(Bloomberg) -- Ava Labs Inc., the lead developer of the Avalanche blockchain, is in the process of raising a new round of funding, according to people familiar with the discussions. Its new valuation would make it one of world’s most highly valued crypto startups.
The company, founded and helmed by Cornell University professor Emin Gun Sirer, is raising $350 million at a $5.25 billion valuation, said one of the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the round hasn’t been made public.
Avalanche is attempting to compete with the likes of Ethereum and Solana by offering high speeds and low transaction fees for applications ranging from trading and lending to games. It has been gaining traction with users and developers, who flocked to the Avalanche Summit in Barcelona in March. Almost 250 active apps are running on Avalanche, many of them in decentralized finance or gaming, according to tracker DappRadar. The related AVAX token has a $21.5 billion market cap and its price is up about 19% over the past month, according to CoinMarketCap.com.
Ava Labs is raising money even as crypto markets remain choppy, with Bitcoin well down from its November all-time high amid worries over Fed tightening, inflation and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Last year, Polychain Capital and Three Arrows Capital led a $230 million round in the Avalanche public blockchain ecosystem via a token sale that benefited the Avalanche Foundation. In 2020, Ava Labs raised $12 million for the project through a private token sale led by Bitmain, Galaxy Digital and others.
Founded in 2018, Ava Labs also raised a $6 million round in 2019, from investors including Andreessen Horowitz and Polychain. The company has 170 employees, according to PitchBook.
Representatives for Ava Labs didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
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