Venture capital firm Lightspeed Venture Partners plans to invest $1.8 billion in new funds, including digital currencies.
Lightspeed told Reuters that $1.05 billion of the new funding will be allocated to invest in more mature companies. The firm is planning an expansion to Southeast Asia by contributing to companies active in fields from cryptocurrency and biotechnology to the cosmetics industry.
Since startups rely on funding from venture capital rather than public markets, Lightspeed will invest in a company repeatedly over the course of several years in order to keep a significant ownership interest. Jeremy Liew, a Lightspeed partner, told Reuters that such a trend “has only been increasing over time, and as a result our funds have been getting bigger over time as well.”
At the same time, another Lightspeed partner Ravi Mhatre argued that granting “$500 million or a billion dollars can be a king-making strategy. But it’s not a substitute for building a lasting company.”
The partners said that it will be a challenge for Lightspeed to meet performance expectations due to the success of their previous funds, which have returned $2.7 billion to investors since the beginning of 2017. According to Reuters, companies supported by Lightspeed have conducted 17 initial public offerings (IPO) during the last five years. Liew said:
“If you point to one moment in time for the firm it was probably the Snap IPO. But really, it’s a decade of hard work and it all came to fruition at the same time.”
Lightspeed Venture Partners has traditionally been an early-stage investment firm and the first third-party investor in Snap’s messaging app Snapchat. In 2014 Blockchain.com, then Blockchain.info, raised $30.5 million in a funding round led by Lightspeed.
In 2017, Liew advocated for investment in Bitcoin (BTC), predicting that BTC will reach $500,000 by 2030. He said then that "BTC and the other digital currencies, they all really see a lot of benefit in times of political and economic instability."