According to the Emerging Tech Indicator (ETI) from Pitchbook, an index that tracks early- and seed-stage deals involving 15 leading VC firms, ETI investments reached $10.2 billion across 221 deals in Q4 of 2021. The largest deal of the quarter included the $725 million series B round for Forte, a technology platform that helps game developers integrate crypto-economics, making Web3 & DeFi the most significant investment theme last year.

What do Web3 and DeFi mean and what does it mean for investors?

“Web3” has emerged as a term used to refer broadly to the emerging industry for decentralized software protocols and blockchain products, DeFi can be understood as the emerging class of financially focused products within it. While crypto and blockchain have been around for more than a decade, I believe the results from the report show we are just scratching the surface in terms of business applications for these technologies and that all the buzz around NFTs that took over friends’ conversations and Wall Street media last year also resonated with professional investors.

What role do prominent industry players have in all this?

In under-the-radar news last week, the payments-giant Stripe announced it would bring back crypto business support, allowing merchants and exchanges to take crypto payments with their signature software solutions after four years of pulling out of this product line. On one of the other largest deals last year, a high-profile NFT and exchange platform, FTX tacked an additional $421 million Series B (with a further $400 million Series C announced in Q1 2022), bringing its total raised to $1.9 billion. Guess who they picked to partner with to improve its identity compliance features and fiat onboarding workflows for users?

top ETI segments over the last four quarters by deal value

stripe supporting crypto business