The Avalanche ecosystem is getting yet another injection of liquidity with the launch of Blizzard, an AVAX-focused venture capital and incubation fund.
Blizzard is kicking off with an initial seed investment of $200 million, including participation from the Avalanche Foundation, Ava Labs, Polychain Capital, Three Arrows Capital, Dragonfly Capital and CMS Holdings, among others. AVAX is the native asset of the Avalanche blockchain.
The new fund comes on the heels of a separate pair of big-budget investment programs, including a $230 million fund primarily devoted to providing liquidity, as well as Avalanche Rush, a $180 million liquidity mining incentive fund.
In an interview with CoinDesk, Ava Labs President John Wu, who will also be leading Blizzard, said the new fund will invest in early-stage projects across the Avalanche ecosystem, including decentralized finance (DeFi), non-fungible tokens (NFTs), social tokens and “all that stuff.”
Rival base layers to Ethereum have been exploding in popularity as of late, and venture capital firms see ample opportunity on each chain to re-create popular Ethereum-native verticals and services at much lower valuations.
A half-dozen current Ava Labs employees will migrate to Blizzard to provide business development and technical support for young teams, and the fund is being envisioned as closer to an incubator in the vein of Y Combinator rather than a pure, cash-only investment outfit. Services for selected projects will include “community building, marketing, introduction to service providers” such as security audits.
The structure of the fund does mean that the Avalanche Foundation and Ava Labs will become owners of governance tokens controlling products in the Avalanche ecosystem, but Wu said that Blizzard will be distributing portions of those tokens to the fund’s founders rather than holding them.
“We want decentralization, as all projects do. And a unique aspect of this fund is that the tokens that get distributed to Blizzard, they will be passed on to the Polychains, the Three Arrows, the Dragonflies, all these guys in the fund.”
Wu is also confident that the $200 million can be quickly deployed.
“We already have deals that we’re warehousing for the fund. The team has seen over 1,100 deals over the last ten months, and the deal flow has only accelerated.”
Wu told CoinDesk that Ava Labs has offered some form of networking, grants or marketing assistance to some 400 teams of the 1,100 that have passed through its doors, and that the team directly invested in 40 of those projects.
“Our biggest regret is not having this set for our partners earlier, because we may have invested in more,” he said.
At the time of writing Avalanche’s closely watched total value locked (TVL) metric sits at $8.46 billion, up over 100% on the month.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.
Learn more about Consensus 2023, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.