Dove Dispatch #31 (Miljan Martic - Kosen Labs)
Leveraging founders' backgrounds, selecting investors, diving into ML with top funds, and much more
GM and welcome to Dove Dispatch #31! Two pieces of house keeping before we get into it:
(1) We’re planning to revamp Dove Metrics and would love to hear what would make it more useful for you! Reply to this email with any feedback.
(2) The team behind Dove Metrics runs Lattice, an early-stage venture fund that has quietly become one of the most active early-stage investors in the industry. Yesterday we became a bit more public about what we’ve been up to by publishing our Web3 growth thesis (and chatting with the WSJ!).
Dove Metrics is sponsored by BarnBridge - a protocol for tokenized risk, that enables users to calibrate their exposure to different risk vectors within DeFi. Its SMART Alpha application gives you more control over exposure to the performance of digital assets.
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Kosen Labs aims to bring the benefits of advanced AI to the world of Web3. As the first step on this mission, they will be focusing on delivering the best-in-class solution for active liquidity provision (LP) on the next generation automated market makers (AMMs), such as Uniswap v3 and Sushiswap Trident.
They recently closed a $5M seed round led by Andreessen Horowitz with major participation from Framework Ventures, and others.
Co-founder Miljan Martic was kind enough to answer a few questions on fundraising.
You are ex-Google DeepMind AI researchers - to what extent did your backgrounds help the funding round?
This was definitely very helpful as it provides investors with a level of confidence that we can execute on the vision we presented. Given that our vision of building an AI research organization for web3 is an ambitious one, and there aren’t really any precedents in this intersection for investors to draw insights from, the background and experience of the founding team is really 90% of what a potential investor would be looking at.
You are applying machine learning techniques to solve problems in the Web3 space, starting with DeFi, an intersection that is barely explored - how did that make pitching your solution to investors more challenging?
In general, adding ML into the mix tends to get people excited. The challenge for investors is assessing whether companies understand how to use ML correctly, especially when applied to noisy data like financial time series in DeFi.
In our case, we focused on presenting our first product, the ML-powered active LP manager for Uniswap v3. Anyone that has ever LPed on Uni v3 intuitively understands the challenge it brings and can see that a fully automated solution utilizing intelligent and adaptive strategies can really make a difference for the returns LPs get.
You decided to onboard some strategic investors like Protocol Labs, a well-known open-source R&D lab - how important was it to have them on board?
We decided to onboard a few strategic investors that have thought about AI/ML applications to blockchain in various ways. Protocol Labs has been an industry leader in the area of storage and infrastructure for many years now, an area that is an inextricable part of training and running ML models. We have been thinking around the best way of deploying various AI-powered services to web3 apps in both on and off-chain settings, and we believe that R&D that Protocol Labs are working on will be an integral part of the solution.
🙌 Thanks to our sponsors at BarnBridge
a16z is your largest investor - what do you think makes them different from other DeFi investors?
When we were looking at structuring our seed round, we really wanted to bring on investors that understood our long-term vision. Building an AI research company for web3 is something that will take many years, and we were very excited to see the folks at a16z instantly recognize the value this approach can unlock, which is why we decided to partner with them.
Framework Ventures, a prominent DeFi focused fund, also formed a big part of your round. How important was it to have a crypto-native fund as part of the round?
Having real DeFi degens that can be direct users of your product and provide you with product feedback is a great value add. As active users and builders in the space, and as someone who has seen, tried, or helped build the big majority of DeFi protocols in use today, Framework is able to do just that, and partnering with them was a no-brainer for us.
Many thanks to Miljan for sharing such insightful insights.
Last week 32 projects announced fundraising rounds:
SOUNI ($5M) | A 3D MMORPG game in a decentralized world based on Blockchain — with participation from Shima Capital, YBB Foundation, Gamestarter, Good Games Guild, ExNetwork Capital, AU21 Capital, X21 Digital, ZBS Capital, LaunchZone , Kyros Ventures, VBC Ventures, and Gains.
YGG SEA ($15M) | The first subDAO of Yield Guild Games, a decentralized autonomous organization for acquiring and managing NFTs used in the metaverse — with participation from Crypto.com Capital, Animoca Brands, Mindworks Capital, Poloniex, Jump Capital, Digital Currency Group, Hashed, Polygon, Arca, Evernew Capital, OKEX, Yolo Ventures, SevenX Ventures, LongHash Ventures, Hashkey Capital, Morningstar Ventures, Dialectic Capital, SweeperDAO, Petrock Capital, FBG Capital, Circle, Infinity Ventures Crypto, Yield Guild Games, Bukalapak, Gabby Dizon, Eden Holdings, Beryl Li, and Mr. Block.
