Market Insights

Under the COVID-19 Radar: Friday Dealbook for 3/13/2020

This week’s news cycle was completely dominated by COVID-19, but not to worry – deals were still being made, albeit a bit more quietly than usual. We saw movement in the blockchain space, with GrainChain raising $8.2 million for agricultural supply chain management, and Arweave just eking out GrainChain with $8.3 million for its decentralized data storage solution. Finally, YouVerify raised $1.5 million for its identity and background screening platform.

The health and safety of our community is our highest priority. Due to the escalating concerns around the spread of coronavirus at large community events, KNOW Identity 2020 will no longer take place April 5-8 and will be postponed to a later date this calendar year. For more information, please visit our announcement page here.


The Top Deals Covered by OWI this Week


YouVerify \ \ Founded in 2018

Developer of an online screening platform designed to provide identity and background screening for enterprises and startups. The company’s platform delivers next-generation background checks and provides transparent data, enabling businesses to verify anyone, anywhere.

The company raised $1.5 million of seed funding from Orange Digital Ventures, LoftyInc Capital Management and Outlierz Ventures on March 10, 2020. Village Capital, Verraki and other undisclosed investors also participated in the round. The company intends to use the funding to improve its technology and accelerate business development in Nigeria and the continent.


GrainChain \ \ Founded in 2013

Developer of exchange platform with blockchain-based technology designed for prompt payment and accountability. The company’s platform facilitates prompt payment to suppliers and farmers and the immediate availability of tradable commodities to buyers, uses smart contracts to secure funds during a transaction, enabling businesses, individuals and corporates with a secure digital record of commodity data and transactions.

The company raised $8.2 million of venture funding in a deal led by Medici Ventures on March 6, 2020. Eden Block and other undisclosed investors also participated in the round. The new funding will be used to help GrainChain continue product development and expansion to meet market demands in more countries.


Arweave \ \ Founded in 2017

Developer of a blockchain protocol designed to offer permanent data storage services. The company’s protocol is built on a consensus mechanism that makes permanent, low-cost data storage easily available anytime, enabling network topology to adapt autonomously to the appropriate routes of information distribution.

The company raised $8.3 million in funding from giant VC firm Andreessen Horowitz, Coinbase Ventures, and Union Square Ventures. Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures have also invested in the firm’s operations during its previous rounds. The funds raised will be used to help the company launch several new projects, which includes a plan to re-invest the capital back into the Arweave community.


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Investor Highlight


Village Capital \ \ Founded in 2009

Founded in 2009, Village Capital is an accelerator based in Washington, District of Columbia. The firm seeks to invest in companies operating in the financial health, sustainability, future of work and other sectors.

Active Portfolio – 638

Investments (TTM) – 21

Med. Round Amount – $0.09M 

Med. Valuation – $11.47M

Exits – 189


Deal History

In the past year, Village Capital has invested in the following 5 identity companies:







*Source: PitchBook Data Inc. with proprietary keyword searches set by OWI Analysts