Lightspeed Venture Partners, which is a venture capital firm that was an early investor in Snap, Inc., announced that they have raised $1.8 billion in capital. They plan to invest this money in a wide range of startups that include everything from beauty supply companies to cryptocurrency-related businesses. The company in the past has been primarily focused on early-stage investments, but more than a billion dollars of the new capital it has raised will be committed to growing established startups. This is more than double what they have previously invested in such businesses. The company will further focus the new funding on companies in Southeast Asia. In addition to cryptocurrency and cosmetics, Lightspeed also hopes to invest in television streaming services and biotechnology. A recent trend is for startups to remain private companies for longer periods that they had in the past. This means that startups must rely on venture capital firms such as Lightspeed, which in turn must continually invest in these startups if they want to keep the size of their ownership stakes high. Jeremy Liew, who is a partner at Lightspeed, says that the trend has caused their funds to become significantly larger. He also says that investing in later-stage companies is a double-edge sword. On one hand, these types of companies are less likely to implode. But on the other hand investments in these types of companies rarely provide enormous returns. Since the beginning of 2017, Lightspeed investments have yielded nearly $3 billion, and the companies they have invested in have participated in 17 initial public offerings (IPOs) in the past 5 years. Lightspeed has also been active in the cryptocurrency sector. In 2014, it helped blockchain.com — which was then called blockchain.info — raise $30 million in funding. Additionally, last year Liew publicly called on people to invest in bitcoin. He predicted that by 2030 bitcoin would be worth around $500,000, and he said that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will benefit greatly from the political and economic instability of the current environment.
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