Despite the recent cost-cutting ventures at ConsenSys, the company is increasing its investment activities by reaching out to independent start-ups. The Brooklyn-based ethereum venture studio announced two new investments on January 17, 2019. They put an undisclosed amount in the encryption-centric browser Tenta and $1 million in the Paris-based Coinhouse.
Kavita Gupta, the managing partner at ConsenSys said that they chose the start-ups since they have bitcoin veterans serving established user-bases. The Coinhouse platform has at least 150,000 user accounts. Moreover, the CEO, Nicolas Louvet, was among the first investors of the hardware wallet startup Ledger.
Éric Larchevêque, Ledger’s CEO reciprocated the move in Coinhouse. Now, both men are board members in each other’s companies. The reciprocated investment is what attracted ConsenSys to the startup with Gupta saying:
“A settlement custody solution like ledger working with the Coinhouse exchange is very relevant to how at ConsenSys Ventures we think about investing”
Tenta comprises an ad blocker, built-in VPN, full data encryption, and Crunchbase lists the browser at over 61,489 downloads. MetaMask, the ConsenSys-incubated wallet startup wants to partner with Tenta to offer built-in crypto wallets within the mobile browser.
Since its inception in 2017 with $50 million, ConsenSys Ventures invests in start-ups that complement those already under the ConsenSys umbrella. Since then, the company has distributed almost $14.5 million across 14 projects. The latest project among them as we reported earlier is Newspack and other equity deals are almost complete.
Gupta’s strategy is to bring as many of the traditional venture capitalists into the ConsenSys sphere as possible. All the entrants are conjoined in an ecosystem that enables every member to benefit from the others symbiotically. She commented:
“We have been helping a lot of VC funds to think through their investment thesis and introduce them to the ecosystem. In a lot of our investment deals lately, we have invited a lot of our friends and other funds who we respect, and they have participated.”
Currently, ConsenSys Venture’s portfolio shares mutual investments with many brands. Some of them are 122 West, Intel Capital, La Famiglia and Paradigm, Coinbase Ventures, Kindred Ventures, General Catalyst, and Sequoia. The Coinhouse $2.8 million Series A was led by Gupta’s team together with several angel investors.
The team is looking for start-ups with over 200 projects expected to apply for the Berlin-based Tachyon program this year. ConsenSys seek start-ups that can raise their own capital and cater to their operations costs without relying on Joe Lubin. That move is consistent with the old ConsenSys strategy that considers portfolio companies as strategic partners.
Going forward Gupta announced that she will prioritize investments in start-ups that focus on privacy, infrastructure, and network effects. Generally, ethereum wants to primarily focus on investments that drive adoption.
On January 12, ErisX announced that Joe Lubin has joined their board of directors. Lubin said that:
“I look forward to bringing my experience with decentralized technologies and digital assets to a model that will further democratize access to digital assets.”
As we reported earlier, the Ethereum co-founder said that the future of crypto is quite bright. He joined ErisX due to its unique position in the market that can help make a likely digital assets’ breakthrough a reality in 2019.