While plenty of crypto investors have scaled back their breakneck pace of startup investing as they wait for more clarity on the macro environment, the fact is there have never been more firms and more money dedicated to blockchain venture investing.
Portal Ventures is the latest young firm to announce its debut, telling TechCrunch it has closed on $35 million for its first fund for pre-seed investments in the crypto startup world. The fund is led by former Insight investor Evan Fisher who says he is looking to find untapped value in the crypto space by focusing on infrastructure and enabling software needs in the space — the so-called “picks and shovels” segment of crypto startups.
The macro environment has pushed the price of crypto tokens down and compressed startup valuations across the board, something that Fisher believes offers a lot of opportunities to a smaller investor like himself with a fund that’s wholly dedicated to the web3 market.
“The scale of the opportunity is unchanged in a downcycle, but the entry price can change as a function of investor sentiment,” Fisher wrote in Portal’s Q2 reflection on the market. “It’s likely that we will see continued compression in private valuations. For fundamentals-driven investors, this can bring exciting investment opportunities.”
Fisher served as a senior associate at Insight Partners for three years after a stint at Goldman. While at Insight some of his investments included FTX, TaxBit, ZenGo and Flutterwave. Individuals from Insight’s managing team make up the largest swath of Fisher’s fund alongside a host of notable figures in the crypto investing world.
Fisher has spent much of the past year living nomadically, bouncing between crypto conferences and finding his way into hacker houses to source deals, he tells TechCrunch. Portal Ventures has already done eight deals since January of this year, including bets in web3 developer tooling startup Polywrap and crypto gaming infrastructure startup Worlds.org.
Portal’s other venture partner at the firm, Ori Shimony, comes from a builder background in the web3 infrastructure world and runs a sizable crypto developer collective, aiding the young firm on its promise to help young startups with strategy and product roadmapping in addition to financial guidance.