A group of former executives from Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, has set up a $ 100 million venture capital fund, the team told TechCrunch on Thursday.
Old Fashion Research (OFR) – whose name comes from the classic cocktail – was founded in late 2021 by the management of colleagues Ling Zhang, former vice president of joint ventures and acquisitions at Binance, and Wayne Fu , former head of crypto exchange business development.
The fund will focus on the metaverse and bring greater adoption of crypto to new markets such as Latin America and Africa, Zhang told TechCrunch.
“We want to work with founders in the long term,” Zhang said. “We are very focused on the southern hemisphere.… We target all emerging markets, but our goal and vision is to accelerate adoption there.
At Binance, Zhang is responsible for several strategic acquisitions and investments, including FTX, Multicoin Capital, and CertiK.
The capital was raised by limited partners, traditional venture capital funds, family offices and angel investors inside and outside the crypto ecosystem, with global gaming platform WEMIX as the leading investment, Zhang said.
The project has been operating in stealth mode to date, but has invested in more than 50 blockchain projects to date, including the Nansen blockchain analytics platform, WOO Network trading platform, NFT game to win Genopets and the largest gaming community in Africa, Metaverse Magna.
“We strongly believe in the metaverse, not only in user activity, but also in asset perspective,” Zhang said. “We believe web3 is the very first step in change [our] self -identity and asset management.
Wei Zhou, the former CFO of Binance, will serve as strategic advisor and investor to OFR, and its venture capital arm will be supported by his partner Jiang Xin, who leads major investment deals and Launchpad at Binance Labs such as Axie Infinity , Moonbeam, Alpha Finance and more.
“Market conditions have been relatively cool since the start of the year and we believe this is an opportunity rather than a challenge for OFR,” Xin said. “Since [the fund] recently launched, we may see cheaper and more reasonable prices during a downturn in the market and more bubbles will come out.
Zhang said he has noticed the growing interest in funds entering the crypto space or the launch of new funds to invest in crypto after seeing the potential of blockchain technology and the crypto ecosystem.
“More and more VCs are looking for ways to invest in crypto projects,” Zhang said. “Crypto itself is a revolution and a destruction of the capital plate. It is no longer centralized in a top-down approach.
Earlier this week, Andreessen Horowitz announced its fourth crypto-focused fund for $ 4.5 billion. The fund, more than double the size of the $ 2.2 billion third fund, will dedicate a third of its mega-fund exclusively to seed deals.
Over the past few weeks, several mega-funds have been launched in the crypto space, showing that even if markets can be low, venture capitalists are cashing in on sentiment and continue to invest in the crypto space.
When asked if bearish sentiments in the market would scare traditional companies from continuing to invest in crypto, a general partner Arianna Simpson told TechCrunch that “it’s likely that other companies will pull,” but that “the size of our new fund speaks to the level of excitement and conviction we have in this category.
Zhang echoed, as market downturns offer investors seeking to spread capital an explanation in the void of what bets to make.
“This is the best time for us to identify long-time believers in the crypto space and this is the best time to make investments and dig into more projects,” Zhang said.