Uniswap Joins the Hunt for Web3 Startups with New Venture Arm

UniLabsVentures

Uniswap Labs, the team behind the leading decentralized exchange, has launched a venture wing to make early-stage investments in web3, it announced on April 11.

Uniswap said Uniswap Labs Ventures (ULV) will invest in web3 protocols with aligned values. Uniswap’s former strategy lead, Matteo Leibowitz, and Uniswap COO Mary-Catherine Lader will both lead ULV’s operations. Uniswap did not say how much money it planned to raise.

“As a crypto-native development team, we’re uniquely positioned to support the teams we invest in as they launch and grow. We’re excited to leverage our experience to help these teams build and scale,” Uniswap said in a blog post.

UNI Tumble

The news received mixed reactions on Twitter, with many commenters complaining about Uniswap’s price performance. UNI has tumbled 70% in the last 12 months, which is about the same as rival PancakeSwap, according to CoinGecko data. 

A UNI investor called ChainlinkFren queried where the investment capital originates from, to which ‘yourfriendSOMMI’ replied “they’re gonna give them UNI tokens to dump us further into the ground.” 

‘ArdinCryptoApe’ described the launch of Uniswap’s new venture wing as the team taking “a more lucrative and easier” path. “Disappointed,” they added.

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Uniswap is not the only web3 development team to expand into venture investment. Cake DeFi announced a $100M venture fund last month following the launch of OpenSea Ventures in February. Other DeFi founders have become prolific investors, with Aave’s Stani Kulechov backing roughly three dozen teams in the space.

The ULV team said it has already invested in 11 web3 entities, including PartyDAO, an NFT fractionalization project, Tenderly, and Ethereum developer platform, and LayerZero, a year-old multichain project that’s raised capital from Binance Labs and other top players. ULV said t plans to invest in a wide range of protocols from infrastructure to developer tools and consumer-facing applications.

Governance

ULV emphasized it will participate in the on and off-chain governance of portfolio companies. It named MakerDAO, Aave, Compound, and Ethereum Name Service as protocols where it already plans to participate in governance.

Not all investors are skeptical of UVL. Some on social media said the move will make web3 more accessible. 

Ryan Rasmussen of Bitwise said ULV will help Uniswap’s team deepen its expertise the same way web2 firms did.  “Web2 companies like Google, Facebook, & Amazon did the same thing,” Rasmussen said on Twitter. “Doubling down on the tech that paved the way for their success. Google Ventures invested in DocuSign, HubSpot, Uber, Robinhood. Expect to see more web3 companies following the trend.”

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