This IPO has it all; cryptocurrencies, $100 billion valuations, financial market inflection points, Kelly Loeffler, newly-minted billionaires, famous venture capitalists, basketball stars…Nas.
Crypto exchange Coinbase
is off and running as a public company after what is now the largest direct listing in U.S. market history, but aside from co-founders Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam the biggest winners as the stock lifts off are the company’s early investors, a group of famous names that put together reads like the most peculiar cocktail party ever assembled.
After Armstrong left Airbnb to build a crypto trading platform in 2012, he found a partner in Goldman Sachs trading desk refugee Ehrsam and the two men enrolled in premier tech incubator Y Combinator where their project caught the eye of a group of seed investors that included Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanion, who helped get Coinbase off the ground five years before he made headlines for becoming Mr. Serena Willams.
That seed round attracted the interest of venture capital titans Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures ad Marc Andreessen of Andreessen Horowitz, who were key players in Coinbase’s Series A and B funding rounds.
Another participant in the $25 million Series B round was QueensBridge Venture Partners which boasts Nasir Jones, also known as hip hop legend Nas, as a partner.
When Coinbase went back to the private equity well in early 2015, Wilson and Andreessen were there again to lead a $75 million round from a group of investors that included crypto proselytizer Tim Draper and his son Adam. Also throwing in a few bucks for a piece of Coinbase was the New York Stock Exchange, whose chairman Jeffrey Sprecher is married to former US Senator Kelly Loeffler.
Coinbase listed on Nasdaq.
Coinbase’s $108 million Series D was the private equity equivalent of a late night club in the Meatpacking District in Manhattan.
In addition to billionaire PayPal and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, Coinbase’s 2017 funding round included libertarian hedge fund manager turned venture capitalist Dmitry Balyasny, Google Ventures founder Bill Maris, political strategist and investor Bradley Tusk and NBA superstar Kevin Durant.
All of these investors got in at a $1.6 billion post-money valuation, meaning their stakes have increased 6,150% thanks to Wednesday’s $100 billion IPO.
The last bold-faced name to get in on Coinbase in the private market was hedge fund billionaire Chase Coleman, who participated in 2018’s monster $300 million Series E in 2018 via his $50 billion Tiger Global Management.
If only social distancing didn’t prevent seeing all of these faces gathering together and toasting their big score.