Crypto VC Darren Lau says the era of 'spray and pray' investing is cooling down

Episode 14 of Season 4 of The Scoop was recorded remotely with The Block’s Frank Chaparro and Darren Lau of The Daily Ape and Not3Lau Capital.

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For crypto venture investors, 2021 was a landmark year. 

The flood of capital that poured more than $28.65 billion into crypto firms last year was propped up by new billion-dollar fund launches, a ramp-up in venture investing among crypto firms, and investor appetite for a general risk-on environment, giving way to a new class of angel investors in the market.

But 2022 has been more risk-off, with the crypto market shedding billions of market cap on news that inflation could lead to a hike in interest rates, plus the addition of geo-political uncertainty, which has caused its own price gyrations across markets. 

This pullback has begun seeping into the private crypto market, according to venture capital investor Darren Lau, who founded crypto educational resource The Daily Ape and runs VC firm Not3Lau Capital. Lau has backed projects including Nansen, Trader Joe, and Mixmob. He was also an early Solana investor.

“I talked to a few projects recently, like just this week, and they were telling me like how even though these VC’s were committing to the round a month ago, two months ago, they’re pulling out of the deals based on how the market looks right now," Lau said on the most recent episode of The Scoop.

They're also being much more selective compared to previously. "So back then a lot more VC’s were spraying and praying," added Lau.


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The "spray and pray" approach — which involves an investor making a bunch of bets on the hope that one will deliver a massive upside — appears to be becoming less of a darling strategy in today's market.

Says Lau: "People are being more careful with their capital."

On this episode of The Scoop, Lau and Frank Chaparro discuss: 

  • Lau's approach to venture investing and his decision-making process for making a venture bet
  • How he uses bots to automate his investment process and scour Discord channels to find hot deals
  • How he got involved with Solana early on and what he thinks the future holds for the project
  • How DAOs have evolved over the years and why they've become a red-hot buzz word

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

About Author

Frank Chaparro is Host of The Scoop podcast and Director of Special Projects. He also writes a biweekly newsletter. Chaparro started his career at Business Insider, where he specialized in the intersection of digital assets and Wall Street, market structure, and financial technology. Soon after joining Business Insider out of Fordham University, Chaparro was interviewing top finance and tech executives, including billionaire Mark Cuban, “Flash Boys” star Brad Katsuyama, Cboe Global Markets CEO Ed Tilly, and New York Stock Exchange President Tom Farley. In 2018, he become a sought after reporter in the crypto world, interviewing luminaries such as Tyler Winklevoss, the cofounder of Gemini, Jeremy Allaire, the CEO of Circle, and Fundstrat head Tom Lee. For inquiries or tips, email [email protected].