Bloomberg Línea — Decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) startup Origami reached a $30 million valuation following a $6.2 million Seed round led by Bloomberg Beta, a Bloomberg LP-backed venture capital fund that invests in early-stage technology companies.
Other participants in this round were Latin America-focused funds Valor Capital and Matterscale, as well as Betaworks, Protocol Labs, Orange DAO, VC3 DAO, Mirana, AppWorks, BECO, PruVen, Bam Ventures, Monochrome, Chamaeleon, Seity Future Ventures, Dreamers, Wave Financial, Transpose, Matrix DAO, and Portofino, in addition to a number of angel investors.
The funds will be used to launch and support DAOs and invest in software so that the DAOs can easily launch.
“Valuations go up and down with the market, sometimes money is easier, sometimes money is harder,” said Rio de Janeiro-based co-founder Matt Voska in an interview. “We’re happy with this valuation, given that seed investors invest in the team, and we have a very strong team.”
Startup funding in Latin America fell for the fifth quarter in a row, according to CB Insights.
Globally, both funding and deals for venture capital-backed startups fell in third quarter, according to CB Insights, due to rising interest rates and investor concern with valuations. In Latin America, CB Insights data point to $1.1 billion raised in the third quarter with 226 deals.
A US citizen, Voska built his first startup Flytenow in 2014, a Uber-like air service using small airplanes. Funded by Y Combinator in 2014, the company ran into difficulties when US government regulations changed the rules allowing private pilots to share empty seats on their flights.
“So, as a pilot, I could take a friend and split the costs with them 50/50. But if you find friends on the Internet to do that, pilots couldn’t make any profit even if they were paying their fees,” explained Voska.
When Flytenow didn’t take off, he joined a company from friends that he met in the batch from YC called Bannerman Security, an Uber-like service for security guards based in San Francisco.
A year and a half ago, when work at Bannerman was fully remote, Voska moved to Rio de Janeiro as he was working as a digital nomad, and then ultimately settled in the Brazilian city.
He met Origami’s co-founder and CEO Ben Huh in the metaverse.
“We met because we were both Y Combinator alumni, and a year ago we started a DAO together called Orange DAO. We had never met before that but we were in that chat group. Because of that, we did very good work so, with the traction that we had with Orange DAO, which is a DAO for Y Combinator alumni, we were able to raise a venture fund and put that directly into the DAO with 13,000 Y Combinator alumni as members,” he said.
Orange DAO made over 130 startup investments through its venture fund.
What is a DAO?
A DAO is a kind of operating system for communities, Voska explains. “Most of the people in a community move in different directions. The DAO aligns everyone with the common goal of the community. It provides a system for people to be able to collaborate and work together in a decentralized way, without a CEO telling people what to do.”
Voska thinks this type of governance model is going to be native to Web 3.0 communities. “Unlike companies that have a corporate governance structure, which is very top-down with the CEO and board of directors, a DAO is effective for operating in parallel. You have many groups and people in a DAO operating autonomously creating different results that all align with this common interest.”
Alongside CEO Ben Huh, he founded Origami in January 2022. Origami and Orange DAO will provide $20,000 in seed funding to select vetted DAOs. Origami wants people to spend less when launching a DAO.
“We help to institute this operating system with communities and support community builders. While we use the underlying technology of crypto, using the blockchain to be able to distribute this form of governance, we don’t depend on the price of crypto assets. If the market goes up, down, or sideways, it doesn’t affect us,” Voska said.
“We’re kind of the Y Combinator for DAOs, giving them funding.”
The startup has nine employees of five different nationalities.