can tag-up companies, add a reaction or add it to a personal list.

It also displays a company index which can be filtered on funding, geography, trending, recently acquired or shut down.

An activity timeline shows events related to a company listing, such as fundraising, acquisitions, hiring events, plus the company’s team, as well as investment data. On the Investors page you can see they invest in certain tags, but a user can also contrast with their actual deals.

Finally, if users see missing data, they can make suggestions on the platform which – EdgeIn claims – can be acted upon in around an hour.

EdgeIn claims to have indexed over 90% of the Web3 market to date, and listed 50,000 Web3 companies and projects, with 4,000 active investor profiles and over 20,000 builders. The company eventually plans to target Generative AI, AR/VR and a few other alpha markets.

Community members have free access to around 25,000 published companies, and since anyone can provide data, EdgeIn wants to create incentivize structures for that, such as with tokens. In addition, EdgeIn will be releasing an API.

Founded by Snodgrass, Ashley Brown and Raymond Lopez, the company is currently bootstrapping and has raised $400,000 from a handful of angel investors including Mike Dinsdale (Akkadian Ventures, DocuSign, DoorDash, Gusto), Mike Borozdin (DocuSign, Google), Jeremy Clover (Circle), Pedram Amini, Bayo Okusanya and Ulises Merino Núñez. The company is now in the process of raising a $1.5M pre-seed round at an $8 million cap.

London lures a16z’s first international office with ‘predictable’ crypto regs

https://techcrunch.com/2023/06/12/london-lures-a16zs-first-international-office-with-predictable-crypto-regs/

US VC giant Andreessen Horowitz — which has about $35bn in assets under management — is to open its first (yes, the first) international office in London, led by one of the firm’s general partners, Sriram Krishnan. The office will focus on supporting the development of crypto, blockchain technologies and associated Web3 startups. a16z has committed $7.6bn to crypto startups globally.

Chris Dixon, who leads a16z’s crypto investments, said: “London is a major financial hub, it’s a major tech hub and frankly it’s a very attractive place for people to live. You just need to get it to a critical mass to really get it going and we’re hoping that we can become a part of that and nudge [London] into being a more active hub of technology.”

His comments may come as a slight surprise to the numerous VCs and unicorns that have exploded from the city in the last 15 or so years. That said, he said the decision came after a “productive dialogue” with the U.K. prime minister, HM Treasury, U.K. policymakers, and the Financial Conduct Authority.

The move comes at a time when the SEC has been cracking down on the crypto industry, suing cryptocurrency exchanges Coinbase and Binance for allegedly breaching its rules. London’s long history in the finance world, large FinTech centre and softer regulatory approach to crypto has almost certainly played into a16z’s thinking on this strategic move.

Dixon said the UK’s “thoughtful approach” to crypto contrasted with the legal uncertainty in the US, although the firm re-affirmed its commitments to US crypto companies. “Our assessment is the UK is ahead of the curve and instituting [crypto] policies that will eventually becoming a global standard,” he added.

The UK government has already made noises about create a more hospitable climate for Web3 compared to the US, keen as it is to re-establish London as a fintech centre after the loss of so much EU-based finance business.

London has lost public listings, blocked mergers, and been criticised by exiting entrepreneurs such as Monzo founder Tom Blomfield, while the appeal of rival European capitals, such as Paris, has grown. According to VC firm Atomico, the UK has also suffered a 57 per cent drop in tech investment this year, the sharpest decline among big European markets, compared with the first half of 2022.

However, the UK appears to be on a mission to attract crypto businesses, developing a regulatory framework for digital assets trading that falls closer to standards for securities such as stocks and bonds than in the US.

Rishi Sunak, UK prime minister, said in a statement that he was “thrilled” at Andreessen Horowitz’s arrival, which he said was “testament to our world-class universities and talent and our strong competitive business environment”. Sunak added that a16z’s expansion was down to having the “right regulation and guardrails” to “foster innovation.”

Andreessen Horowitz is however, quite late to the European party, coming over a year after Sequoia set up its London office, among other US firms.

In addition to the new office, a16z has also announced its plan to launch a new “Crypto Startup School” (CSS) program in London in the spring (March to June) of 2024.

In a speech to open London Tech Week, Sunak also added that he wanted the UK to be the “geographical home of global AI safety regulation.” He plans to establish a global AI watchdog in London.

Separately, Gensyn, a provider of blockchain-based computing resources for AI secured a $43 million, Series A funding round, led by a16z.

London lures a16z’s first international office with ‘predictable’ crypto regs by Mike Butcher originally published on TechCrunch

Success with Rihanna’s music rights helps web3 marketplace raise fresh VC round

https://techcrunch.com/2023/05/16/success-with-rihannas-music-rights-helps-web3-marketplace-raise-fresh-vc-round/

Normally in the music industry, it’s more or less impossible for ordinary investors to buy music rights. Thus, web3 startups saw an opportunity to tokenize music assets, allowing fans access to music rights in a wholly new fashion.

Of course, this garnered a lot of interest during the crypto boom a couple of years ago.

For example, Royal launched an NFT-based music platform which allowed fans to buy and sell tokenized ownership of songs. Its marketplace sells tokens representing a percentage of the music’s streaming rights, plus extras. That way, it says, fans earn royalties alongside the artist and get paid when they do.

Royal went on to raised a total of $71 million, including from the likes of a16z Crypto.

In theory, the ire for these types of platforms might have cooled since those heady days of the crypto boom.

But, clearly, blockchain is like a Zombie that refuses to lie down. Why? Because, so far, no one has come up with a better way to prove you own something.

That’s good news for web3 music company AnotherBlock, based out of Sweden.

Founded by Michel D. Traore, Sebastian Ljungberg and Filip Strömsten in 2022, the blockchain-based marketplace for music has now raised a €4 million funding round led by U.K.-based Stride.VC. Also participating was the artist Axwell of Swedish House Mafia.

Prior to this round, the startup had raised a $1.2 million pre-seed round from VC J12 and some angel investors.

Similarly to Royal, AnotherBlock’s marketplace for music rights uses NFTs and tokens to generate royalties related to ownership. Artists receive a transaction payment/trade-royalty each time the NFT is traded.

This is all very well, but it’s clearly getting genuine interest from the music industry.

For example, Jamil “Deputy” Pierre, a co-producer on Rihanna’s “B–ch Better Have My Money,” raked in a reported $63,000 after he sold his personal royalties for the song as an NFT via AnotherBlock. This was because Rihanna’s performance at the Super Bowl LVII halftime show featuring the song went viral.

That said, the listing of the song wasn’t all plain-sailing, with OpenSea delisting the BBHMM NFT collection for unknown reasons.

Under the NFT ownership agreement with AnotherBlock, secondary sales are also permitted and the rights owner is required to pay NFT holders their percentage of any streaming royalties earned, no less than twice a year.

Gabbi Cahane, partner at Stride.VC, said in a statement: “This proposition could be a seismic shift for an industry that has traditionally been extremely protective over the ownership of IP.”

AnotherBlock’s other artists include The Weeknd, Martin Garrix, Alan Walker, Offset and R3HAB.

“I have followed AnotherBlock since the beginning, and it is clear that their work aligns with their vision. Enabling greater rights flexibility is the future of the industry. It creates a whole new freedom for creators to share the financial incentives with fans, which are the most important thing we have,” added Axwell, in a statement.

Success with Rihanna’s music rights helps web3 marketplace raise fresh VC round by Mike Butcher originally published on TechCrunch