Alan Howard-backed web3 incubator gets fresh funds from Nomura’s Laser Digital

Quick Take

  • Webn, the crypto incubator backed by hedge fund manager Alan Howard, said it will bring on Laser Digital CEO Jez Mohideen as a non-executive director on its board.
  • Laser also made an investment in the incubation studio, but did not disclose how much it invested.

Laser Digital, the crypto subsidiary of Japanese financial services giant Nomura, has invested in Webn, an incubator backed by Alan Howard, as they seek to bring more cryptocurrency-related services to established financial institutions.

As part of the partnership, Jez Mohideen, chief executive officer of Laser Digital, will join the board of Webn as a non-executive director, the company said in an announcement today. Laser Digital and Webn did not disclose the size of the investment.

Established in late 2021, Webn has incubated a number of web3 businesses, including cryptography research house Geometry, DeFi protocol Trufin and non-custodial staking provider Twinstake.

Himanshu Panwar, CEO of Webn Group UK, told The Block in an exclusive interview that the company looks to incubate startups with a focus on bringing crypto technologies to traditional financial services.

Webn Group, with a team of 25, aims to “bridge the gap between large financial institutions and the web3 domain,” Panwar said.

Growing institutional interest

“The quality of the conversation we're having with institutional counterparties is increasing both in terms of frequency and the depth of the conversation,” said Olivier Dang, head of ventures at Laser Digital. 

Many institutions are showing interest in asset tokenization, according to Dang.

“Outside the U.S., we see definitely increasing interest from institutions looking to enter into the asset class, not necessarily just about bitcoin and ether, but also with regards to asset tokenization,” he said.

When it comes to incubation scope, Panwar said that Webn only builds “as many businesses as we can do justice to.”

“We set a realistic target for ourselves to incubate and build out two to three new businesses every calendar year, roughly,” Panwar added.

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