Katie Haun, who co-led Andreessen Horowitz’s crypto arm before announcing her departure this past December, is ready to take the wraps off her new organization, which she’s calling Haun Ventures. The venture capital firm is devoted to backing crypto startups and is launching with $1.5 billion in capital across two funds — a $500 million early stage fund and a $1 billion “acceleration” fund.
The firm’s launch is one of the more hyped debut funds in recent memory. Haun was one of Andreessen Horowitz’s most high-profile defectors in years, having served as the public face for its crypto efforts at a time when the firm’s founders were increasingly stepping back from the public light.
“We believe the next generation of the internet deserves a new generation of investors,” Haun wrote in a blog post announcing the fund.
The success of Haun Ventures may depend heavily on timing. The crypto bull run is already a couple years deep and many of the more active elements of the market appear to be deep into correction territory at the moment. Cryptocurrency prices are down, as are NFT sales and total value locked on DeFi protocols. Meanwhile, plenty of unicorn crypto startups have already filled their war chests to weather any market downturns.
Those macro factors have not seemed to halt the pace of crypto deals getting done, however, and Haun Ventures has already participated in a handful of them including Aptos, Autograph and OpenSea’s Series C. The $1.5 billion in capital puts Haun Ventures in the company of other crypto native funds like Paradigm and Electric Capital which have debuted large funds in recent months.
All of that new money is spread across just a handful of employees. The Haun Ventures team has just nine team members but has “plans to expand quickly.” Several of the team members are coming straight from a16z including marketing chief Rachael Horwitz, global policy head Tomicah Tillemann and comms lead Nicholas Pacilio. Sam Rosenblum is joining from Polychain Capital and Chris Lehane is coming aboard as chief strategy officer after a lengthy stint as Airbnb’s policy chief.
It certainly appears that Haun Ventures will aim to lead into regulatory expertise as one of the firm’s defining advantages, which isn’t entirely surprising given Haun’s background as a federal prosecutor with the DOJ. This framing will, however, directly put it up against Andreessen Horowitz, which has gone to great lengths to build up its own crypto policy arm. For now, the firms are clearly aiming to play nice, having already co-invested in a number of deals while a16z is a large investor in Haun Ventures as are a handful of the firm’s top partners.