Assembly ($100M) | The future of open worlds - built on a feeless, scalable multi-chain network, powered by ASMB — with participation from Huobi Capital, LD Capital, Hashkey Capital, Signum Capital, HyperChain Capital, UOB Venture, GSR, and DU Capital.
ATTA ($2M) | An entertainment metaverse for everyone to create, play and earn through Game+Social — with participation from Zonff Partners, Shima Capital, Hash Global, Altonomy, Winkrypto, YouBi Capital, LD Capital, Oasis Capital, Weblock, and Eric Zhang.
Digital Village ($2M) | A recomposition of social media, gaming and e-commerce — with participation from Venrex, and The Venture Reality Fund.
Router ($4.1M) | Building critical infrastructure that facilitates seamless cross-chain liquidity flows — with participation from Coinbase Ventures, QCP Capital, Alameda Research, DeFi Capital, Wintermute, Woodstock Fund, Shima Capital, Mapleblock Capital, TeraSurge Capital, Bison Fund, Polygon, Sandeep Nailwal, Gokul Rajaram, and Ajit Tripathi.
Mnemonic ($4M) | NFT intelligence platform provides discovery, analytics, and insight capabilities to innovators in the NFT space — with participation from Kenetic, Tribe Capital, Sound Ventures, Coinbase Ventures, IntoTheBlock, and People.ai.
Zeta Markets ($8.5M) | The premier under-collateralized DeFi futures & options platform built on Solana — with participation from Jump Capital, Race Capital, Electric Capital, AirTree Ventures, Amber Group, Wintermute, SinoGlobal Capital, Genesis Block HK, QCP Capital, Alameda Research, Solana Capital, Mgnr, 3K VC, Orthogonal Trading, LedgerPrime, SkyVision Capital, and Digital Asset Capital Management.
Hawksight ($4.2M) | 1-click automated investments & yield farming for everyone — with participation from NGC Ventures, Solar Eco Fund, One Block Capital, Petrock Capital, SkyVision Capital, Everest Ventures, Double Peak, Entrepreneur First, Global Founders Capital, Follow[the]Seed, Cherubic Ventures, Norbert Bodziony, Ming Wu, and Richard Ma.
BlackPool ($6M) | The first decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) built solely for NFT gaming and trading— with participation from BITKRAFT Ventures, Delphi Digital, Play Ventures, Backed, Cherry Ventures, Fabric Ventures, and DIGITAL.
Paradigm ($35M) | Institutional-grade liquidity unified across CeFi — with participation from Jump Capital, Alameda Research, Genesis, QCP Capital, Nexo, Optiver, GSR, Akuna Capital, Babel Finance, Mgnr, Avon Ventures, CMT Digital, Pattern Research, Dragonfly Capital, Digital Currency Group, Vectr Ventures, Mirana Ventures, and Bybit.
Rainmaker Games ($6.5M) | The free global platform to play hundreds of P2E games - connecting gamers, games, and guilds worldwide — with participation from Alameda Research, Animoca Brands, Polygon Studios, CoinFund, Republic Realm, SkyVision Capital, Merit Circle, Genblock Capital, Draft Ventures, Liberty City Ventures, and CMS Holdings.
SlingShot ($15M) | Next generation of decentralized trading — with participation from Ribbit Capital, K5 Global, Shrug Capital, The Chainsmokers, Jason Derulo, Guillaume Pousaz, Austin Rief, Electric Capital, and Framework Ventures.
Burrata ($7.75M) | An integration layer that helps bridge consumer identity and data from silo-ed Web2 systems into Web3 — with participation from Stripe, Variant, IDEO Colab Ventures, Slow Ventures, Baller Ventures, Stratos Technologies, Electric Feel Entertainment, CMS Holdings, Uncommon Capital, Canaan Partners, and South Park Commons.
Palm NFT Studio ($27M) | A new NFT ecosystem for Culture & Creativity, built efficiently with Ethereum — with participation from M12, Griffin Gaming Partners, RRE Ventures, 3K VC, Sfermion, The LAO, Warner Bros., and SK Inc.
izumi Finance ($3.5M) | Multi-chain liquidity mining platform — with participation from Mirana Ventures, IOSG Ventures, Cadenza Ventures, Fenbushi Capital, Everest Ventures, Hashkey Capital, GSR, CyberX, Bixin Ventures, Kronos Research, DoraHacks, Gate Labs, and MEXC Exchange.
OpenRelay ($1.5M) | Purveyor of fine order book infrastructures—scalable, developer-friendly, open-source — with participation from Digital Finance Group.
