Kido Kim

Posted on Jul 06, 2022Read on

A Peek into VC’s Jewelry Box


  • There will be more money flowing into crypto in the 2022 than the sum of investments of the past 5yrs combined. #stillearly
  • There are 20 VCs who predicted the megatrends such as Defi, NFT, Web3
  • VC tracking portfolios show higher returns compared to single portfolios with Bitcoin and Ethereum
  • Projects in the categories below are worth drawing attention to:
  1. Metaverse + something (e.g., Metaverse Fashion brands, AR/VR services, Metaverse Avatars, etc)
  2. Game/DAO/NFT + Financial (Defi services from those that provide basic functions such as lending/swaps/providing liquidity to more interesting Defi services that provide specialized functions. e.g., Loans for Gamers/Guilds, NFT-backed lending protocol, etc)
  3. Asset management
  4. Social Communities based on Solana (e.g., Fans, Sports, Music, etc)

Opening Word

Defi, NFT, Web3, Gaming, Metaverse, DAO… Even just at the top of my head, these are the megatrends that have blown the crypto scene away. As a matter of fact, all these trends arose over the past 3yrs, meaning at least two megatrends occurred every year.

To read trends in a market like this cannot be easy. Needless to say, it’s that much harder for private investors who are investing after their working hours. Then inevitably, whether it’s the next hot trend in the scene or promising projects, we hear about them after they’ve become well-known. Can there be no solution to this?

A solution suggested by yours truly: Follow successful VCs

What if there was an organization that caught onto trends one step faster than anyone else? And what if we could look into each and every one of their investment portfolios? Although we may not be able to imitate them perfectly, it is certain that there is a profound insight to be gained through VC portfolios.

VC has the following advantages compared to retail.

  1. VC own a dedicated, high-level research team.
  2. VC are at an advantage with information thanks to their network scattered throughout the industry
  3. 24/7 constant exposure to crypto allows them to react promptly

Mason Nystrom, senior research analyst at Messari said the following regarding his research.

”Examining the portfolios of successful investors in the space can help anyone glean insights into what may be the next big trend.”

Data used for Analysis

source: dove metrics [1]

The following analysis was conducted using funding data provided by Dove metrics. Data has been organized in the form of a data frame as seen above, and each item of data used in the analysis has been specified below.

  • Period: 2017.3.29 ~ 2022.02.28 (Approx. 5yrs)
  • Observations: Roughly 2250 papers on investment data
  • Date: From the publishing date of the article announcing execution of investment
  • Investors: Investment companies made up of VC, DAO, Influencers (e.g., Peter Thiel, Naval Ravikant, etc)
  • Lead Investor: Investor who led the investment round

The analysis conducted in this article is as follows.

  1. Analysis of yearly VC investments
  2. Analysis of VCs who predicted the trend
  3. Profitability of portfolios made through VC tracking
  4. Prediction of the next trend through VC portfolios

Now, let us take a close look into each one.

Analysis 1. The total sum of investments will reach an ATH in 2022.

  • The graph below is a visual representation of yearly investments from 2017 to 2022. (For 2022, only investments from January and February are included)

Yearly investments from 2017 to 2022

  • The total amount of investment in 2021 was $30.5B, roughly an 880% increase compared to the previous year
  • In 2022 the total sum of investments in January and February alone exceeded $10B. This can be compared to the crypto market, represented by Bitcoin, which peaked in November last year and has since been going through a rough patch. Assuming this flow of investment will maintain itself until the end of the year, the total amount of investment in 2022 is expected to be around $60B, which is a 200% increase from the previous year.

The chart above represents 2022 investment predictions (Update: The Luna incident occurred in the middle of writing this article. Currently, a week since then, there is insufficient data to examine significant changes in VC investment trends. Thus, relevant content will be covered in the next analysis article covering Q2. We will analyze, “Will unfavorable news have a negative impact on VC investment? If so, how much influence does it have and what does it impact?”)

