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welcome back chain reactionA podcast that interviews news makers in crypto to better understand the technology behind the hype and the people working to build a decentralized future.
for this week episode, Jacqueline Interview Ariana SimpsonGeneral Partner at Andreessen Horowitz (commonly known as a16z).
Prior to joining A16z, Ariana founded Autonomous Partners, an investment fund focused on crypto. He also helped launch Crystal Towers Capital, an early-stage fund that invests primarily in YC companies.
A16z has ventured deeper into the crypto space after launching four funds dedicated to the industry. The most recent one closed in May 2022 at $4.5 billion, and Ariana thinks that’s fair given the size of the opportunity.
“I definitely think the ecosystem has grown to a size where it absolutely supports a fund of this size and that’s why we raised a fund of this size,” Simpson said. “We didn’t have to inflate any numbers; We chose a number that we felt spoke to the size of the opportunity. The ecosystem has clearly grown tremendously and continues to attract early stage entrepreneurs building across the board.
When asked if there would be a fifth crypto fund from a16z, Simpson said, “I certainly hope so.” He added that a16z “will continue to adjust the size of our fund in line with the opportunities we see in the market.”
Some of the firm’s portfolio companies include large crypto players we’ve interviewed in the past, such as Alchemy, Avalanche and Aptos.
Over the past few years, investment opportunities have expanded “into a whole new world of consumer applications, experiences and products that weren’t possible a few years ago because they couldn’t run on blockchain, and now they are,” Simpson said. “To me, that’s really exciting: There’s this whole world of applications that consumers can use.”
We talked about Simpson’s background, how her strategy has changed over the years, what she looks for in founders and whether she’ll launch another VC firm in the future.
We also discussed:
- current investment climate
- web3 gaming space
- where the founders are building
- regulatory landscape
- advice for founders
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