Vessel Capital, a web3 venture fund, has emerged from stealth with $55 million in assets under management to invest in infrastructure and applications, the firm exclusively told TechCrunch.
Founded by Mirza Uddin, Eric Chen and Anthony Anzalone, the firm has been investing about $10 million annually, Uddin said.
The fund is “evergreen” and has the potential for the capital pool to be increased, he added. It will be deployed over a five-year period.
“We want to meet new founders who might not already be in our network,” Uddin said. “Crypto has become more global, so it’s not the same circle and group you might have seen in 2018-2020, and we want to be able to help more people.”
While the capital will be invested mainly in startups focusing on application-specific infrastructure, the firm is open to exploring other categories as well, Uddin said.
“On a high level, we really wanted to build a new type of venture fund,” Uddin said. “A lot of giant funds are getting raises, but the VCs themselves don’t have a lot of skin in the game when it comes to using their own capital.”
Uddin thinks having a background as founders puts his firm at an advantage. “Oftentimes, [VCs] don’t have expertise in the things they’re investing in.”
Maybe in a superficial sense an investor understands what DeFi is or how infrastructure works, but unless they’re “really in the trenches going through the process,” it’s hard to comprehend it fully, he said. “The world has enough VCs, but what’s actually missing is actual guidance and advice. Most times you’ll get a nice check, a pretty logo on your website, but other than that VCs don’t help much aside from intros from time to time.”
Vessel wants to work with founders and be on the ground with them while they scale their companies, he added.
Chen also serves as the CEO of Injective Labs, a blockchain for web3-focused financial apps, and Uddin is the head of business development for that company. Anzalone is one of the co-founders of Burnt, which is building a web3 community platform and blockchain (it previously wanted to create its own NFT marketplace).
While in stealth, Vessel invested in “dozens” of companies, including Injective, Burnt, and Omni, a layer-1 blockchain, Uddin said.
In general, the firm doesn’t have plans to scale “a lot and invest left and right,” but wants to focus on helping founders, Uddin said. “Venture funds get announced all the time, but we really wanted to treat this like we’re launching a new startup.”