  • Take a look at the two graphs below. Even though bitcoin prices have been on the decline since November 2021, the total monthly VC investments have been increasing over the same time period.

Bitcoin price chart. source: Coingecko [2]

For the two reasons outlined above, I predict the money flowing into crypto in 2022 will add up to be greater than all the investments for the past 5 years combined

  1. Investments made in 2022 January and February alone, already exceed 30% of the total investment in 2021
  2. Although Bitcoin prices have been on a downward trend since its peak in November, the monthly investment amount is on the rise

Analysis 2. 20 VCs who predicted the trend one step faster

  • The graph below shows the ratio of investments in projects by category. Through this we can see which sectors received more attention over time.

Category Ratio Chart

Before 2020: Building infrastructure (CeFi, Infrastructure)

After 2020: Building projects on the established infrastructure (DeFi, NFTs, Web3)

So then, let us identify the VC who accurately predicted the three mega-trends; DeFi, NFTs, Web3 after 2020


Number of fundraisings in DeFi (Quarterly)

  • The third quarter of 2020 was called the “Defi Summer” where Defi projects received tremendous attention. The number of investments in Defi projects increased 800% in the 3rd quarter of 2020 compared to the 2nd quarter of 2020.
  • VC that invested in Defi before the winds of Defi Summer blew in the 2nd quarter of 2020, in other words, the VC who predicted the Defi to be the trend in advance, are listed below,

Multicoin Capital, Morgan Creek Digital, Meyer Equity, Paradigm, IOSG Ventures, Version One Ventures, SBI Financial Services


Opensea volume chart. source: Delphi Digital [3]

  • The 4th quarter of 2021 was called the “NFT Winter” where many NFT projects received spotlighted attention. The number of investments in NFT projects increased 245% in the 4th quarter of 2021 compared to the 3rd quarter of 2021.
  • We must note that investments in NFT projects among VC already surged in the 1st quarter of 2021, about nine months before the NFT winter began.
  • The VC that invested in NFT projects right before the first trend began in the 4th quarter of 2020, thus the VC who predicted the trend to be NFTs, are listed below,

Courtside Ventures, Kindred Ventures, 1kx

Web 3

Number of fundraisings in Web3 (Quarterly)

  • The time slot in which investments in Web3 projects rapidly increased was the 2nd quarter of 2021, which demonstrated an increase of 234%

  • Investments in Web3 projects are at an ATH right now. Also, considering that the number of investments have been on an upward trend since the 2nd quarter of 2020, it is evident We are in the trend of Web3.Signs that show the decreasing number of investments in Defi and NFTs also stand to support the claim that Web3 is the current trend.

However it is not easy to grasp exactly which projects can be classified as “Web3”. Therefore let us analyze the category of Web3 in more detail by delving into the sub-categories.

Number of fundraisings in Web3 with Sub-categoris (Semi-annually)

Even within the category of Web3 there are more than 20 sub-categories. But between these, there were three noteworthy trends that were responsible for a large portion of investments.

  1. Gaming: 2 investments in the first half of 2020 → 8 investments in the second half of 2020 (400% increase)
  2. Metaverse: 3 investments in the first half of 2021 → 15 investments in the second half of 2021 (500% increase)
  3. DAO: 1 investment in the first half of 2021 → 8 investments in the second half of 2021 (800% increase)

VC who predicted the 3 trends listed above are;

Digital Currency Group, Winklevoss Capital, Spartan Group, Pantera Capital, Walsh Wealth Ventures, SNZ Holding, Collab+Currency,, The LAO, Hypersphere Ventures

Analysis 3. +8% than Ethereum

Since we have used data dated up to the 28th of February 2022, let us imagine that you have finished your analysis by the 1st of March 2022 and begun imitating their investments.

There were 20 projects that 20 trend-setting VC secured in January and February 2022 according to Analysis 2. Among these, there were 3 projects that were available for purchase by users in the market.

The three projects were; SSV.Network, Railgun, Lootex.

