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April 21, 2022

Venture Capitalists trends: Metaverse top term on Twitter Q4 2021

Verdict lists the top five terms tweeted on venture capitalists in Q4 2021, based on data from GlobalData’s Technology Influencer Platform.

The top trends are the most mentioned terms or concepts among Twitter discussions of more than 150 venture capitalists’ experts tracked by GlobalData’s Technology Influencer platform during the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2021.

1. Metaverse – 526 mentions

SoftBank’s investment in  metaverse platform Zepeto, Index Ventures’ Series B funding round for video conferencing platform Gather, and cryptocurrency exchange Gemini raising $400m to build a decentralised metaverse, were some of the popular discussions in Q4 2021.

Pratik Poddar, partner at venture capital firm Nexus Venture Partners, shared an article on Japan-based multinational conglomerate SoftBank investing $150m in Zepeto, as part of its Vision Fund 2. Zepeto is operated by Naver Z, a unit of internet services company Naver, and is valued at more than $1bn, the article detailed. Other investors included the entertainment company HYBE. Economists claim that the investment in Zepeto was made due to its large customer base.

Zepeto is considered to be Asia’s busiest metaverse with two million active users every day. The platform is popular among Gen Z and Gen A consumers in South Korea and was downloaded 400,000 times in July 2021 alone. The article highlighted that the investment is part of SoftBank’s strategy to gain an early lead on virtual platforms and attract the next generation of consumers. The Vision Fund 2 has already led a funding round worth $93m in Sandbox, a Hong Kong-based blockchain gaming company.

Venture capital firm Index Ventures further shared an article on investing $50m in Gather along with another venture capital firm Sequoia Capital. Gather allows users to interact with each other from the digital world and is making headway in the metaverse, the article noted. Experts claim that many have turned to Gather for remote work, while others have hosted events and job fairs. The platform offers limitless customisation and is enabling the transition towards the metaverse, the article highlighted.

In another tweet, Hussein Kanji, an analyst at venture capital firm Hoxton Ventures, shared an article on Gemini raising $400m to build a decentralised metaverse. The funding round brings the value of the new parent company, Gemini Space Station, to $7.1bn. It included participation from capital management organisation Morgan Creek Digital, decentralised finance venture firm ParaFi Capital, and others. Tyler Winklevoss and Cameron Winklevoss, co-founders of Gemini, are expected to retain 75% ownership in the company after the funding, with their combined net worth increasing from about $6bn to $10bn.

The funding will be used to build a metaverse that is free and open-source against the Walled Gardens idea, where companies such as Meta (formerly Facebook) own and profit from consumer data. Cameron Winklevoss stated that there is another path that of the decentralised metaverse, which offers more choice, independence, and opportunity.

2. Decentralisation – 438 mentions

Venture capital firm a16z’s investment in Iron Fish, and blockchain-based decentralised crypto lending platform Algofi raising $2.8m to develop a decentralised lending market, were some of the popular discussions in Q4 2021.

The term was also discussed by a16z on the company investing in the decentralised blockchain network Iron Fish to build a user-friendly, private cryptocurrency. The Iron Fish network is designed for users to make transactions easily like cash. Iron Fish is expected to debut its proof-of-work blockchain with its native currency before offering more assets, stablecoins, mobile accessibility, and bridges to other blockchain networks, such as the Layer 2 support. The network is also aiming to become a universal privacy layer for all blockchain networks, which is currently unavailable in the web3 ecosystem. Furthermore, the network’s application layer is written in Typescript, a common programming language, which is expected to facilitate simple integrations and interactions for the end-user.

In another tweet, venture capital firm Y Combinator, tweeted on Algofi raising $2.8m to develop a decentralised lending market with the long-term goal of becoming the first crypto native bank based on decentralised finance. Users will be able to lend cryptocurrency, borrow, and earn interest on their deposits through Algofi, the article detailed. Algofi is also creating fiat rails to allow users to move value on and off the Algorand decentralised blockchain network more seamlessly. The funding round was led by venture capital firms Union Square Ventures, Arrington XRP Capital, and Pillar VC, and included participation from Y Combinator, Formulate Ventures, and Shine VC, the article noted.

3. Electric Vehicles (EVs) – 174 mentions

Version One Ventures’ investment in Moment Energy, automobile manufacturer Nissan’s $17.6bn investment in electrification initiatives, and the UK government pledging to invest $806.78m in EVs and street charging stations, were some of the popular discussions in Q4 2021.

Boris Wertz, founder and general partner at venture capital firm Version One Ventures, tweeted on the company investing in clean energy start-up Moment Energy, which is repurposing retired EV batteries to develop sustainable energy storage systems. Version One led the $3.5m seed round, which included participation from venture capital firms such as Fika Ventures, Garage Capital, and MCJ Collective.

Moment Energy’s affordable solution focuses on repurposing rather than recycling EV batteries. It is expected to help off-grid commercial customers such as remote lodges, fisheries, and mining sites that are currently relying on expensive diesel generators to shift to renewables. Furthermore, the solution will help industrial customers to cut their utility costs with energy storage for peak shaving. The solution will also offer a highly sustainable energy source by reducing lithium waste. The company is already working with automobile companies such as Nissan to create a novel battery software management system that is optimised for second-life batteries. Moment aims to repurpose all EV batteries for second-life use by 2030, the article noted.

