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CoinSwitch launches new fund to incubate early-stage startups

CoinSwitch launches new fund to incubate early-stage startups
Photo Credit: 123RF.com
9 Aug, 2022
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Crypto trading platform CoinSwitch has announced a “Web3 Discovery Fund” to incubate and invest in early-stage blockchain startups, the company said on Tuesday.

The fund will curate portfolio startups and provide single-window access to marquee investor partners Tiger Global, Ribbit Capital, Coinbase Ventures, Sequoia Capital India, Woodstock Fund and Elevation Capital (ex-SAIF partners) and incubation partner Buidlers Tribe.   

Currently, CoinSwitch has earmarked $10 million for its investment activities. 

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The portfolio startups can benefit from CoinSwitch’s in-house capabilities, ecosystem network and its 18 million user base, thus accelerating their product life-cycle strategy, the company stated.     

“The venture program is a result of our firm belief that India will be the launchpad for population-scale Web3 projects. To realize this vision of #MadeinIndia Web3, we have to identify and enable entrepreneurs and early-stage startups to leverage the potential of Crypto to solve real-world problems unique to India. That’s the raison d'être of the Web3 Discovery Fund,” said Ashish Singhal, Co-founder, CEO, CoinSwitch.    

Founded in 2017 by Ashish Singhal, Govind Soni and Vimal Sagar Tiwari, Coinswitch says it is creating an ecosystem that simplifies crypto and is trusted by over 18 million users. It counts investors like US-based Andreessen Horowitz; Tiger Global, Sequoia Capital, Ribbit Capital, Paradigm and Coinbase Ventures as its backers.    

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CoinSwitch Kuber became a crypto unicorn in October last year, after raising $260 million from US-based venture capital firm Andreesen Horowitz (a16z) and Coinbase Ventures. At the time, the company was valued at $1.9 billion and it was the second crypto unicorn in India after competitor CoinDCX.    

Crypto platforms like CoinSwitch are experiencing depressed trading volumes amid big falls in the prices of cryptocurrencies, and the Indian government levying new taxes on virtual digital assets (VDAs).    

According to data from Credit Rating for Exchanges Blockchains and Coin Offerings (CREBACO), a crypto research firm, daily trading volumes on WazirX and CoinDCX, two of the top crypto exchanges in India, fell by 82% and 90%, respectively, at the end of June. CoinSwitch, too, has been looking at reduced trading volumes.    

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Last December, the crypto platform roped in former WhatsApp official Ashish Chandra as its General Counsel to build a conducive legal framework for the business as crypto-asset adoption continues to grow in India. CoinSwitch has also made other leadership appointments over the past near to medium-term including Jayram Krishnan as vice president – product; Jayadevan PK as senior director - communication and content; Nishant Das as global head for talent acquisition; R Venkatesh as senior VP – public policy and Zeeshan Ramlan as director and head of human resources.    

In July 2021, CoinSwitch’s chief financial officer Sarmad Nazki, chief business officer Sharan Nair and head of new initiatives Krishna Hegde resigned from the company to explore a new web3 venture of their own.    

Several crypto exchanges run their venture arm to back early-stage startups with Coinbase's investment arm, Coinbase Ventures, already investing over $150 million in India. Binance’s venture arm Binance Labs has also actively invested in India.    

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CoinDCX has also announced the launch of CoinDCX Ventures to back early-stage crypto and blockchain startups with an allocation of Rs 100 crore, to be deployed over the next 12 months.