Defiance Games ($100k) | The best play-to-earn game sponsorships are combined with rewards, training and support tools to allow players to up their game, manage their assets and get paid in a user-friendly way — with participation from Antler
Affyn ($7M) | A metaverse project with integrated geolocation and AR mechanics that develops Free to play and Play to Earn mobile games — with participation from Avalon Wealth Club, Herd Capital, and Vespertine Capital.
JellyFi ($4.4M) | A capital-efficient DeFi lending protocol that enables crypto loans without collateral — with participation from Lemniscap, ParaFi Capital, Tioga Capital, White Star Capital, DeFiance Capital, True Ventures, Digital Currency Group, Genesis, Divergence Ventures, and Angel DAO.
Voltz ($6M) | A foundational DeFi infrastructure, unlocking waves of composable, community-led opportunities for builders, innovators, and creators — with participation from Framework Ventures, Fabric Ventures, Coinbase Ventures, Amber Group, Wintermute, Robot Ventures, Mgnr, Entrepreneur First, Backed, Stani Kulechov, Kain Warwick, David Hoffman, Ryan Adams, and Alan Howard.
Index Coop ($2.25M) | We build simple yet powerful index products to help you access crypto investment themes — with participation from Sequoia Capital, Blockchain Capital, and White Star Capital.
Passbase ($10M) | Solve identity verification and scale your product — with participation from Cowboy Ventures, Costanoa Ventures, Eniac Ventures, Lakestar, and Seedcamp.
Whydah ($25M) | Vietnamese blockchain-based game hub — with participation from Hashkey Capital, Bitscale Capital, Eternity Ventures, YouBi Capital, Morningstar Ventures, Kardia Ventures, Formless Capital, Axia8 Ventures, Polkastarter, Good Games Guild, and Mask Network.
Whalemap ($1.6M) | Actionable on-chain data for Bitcoin trading — with participation from Shima Capital, Momentum 6, Anthony Pompliano, GHAF Capital Partners, NFT Technologies, RR² CAPITAL, ei ventures, Claystack, Solstarter, Justin Harkema, Primo Consulting, Thanh Le, Mohak Agarwal, Tri Duc Nguyen, and Koroush Khaneghah.
BAYZ ($4M) | A leading decentralized gaming organization bringing play-to-earn to people via blockchain-based economies — with participation from Yield Guild Games, BITKRAFT Ventures, Delphi Digital, Valor Capital Group, Ascensive Assets, Fabric Ventures, Arca, Sébastien Borget, Aleksander Larsen, Jeff Zirlin, Nick Vale, Morningstar Ventures, ParaFi Capital, Volt Capital, Infinity Ventures Crypto, SkyVision Capital, Bitscale Capital, Arrington XRP Capital, RedCave Ventures, Firex Capital, and Eden Holdings.
Creaton ($175k) | A Web3 Membership Platform that helps in engaging fans, creating ownership of content - with NFT and earning real-time income — with participation from ExNetwork Capital, NuCypher, and ZBS Capital.
White Whale ($2.9M) | Arbitrage Platform built on Terra — with participation from Terra, SkyVision Capital, Node Capital, GT Capital, 0x Ventures, Qi Capital, Yunt Capital, Do Kwon, DWeb3 Capital, ROK Capital, Double Peak, ExNetwork Capital, Petrock Capital, Mgnr, Richard Dai, and Jeff Tang.
TRM Labs ($60M) | Preventing fraud and financial crime for digital currencies — with participation from Tiger Global Management, Visa, American Express Ventures, Citi, DRW, Jump Capital, Marshall Wace, Square, PayPal Ventures, B Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners, Blockchain Capital, Cap Table Coalition, Castle Island Ventures, Initialized Capital, Operator Partners, Emilie Choi, Frank Slootman, and Michael Scarpelli.
Holaplex ($6M) | Find, buy, and sell NFTs from incredible artists on Solana — with participation from Social Capital, Collab+Currency, Blockchain Coinvestors, Solana Capital, CoinFund, and Valor Capital Group.
Earnity ($15M) | Your place to earn, learn, collect, and gift your favorite tokens — with participation from BitNile, NGC Ventures, and Thorney Investment.
MetaGods ($3M) | The world’s first Play-To-Earn Action RPG built on the blockchain. Trade and play with generative NFTs to vanquish dangerous monsters — with participation from Hashed, Mr. Beast, CinchBlock, Boxmining, Faculty Capital, Raptor Capital, CoinUnited Capital, Magnus Capital, Banter Capital, IceTea Labs, and ABV.
Dove Metrics newsletter is sponsored by BarnBridge.
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