By Katie Haun
Today, we’re introducing Haun Ventures, a firm designed from the ground up to help founders build the next generation of the internet. We’ve raised $1.5 billion in capital to support the growth of web3. We’ll invest through two platforms: a $500 million early stage fund and a $1 billion acceleration fund.
My path to web3
My road to crypto and then to venture was unconventional. I spent over a decade at the U.S. Department of Justice prosecuting organized crime, murders, public corruption, prison gangs, white collar crime, and money laundering. In 2014, I created one of the government’s first cryptocurrency task forces. In the course of that work, the vast potential of these technologies quickly became clear. Like any tool, they could be used for good or for bad, but we had just started to scratch the surface of the good.
After leaving the government, I collaborated with some of the most amazing builders and investors in the space, including Brian Armstrong, who recruited me to the Coinbase board in 2017. There, I met my friend and former partner Chris Dixon, with whom I launched and scaled one of the earliest and largest dedicated crypto venture franchises in the world. Working with founders over the years brought out my own entrepreneurial spirit, and I started to think about building something new based on my experience. Specifically, I have always seen value in connecting the crypto world to different audiences – whether across government, academia, business, or otherwise – to facilitate greater understanding of the benefits of this nascent tech. All of this led to the launch of Haun Ventures, a firm built to uniquely serve the teams building the third generation of the internet, or web3.
Web3 has expanded beyond its financial origins — it now provides the technological building blocks to power the next iteration of the digital world
We think of Bitcoin as the original breakthrough that launched a thousand experiments. This first implementation of digital, decentralized consensus unlocked countless novel approaches to network-incentive alignment and non-sovereign stores of value. The decade since its invention has been characterized by a flurry of innovation across the infrastructure layer of web3, notably including the launch of Ethereum, a blockchain for deploying and running decentralized applications. This, in turn, ultimately made way for globally accessible financial use cases and the “DeFi Summer” of 2020.
Now, crypto has expanded far beyond financial use cases, touching gaming, art, media, and content. The web3 projects that emerge over the next decade will be even more expansive, applying the breakthrough mechanisms of the last decade to every industry from transportation and commerce, to fashion, sports, music, and more. We think consumer demand for digitally-native experiences and goods will continue to increase. As more people embrace these products, there will be a shift in individuals’ expectations for greater control of their personal data and a new generation of creators will demand and enjoy better economics. We think open platforms will win through loyalty, transparency, and trust by delivering better incentives than the walled gardens that came before.
We’re energized by the opportunity to invest in every layer of the web3 tech stack, and will back projects in their early stages as well as when they are ready to accelerate growth.
Building a different kind of firm for web3
We believe the next generation of the internet will naturally produce a new generation of investors. Firms built for this moment need to be what one of our portfolio founders characterized as “venture contributors.” This goes beyond asking how to be helpful — it’s about being an active, committed participant in the community and operating in a way that advances the values of web3. Many crypto-native firms have been built this way from day one and other firms entering crypto will need to cross over. Beyond providing capital, we will contribute to web3 in two specific ways to start and plan to layer in other capabilities as we learn and grow.
First, we’re helping founders deliver system change. As a community, we are engaged in a grand experiment to build new incentive structures for the web that can increase trust, transparency, privacy, and opportunity. To create a new internet that is an improvement over our current tech paradigm is a hugely ambitious project. It not only requires brilliant technologists to build but also experienced operators who can responsibly shape public opinion, policy, and the broader systems that power our society so that web3 can fulfill its potential. We will partner with our portfolio to lead a global campaign for web3 that combats misperceptions, engages policymakers, highlights positive use cases, and wins the hearts and minds of leaders across all sectors. We believe this approach will help lay the foundation for the web3 projects we support to reach a billion+ people worldwide.
Second, we’ve baked community participation into our practices from day one. As an early investor in the space, I’m proud of the groundbreaking program I helped develop to delegate governance rights and tokens to civil society groups, universities, and non-profit organizations. Haun Ventures will continue to broaden the array of voices involved in this ecosystem. We will build playbooks and share insights as we go that help set new standards for how venture firms can participate in web3.
We’ve assembled a world class team of leaders that have deep experience in very specific areas (inside of crypto and out). They are all-in on crypto and have already had a positive impact on how web3 is viewed throughout the world.
My path to this moment certainly wasn’t a traditional one. In many ways, I didn’t fit the mold. The mentorship and support of so many people, far too many to name here, helped me step outside my comfort zone and turn not fitting the mold into an asset. I’m incredibly grateful to all of them. As web3 grows to touch every aspect of our lives, we’ll need more voices and perspectives of those who break the mold.
I’m also thankful to the founders I’ve had the privilege of working with over the years who have been so encouraging of my decision to start this firm. Finally, I want to thank our limited partners. Our focus on system change was a key consideration in selecting our LPs – true strategic partners who are all-in on the vision for web3 and willing to leverage our combined capabilities to drive impact.
We’re committed to building a web3 ecosystem that future generations will admire. This is an exciting first step, but the real work begins now. We’ll have more to share as we continue to build our team and make investments.