51 - 150 in alphabetical order of CVC unit: Brian Armstrong, founder & CEO, Coinbase

The recent surge in corporate venturing in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology has been underpinned by the investment activity of Coinbase, the leading crypto exchange set up by Brian Armstrong a decade ago.

Through Coinbase Ventures, the firm has now made investments in more than 250 decentralised finance (DeFi) and crypto businesses. In 2021, it struck almost 150 deals – accounting for more than 90% of the total capital outlay made by the unit since it was formed in 2018.

Coinbase Ventures’ mandate is to increase economic freedom around the world by supporting leading entrepreneurs and startups in the crypto ecosystem. According data provider CB Insights, investments have included Zora Labs, a marketplace for digital tokens, Arweave, a digital storage service, and OpenSea, an NFT marketplace, as well as DeFi companies such as Vega Protocol, Saddle, Uniswap, and peers Pintu, Bitso and CoinDCX.

The unit has also gone on record as saying that it is Armstrong’s policy to invest in its competitors – as well as in businesses operating in sectors not directly related to Coinbase’s activities.

Prior to founding Coinbase, Armstrong worked as a software developer for IBM as well as for Deloitte as a consultant. It was during his time as a software engineer for Airbnb in 2011 that he was exposed to the problems associated with international money transfers.

This led to him developing technology to buy and store cryptocoins, which was formalised as Coinbase the following year with support from the Y Combinator startup accelerator in Mountain View, California.