A16z and Coinbase execs back new crypto VC fund Canonical 

Quick Take

  • VC firm Canonical Crypto has raised $20 million for its first fund. 
  • The fund is launched by angel investor Anand Iyer and backed by high-profile investors, including Andreessen and Dixon of a16z.

New venture capital firm Canonical Crypto has officially launched with its inaugural $20 million fund, joining a series of crypto funds raised in recent weeks.

Canonical Crypto's backers include Marc Andreessen and Chris Dixon of Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), Shan Aggarwal of Coinbase Ventures, Amy Wu of FTX Ventures, Haseeb Qureshi of Dragonfly Capital, Semil Shah of Haystack VC and Dan Romero, an early employee of Coinbase, as limited partners.

When asked how Canonical was able to amass high-profile investors for a small fund, founder Anand Iyer told The Block in an interview that he has known many of these investors for some time during his career as a serial entrepreneur and angel investor.

Before founding Canonical last September, Iyer was a visiting partner at Pear Ventures, where he focused on crypto investments. Along with his wife Shreya, Iyer is also an angel investor and limited partner in venture capital funds including Haystack, Chapter One and Ravikant Capital, according to his personal website.

Having known various investors, "doors opened up relatively easily" for Canonical, Iyer said.

Canonical closed the fund in January, but delayed the announcement to today because of the Russia-Ukraine war and pending legal requirements, Iyer said. Canonical was initially looking to raise $15 million, but ended up with an oversubscribed round.

Early-stage focus

Still, Canonical kept its fund size small because it wants to focus on pre-seed and seed investments, Iyer said. The firm will write checks in an average range of $250,000 to $500,000.

Canonical's key focus is to invest in web3 infrastructure startups and help bring web2 developers to the web3 space. 

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Iyer said he spent the early years of his career evangelizing developer platforms at Microsoft. And now, going back to his roots, he wants to build "better infrastructure for developers to be successful in web3."

Canonical has invested in more than 10 startups thus far, including Solana-based data infrastructure project Vybe Network, web3 communication infrastructure platform Notifi and web3 developer tools builder Thirdweb.

Some of those investments were made in founders Iyer met through his DeFi class. Iyer teaches a course on DeFi and has trained more than 2,000 people, he said.

Iyer said he went down the crypto rabbit hole in 2013 when he started mining bitcoin with his friends, and he has never looked back. 

He said he isn't concerned about the current downturn in the crypto market because he has seen several tech and crypto waves and the tech is here to stay, build and grow, irrespective of market cycles.

Iyer plans to fully deploy the fund by the end of next year by investing in a total of 40 to 50 startups.

Canonical is currently a one-person show, but Iyer said he is looking for partners. 

© 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

Yogita Khatri is a senior reporter at The Block, covering all things crypto. As one of the earliest team members, Yogita has played a pivotal role in breaking numerous stories, exclusives and scoops. With nearly 3,000 articles under her belt, Yogita holds the records as The Block's most-published and most-read author of all time. Prior to joining The Block, Yogita worked at crypto publication CoinDesk and The Economic Times, where she wrote on personal finance. To contact her, email: [email protected]. For her latest work, follow her on X @Yogita_Khatri5.