EVs was also discussed with respect to automobile manufacturer Nissan investing $17.6bn in electrification efforts over the next five years in an article shared by Steve Westly, managing partner at venture capital firm The Westly Group. The Japanese company revealed plans to launch 23 electrified models by 2030, including 15 EVs to ensure that EVs account for 50% of its global sales by 2030, the article detailed. Nissan also unveiled plans to boost battery production capacity and introduce a proprietary solid-state battery to the market by the end of the decade.

In another tweet, Gill Nowell, head of EV communications at insurance firm LV= General Insurance, shared an article on the UK government making a pledge to invest $806.78m into grants for EVs and street charging points, as part of the country’s new  Zero Emissions Vehicle Mandate to achieve its net zero goals by 2050. The article highlighted that all manufacturers will be required to ensure that clean vehicles account for a part of their sales every year. The government aims to focus on local on-street residential charging and targeted plug-in vehicle grants through the funding, which will benefit about eight million households that do not have dedicated off-street parking. The funding will also help in shifting towards EVs, although the supply and availability of EVs will need to be increased along with the deployment of the right type of chargers, the article detailed.

4. Climate Crisis – 425 mentions

Venture capital investments in deep tech helping in tackling climate change, and climate crisis leading to the increase in venture capital funding in clean tech companies, were some of the popular discussions in the fourth quarter.

DCVC, a venture capital and private equity firm, shared an article on how deep tech offers potential solutions to tackle the climate crisis. The article noted that venture capital investments in clean tech companies is helping in scaling up the existing technologies to reduce emissions and meet the Paris Agreement goals of keeping global warming below 2°C. Inger Anderson, executive director at the United Nations’ (UN) Environmental Programme, stated that eliminating methane is the strongest mechanism to mitigate climate change in the next 25 years. A UN study suggested that cutting methane emissions is easy, and that 45% of the global methane emissions can be cut down within a decade.

Biotechnology company Volta Greentech and aquaculture solutions provider CH4 Global, for example, recommend that feeding cows seaweed can lower the high levels of methane produced by them. Furthermore, Kairos Aerospace, a DCVC portfolio firm, has developed an aerial monitoring service that offers data on methane leaks from industrial and energy facilities, the article detailed.

The term was also discussed by Spiros Margaris, a venture capitalist and founder of venture capital firm Margaris Ventures, on the increase in venture capital investment in clean tech companies after private financing dried up for the sector. Researchers claim that venture capitalists invested more than $25bn in clean tech companies between 2006 and 2011. Funding from venture capitalists started to decline thereafter until 2020. Between January 2020 to August 2021, however, more than $40bn of the total venture capital money flowed into climate tech companies, exceeding the total for the previous two years by 37%. Venture capital firms have also changed their investment strategy by favouring smaller firms with niche products, such as battery storage technologies, low-carbon concrete and sustainable aviation fuel instead of capital intensive renewable energy projects.

5. Digital health – 111 mentions

Digital health funding surpassing the $20bn mark in 2021, and digital health company Truepill’s latest funding round boosting its valuation to $1.6bn, were some of the popular discussions in Q4 2021.

Florian Graillot, founding partner of astoryaVC, an investment firm, shared an article on investment in the digital health industry surpassed $20bn in 2021. The article detailed the new funding patterns of investors, with more money pouring into women-led firms, health equity solutions, and women and digital health. Digital health funding in the third quarter of 2021 touched $6.7bn across 169 deals, surpassed only by the second quarter investment of $8.2bn, the article detailed. Furthermore, the total funding between the first and third quarter of 2021 amounted to $21.3bn across 541 deals, with an average deal size of $39.4m.

In the first and third quarter of 2021, digital health investors continued to invest in digital health companies that are deploying software to speed up research and development, supporting the treatment of diseases, and offering on-demand healthcare services. Funding in the third quarter was supported by investments from pharmaceutical companies, such as XtalPi, Reify Health, and TrialSpark. Investors also focused on funding opportunities in mental health in the third quarter, with $3.1bn raised and boosted by deals from behavioural health providers, including SonderMind and SpringHealth, the article noted.

The term also trended in an article shared by Y Combinator on Truepill’s latest funding round, which increased its valuation to $1.6bn as it targets the B2B landscape, including health payers, employer groups, and providers in healthcare. The company’s new focus has been bolstered by the closing of a $142m Series D fundraising round, led by undisclosed partners and including participation from investors such as Initialized Capital and TI Platform Management. The latest investment has nearly doubled the company’s venture capital funding raised in the last five years to $256m, which includes the $75m Series C round in August 2021, the article detailed.

Truepill has launched several services since the closing of the Series C funding round, including telemedicine and diagnostic services, Covid-19 wellness programme, and virtual pharmacy e-commerce solutions. The company has also supplied about ten million prescriptions, enabled more than 50,000 telehealth visits, and conducted more than one million diagnostic tests, the article highlighted.