As of May 24th, if the three projects were purchased at the same rate, the average rate of return would be 21.80%, thus yielding 8% more profit than Bitcoin and Ethereum** whose rate of returns were -30.77 %, -30.60% respectively.

As of 5/24, Returns between VC tracking portfolios, Bitcoin and Ethereum

When comparing a portfolio that was built through VC tracking, made up of SSV.Network, Railgun, Lootex 3 (red line in the graph below) — between 1 March to 24 May — to the same amount of return invested in Ethereum and its rate of return (green line in the graph below), going past the halfway point, the return on the portfolio built through VC tracking is evidently higher.

From 3/1 to 5/24, Returns from VC tracking portfolios to returns from Ethereum

Analysis 4. So, What’s the Next Trend?!

Analysis 4 predicts the next trend through a “word cloud”. Word clouds are a visual representation of words that give more visual prominence to words that have been mentioned more frequently. This is done by enlarging or bolding words so that important concepts and keywords can be immediately recognized and intuitively understood. Words clouds are most frequently used when analyzing big data so that the characteristics of the data are spotlighted. But in this text, we will visualize the descriptive words used to summarize particular projects.

Variables in the “Description” briefly outline projects that have received investments. Source: Dove metrics [1]

For example, in the 9 months prior to the DeFi summer (Q3 2020), mentions of words related to “Finance” and “Financial” increased in the word cloud, and as shown, such keywords gradually moved from the edge of the word cloud to the center. Eventually, in the third quarter of 2020, the keyword ‘DeFi’ appeared at the very center, and through this, the following insights were obtained.

Before the wave of DeFi began, keywords such as “Finance, Financial, Trade, Buy, Loan” were frequently mentioned. Then eventually this new trend of Defi took over the market.

(From top left corner) Changes in word clouds over a year from Q4 2019 to Q3 2020 that is called “Defi Summer”

Keywords such as Financial or Finance were located at the edge of the cloud but gradually move to the center, then eventually the keyword DEFI appears and immediately locates itself in the center.

Likewise, the word cloud from the 2nd quarter of 2021 to the first quarter of 2022 is shown below.

(From top left corner) Changes in word clouds over a year from Q4 2019 to Q3 2020 that is called “Defi Summer”

Thus, the next trend predicted through the word cloud above would be as follows.

Metaverse + something (e.g., Metaverse Fashion brands, AR/VR services, Metaverse Avatars, etc) Game/DAO/NFT + Financial (Defi services from those that provide basic functions such as lending/swaps/providing liquidity to more interesting defi services that provide specialized functions. e.g., Loans for Gamers/Guilds, NFT backed lending protocols, etc) 3. Asset management (With the arrival of crypto winter, the need for projects that can manage personal assets safer than ever is predicted to increase.)

  1. Social Communities based on Solana (e.g., Fans, Sports, Artist, Music, etc)

I, the writer, predict the projects with the three following keywords will receive heated attention in the market in the next 3–9months.

Final Comment

Through this article, we explored investment data of VC from various perspectives alongside my personal insight. However, this was a very basic level of analysis with lots of room for improvement and development in the future. Starting with this article, I plan to publish a series of articles analyzing data relevant to crypto of which this article can be seen as the first — thus only discussing basic aspects. The following articles will be written on the topics listed below. #staytuned

  • Identifying hidden cartel by drawing a map of the networking relationships between VC and Founders, and VC to VC
  • Identifying which characteristics of a project attract investments from VC and listing projects that are most likely to receive VC investments
  • LP wallet tracking through VC wallet tracking
  • Dividing VC into tiers based on rate of return, and identifying characteristics of each tier

Now let us conclude this article, published on 17 May, with a quote from a16z.

It is still early days for web3 — a16z



[1] Dove metrics — Dataframe

[2] Bitcoin price chart — Coingecko

[3] Opensea volume chart. source: Delphi Digital

Copyright 2022. nonce Classic. All Rights Reserved.

translated by Esther Kim