A16z to Open Office in London as Web3 Regulation Progresses

The American venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) just announced plans to open an office in the United Kingdom — its first physical location outside of the U.S.

In a press release on its website yesterday, a16z praised the U.K. and its Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for taking the steps necessary to make the country a global Web3 hub, and cited the importance of clear regulatory framework to foster innovation in the industry and protect consumers against fraud.

The report also claimed the crypto industry is growing exponentially, predicting there will be one million crypto and blockchain developers by 2030, up from tens of thousands today. a16z stressed the blockchain’s potential to foster social connectivity, user empowerment, and reduce corporate control. It added that Web3 tech can offer cheap payments, streamlined marketplaces, and AI solutions that prioritize creators and communities.

The office will open in London later this year and be led by General Partner Sriram Krishnana. Its primary focus will be to foster the crypto and Web3 startup ecosystem in the U.K. The VC firm already has several investments in Web3 startups based in the U.K. and plans to host a Crypto Startup School in London in the spring of 2024.

A16z stressed that Web3 can only succeed with clear regulatory framework, and that one of its goals is to eliminate the “casino” mentality around crypto. Although a16z won’t be abandoning its Web3 work in the U.S., the firm thinks that the U.K. is on the right path to being a world leader in crypto.

Prime minister Rishi Sunak said he was “thrilled” about a16z opening its first international office in the U.K. He added that the U.K. must continue to “embrace new innovations like Web3, powered by blockchain technology, which will enable start-ups to flourish here and grow the economy.”

What is a16z and why it matters for Web3?

Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) is an American venture capital firm founded in 2009 by Ben Horowitz and Mark Andreessen. Headquartered in Menlo Park, California, it currently ranks first on the list of top venture capital firms by AUM.

Since its founding, the firm has invested in both established growth companies and early-stage startups and is known for investing heavily in the tech industry. Over the past couple of years, a16z has been especially focused on blockchain technology and Web3 startups. Here’s a short timeline of some of the moves a16z has made in Web3 recently:

  • July 2021. Led a $100 million Series A funding round for OpenSea, valuing the company at $1.5 billion.
  • October 2021. Led a $150M Series B funding round for Sky Mavis, developer of blockchain-based game Axie Infinity.
  • March 2022. Led a $450 million funding round for Yuga Labs, the studio behind Bored Ape Yacht Club.
  • August 2022. Led a $50 million seed funding round for Gary Vee’s NFT project VeeFriends.
  • August 2022. Led a $56 million series B funding round for Ready Player Me, an avatar creation company.
  • May 2022. Set up a $600 million Web3 gaming fund.

It’s worth noting that a16z is opening its London office at a time when the U.S.’ Security and Exchange Commission is suing crypto exchanges left and right and making it more difficult to do business in Web3 in the U.S. If the regulatory agency continues to attack crypto, more American firms and companies in Web3 could move abroad.

If that turns out to be the case, the U.K. and its young, forward-thinking prime minister could be setting themselves up nicely to be a Web3 hub. A16z clearly thinks so, and will be there to foster startups and Web3 innovation in the U.K. in the months and years ahead.

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