LayerZero Labs is Vancouver’s newest crypto unicorn: Report
The startup is raising $100 million at a $1 billion valuation according to The Information.
March 30, 2022 update: The news is official.
With an astounding 13 BC-tech companies to hit the $1+ billion mark since last December — through acquisition, IPO or funding — people are constantly asking who BC’s next unicorn will be.
According to the Valley-based publication, Vancouver’s LayerZero Labs is raising $100 million (likely USD) from venture capital heavyweights Sequoia Capital, Andreesen Horowitz and crypto trading firm FTX. And despite being only 10-months old, The Information reports that the startup is raising at a $1 billion valuation. “LayerZero’s rapid rise to unicorn status is unusual for startups of the era,” writes Kate Clark, “but investor interest in blockchain startups has recently exploded among more generalist ventures that previously avoided this sector.”
So what do they do?
The firm is developing an “omnichain interoperability protocol that unites decentralized applications across disparate blockchains.”
Here’s how CEO Bryan Pellegrino describes the problem his company is trying to solve on the blog of Binance, a crypto exchange: “DeFi applications have spread out and deployed across multiple chains due to high fees and evolving investors preferences. This has led to severe fragmentation across the market. You can currently trade on Sushi using Ethereum, Moonbeam, Fantom, xDAI, and Binance Smart Chain, and more chains are coming. While all of these applications are Sushi, but none alone is Sushi. LayerZero solves this problem by uniting liquidity across chains and making it possible to transact in, out, and across disparate networks with ease.”
Who’s leading this rocketship?
LayerZero is co-founded by Pellegrino, CTO Ryan Zarick and Caleb Banister, all based in Vancouver, according to their LinkedIn and Twitter profiles. None of the founders responded to requests for comment before I published this.
Not their first round
LayerZero raised a $6 million USD Series A round back in September from Binance and Multicoin Capital, according to Binance’s blog. Other investors that participated include Sino Global Capital, Defiance, Delphi Digital, Robot Ventures, Spartan, Hypersphere Ventures, Protocol Ventures, Gen Block Capital and Echelon Capital.
Pellegrino and Zarick recently joined the Delphi Digital podcast to discuss “Building the Future of Cross-chain, LayerZero Protocol, and Solving the Bridging Trilemma with Stargate.” Shout out to BC innovation commissioner Gerri Sinclair for tipping me off to this company, podcast and news.
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