Why these 5 projects thrived despite Crypto VC Funding dip in 2023

Crypto VC Funding dip

In the ever-evolving world of cryptocurrency, 2023 marked a peculiar year. While the broader market witnessed a significant dip in Crypto VC Funding, a handful of projects defied the odds, not just surviving but flourishing amidst the turbulence. These projects, with their innovative approaches, robust strategies, and clear visions, managed to capture the attention and trust of investors. This article delves into five such standout projects that thrived against the backdrop of a challenging financial landscape.

1. Pendle Finance

Pendle Finance focuses on liberating yield for its users. It offers a platform where users can earn fixed yields on various assets without any lock-up period. Additionally, Pendle provides options for users to either long their yield or hedge against their yield exposure.

Offered Yields:

  • stETH: 5.37% fixed yield.
  • USDT: 2.93% fixed yield.
  • sfrxETH: 6.55% fixed yield.


  • Pendle Earn: Users can find stability among volatile yields without any lock-up period. 
  • Pendle Trade: Provides options for users to either long their yield or hedge against their yield exposure.

Recent Fundraises

In August 2023, Binance Labs announced an undisclosed investment in Pendle Finance. The funding secured by the Pendle Finance team will be allocated towards expanding to multiple blockchain networks, specifically catering to retail and institutional users.
Previously Pendle Finance successfully raised $3.7 M in April 2021 led by Mechanism Capital along with support from the leading funds and individuals such as Crypto.com Capital, Hashkey Capital, Spartan Group, co-founder & CEO of DeBank, and Taiyang Zhang etc.

USPs/Key Features:

  • Tokenization of future yield: Allows users to separate and trade yield from its underlying asset.
  • Innovative yield trading: Provides a new avenue for yield strategies in the DeFi space.
  • Integration with various DeFi platforms: Enhances liquidity and user experience.

2.  Maple Finance

Maple Finance is a corporate credit marketplace where institutions can earn yield from lending to established crypto projects. Maple provides access to a mix of opportunities with yields generated by lending to real businesses, underwritten by professionals. On Maple, credit professionals manage fast-flowing lending businesses where capital is syndicated and lent to institutional borrowers to fund business growth and operations. It is the only on-chain marketplace focused exclusively on serving institutional and individual accredited investors with high-quality lending opportunities.

Total Loans Issued: $2,140,076,800

Total Deposited: $54,502,482

Recent Fundraise

Maple Finance announced a fresh $5 Mn fundraise led by Tioga Capital and Blocktower Capital. GSR Ventures, Cherry Ventures, Veris Ventures, and The Spartan Group also participated in the round.

USPs/Key Features:

  • Corporate credit platform: Targets institutional lending to crypto projects.
  • Decentralized lending: Facilitates peer-to-peer lending without intermediaries.
  • Integration with DeFi: Enhances liquidity and broadens the scope of lending.

3. Ellipsis Labs

Ellipsis Labs is focused on building the liquidity backbone of the decentralized finance (DeFi) sector. With the advent of high-throughput blockchains, new financial primitives have been made possible. Ellipsis Labs is at the forefront of this innovation, developing Phoenix, a decentralized limit order book on the Solana blockchain. Phoenix stands out as it is entirely on-chain, non-custodial, and does not require cranks (a mechanism in Solana programming).

Recent Fundraise

On August 17, it announced a $3.3 Mn seed round led by Electric Capital along with Robot Ventures and Anagram. Notable angels in this investment round “include Anatoly Yakovenko, CEO of Solana Labs, Marc Boiron, CEO of Polygon Labs, and Keone Hon, CEO of Monad Labs.

USPs/Key Features:

  • Decentralized Limit Order Book: Phoenix, developed by Ellipsis Labs, is a decentralized limit order book on Solana, providing users with a secure and transparent trading experience.
  • Fully On-Chain: All operations and transactions related to Phoenix are processed on-chain, ensuring transparency and security.
  • Non-Custodial: Users retain full control of their assets, as Phoenix operates in a non-custodial manner.
  • Crankless: The system is designed without the need for cranks, a specific mechanism in Solana’s programming, simplifying user interactions.

4. Stroom Network

Stroom Network is a liquid staking protocol designed for the Bitcoin Lightning Network. It offers users the opportunity to earn yield within the Lightning Network while maintaining the liquidity of their BTC.

Recent Fundraises

Stroom raised $3.5 Mn in an oversubscribed seed funding round.The round was led by Berlin-based crypto investment firm Greenfield, with participation from Lemniscap, No Limit Holdings, Cogitent Ventures and Mission Street, Ankr’s venture arm.

USPs/Key Features:

  • Liquid Staking: Stroom Network provides a mechanism for users to stake their BTC in the Lightning Network in a decentralized manner.
  • Yield Generation: Users can earn yield within the Lightning Network, enhancing the potential returns on their BTC holdings.
  • BTC Liquidity: Despite staking, users retain the liquidity of their BTC. They receive a liquid token pegged 1:1 to BTC, which they can redeem at any time.
  • Adoption Acceleration: Stroom Network aims to accelerate the adoption of the Lightning Network by introducing additional liquidity.

5. Tako Protocol

Tako Protocol is identified as a Web3 social recommendation protocol. This platform empowers developers to construct cross-platform recommendation algorithms, advertising mechanisms, curation, and sharing economy decentralized applications (dApps). The primary objective of Tako Protocol is to enhance the way users create, share, and engage with value within decentralized social networks.

Recent Fundraises

Tako Protocol raised $2 Mn in the Pre-Seed round from Mask Network, DWF Ventures, UOB Venture, Signum Capital, AC capital, SmrtiLab, HashBrown Research, RSS3, and other angel investors.

USPs/Key Features:

  • Web3 Social Recommendation Protocol: Tako Protocol stands out as a Web3 platform specifically designed for social recommendations. This positions it uniquely in the intersection of decentralized technology and social media.
  • Cross-Platform Development: Developers can utilize Tako Protocol to build recommendation algorithms, advertising mechanisms, and sharing economy dApps that work across various platforms. This cross-platform capability ensures broader reach and versatility.
  • Enhanced User Engagement: Tako Protocol aims to revolutionize the way users create, share, and interact with value in decentralized social networks. By transforming traditional social interactions into value-driven engagements, Tako Protocol offers a more enriched user experience.
  • Monetization and Revenue Streams: The protocol allows for the development of dApps that can be used for advertising, curation, and even the sharing economy. This opens up multiple avenues for monetization and revenue generation for developers and content creators.


The resilience and success of Pendle Finance, Maple Finance, Ellipsis Labs, Stroom Network, and Tako Protocol in 2023 serve as a testament to the power of innovation, adaptability, and a clear value proposition in the crypto space. While market fluctuations are inevitable, these projects have demonstrated that with the right strategies and a user-centric approach, it’s possible to thrive even in the face of adversity. Their achievements offer valuable insights and inspiration for emerging crypto ventures and reaffirm the belief that the crypto ecosystem, despite its challenges, continues to be a hotbed for groundbreaking ideas and sustainable growth.

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