Fundraising In A Bear Market: How This Web3 Startup Got $5 Million
The crypto bear market has had a number of implications, one of these has been in the ability of Web3 projects in the space to make money. However, not every project has run into the problem of difficulty raising funds. In this interview, we sit down with Vikram Aditya of DAOLens, a Web3 project that recently raised $5 million in an oversubscribed funding round.
Bitcoinist: Can you introduce yourself and give a brief rundown of what it is you do.
Vikram Aditya: My name is Vikram Aditya. I’m the co-founder of DAOLens along with Apoorv Nandan. We’ve been friends for nearly a decade since graduating from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Guwahati. Since then, I spent a lot of time designing and growing Enterprise SAAS in my previous role as the product lead at Merkle Science.
When I see an opportunity, I follow through, which is how I found my way to DAOLens. I aspire to build capital, build a network, and ultimately use the two to create meaningful impact.
And, with DAOLens, we’re building for a DAO-first world. We’re bringing a simplified and unified perspective to enable companies to metamorph into mature DAOs with personalized and frictionless onboarding as well as seamless community management.
Bitcoinist: Why did you create DAOLens?
Vikram Aditya: We believe that every corporate, community or group is eventually going to be structured into a DAO eventually, even if the nomenclature changes down the line.
Me and my co-founder, Apoorv Nandan, started on this journey with a simple goal – how would we explain DAOs to a five-year-old who had never heard about web3? In the process, we discovered a whole bunch of problems deeply rooted within the DAO ecosystem from onboarding to contribution to the discovery.
In order for DAOs to scale, these were fundamentals that needed to be simplified. Hence, the birth of DAOLens. An idea that was discussed over a Google call matured into a community of nearly 400 members in just over six months.
We already have three live products – a discovery portal, a contributor onboarding solution, and community management tools. All three are being used to scale by various DAOs. A portion of the funds will also be used to scale business operations in line with the startup’s expansion.
Bitcoinist: Everyone knows raising money in a bear market is not an easy task. How did you approach this?
Vikram Aditya: While that may be true, we were 4x oversubscribed when we were raising these funds. We actually had to turn people away because our funding round was capped at $5 million.
The pandemic highlighted how DAOs are a much better way of working since they allow for the freedom of choice and time. When we were pitching to investors and stakeholders, not a single person said, “Hey! I don’t think we need what you’re building.”
And, we’ve been very lucky with our investors who share our long-term outlook. Moreover, they love the fact that our team is built to thrive in tough scenarios.
Bitcoinist: You were able to raise $5 million in one of the densest funding rounds ever in the space. Any names we know?
Vikram Aditya: We have some phenomenal angel investors on board. It’s a powerful pool of founders from web2 as well as web3. Some of the notable names include Balaji Srinivasan, Coinbase’s Gokul Rajaram, Polygon founder Sandeep Nailwal, Solana founder Raj Gokal, EPNS founder Harsh Rajat, Animoca Brands’ Simon Doherty, Kunal Bahl & Rohit Bansal from Snapdeal, and CoinDCX co-founder Sumit Gupta.
Bitcoinist: Can you tell us about the NFT project you’re working on?
Vikram Aditya: We’re not working on any NFT project personally but have partnered with DAOs to build communities around different types of NFTs.
Bitcoinist: Web3, like the rest of the crypto market, has taken a beatdown. Do you think recovery is in the picture?
Vikram Aditya: Sure, there is a lot of noise, but this is not the first time that the market has seen a downturn. Such shake-ups are very common in crypto and any new technology is bound to go through this phase – it signals maturity. Historically, shake-ups like these have led to bigger events like the internet becoming mainstream.
While there will be downsizing in crypto exchanges, founders of pure play crypto products, at least the ones I’ve talked to, are jumping at the opportunity of a bear market coming into play.
During winters, there is less noise and the market is no longer giving out poor signals, allowing web3 startups with genuine use cases to thrive. According to the investors we’ve spoken to, so long as people know what they’re building and why they’re building it, they will march forward – probably faster than before.
Bitcoinist: Where do you see DAOLens and the Web3 space in the next five years?
Vikram Aditya: I am as bullish as I have ever been. It’s not a time to slow down but double down. This winter is going to lead to 5-10 companies like Polygon coming out of emerging markets like India.
We may go for another round of funding within the next 12-15 months depending on how the current market situation plays out. Our current roadmap is to fine-tune our existing products, hire the best talent, and create more solutions to make DAO onboarding, management, contribution, and discovery easier.
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