Union Square Ventures (USV), the 19-year-old New York-based venture firm, has raised $275 million for its eighth seed-stage fund and $350 million for its fourth opportunity fund, the firm announced in a news release. blog yesterday.
Sharing the news of the two new vehicles, firm partners Andy Weissman and firm general counsel Samson Mesele wrote that USV plans to “invest our new funds around the same thesis as our previous funds: we are looking for opportunities in the market that align with our Thesis 3.0”. (USV previously wrote that this updated thesis focuses on “trusted brands that expand access to knowledge, capital, and well-being by leveraging networks, platforms, and protocols.)
Related to this, USV will continue to invest in “both Web2 and Web3 companies and projects,” the publication reads, without elaborating.
Early last year, when Weissman announced in a similar blog post that USV had raised $250 million for its seventh core fund, he explicitly wrote that, like USV’s “last funds,” the company planned to invest roughly 30% of capital in cryptocurrencies. -related investments and that he intended to hold tokens and shares in early-stage blockchain-related projects.
One of these newer related bets is Polygon, a platform for Ethereum infrastructure development and scaling. (USV, which got into crypto before most companies, was also an early investor in Coinbase, owning 8.2% of its Class B shares at the time of its direct offering last year.)
Some of USV’s latest ventures include Slope, an API developer that enables retailers to offer buy now, pay later services; a two-year-old Egyptian electric mobility startup called Shift EV that aims to convert fuel-powered vehicles into electric vehicles using batteries it designs and manufactures; Alife, a two-year-old San Francisco-based startup trying to improve the effectiveness of IVF procedures through AI; and Gumball, a Los Angeles-based podcast ad marketplace founded by podcast company Headgum.
USV, which also closed its first climate fund last year with $162 million in capital commitments, has seen its share of outflows over the years. Just last month, the three-year-old stock trading platform Public bought Otis, a startup that allows individual investors to buy fractional ownership in alternative assets, including NFTs and sporting goods. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, though Crunchbase data shows Otis had raised $16.5 million from investors including USV and Maveron.
In addition to Coinbase, USV’s other high-profile bets have included Etsy and Twitter, companies of which USV owned more than 15% and at least 5%, respectively, at the time of their public offerings, according to their filings. S-1.
In fact, USV co-founder Fred Wilson remains very active on Twitter and tweeted earlier this month his belief that Twitter is “too important to be owned and controlled by one person. The opposite should be happening. Twitter must be decentralized as a protocol that powers an ecosystem of communication products and services.”
After Elon Musk’s board to buy the company was accepted earlier this week, Wilson softened his stance somewhat in his newsletter, writing, “I continue to believe that a single person who owns one of the most important communication protocols in The Internet is a bad idea, but maybe it can be a bridge to something better.”