Bastian Lehmann’s new cryptocurrency business TipTop gently hinted at a few weeks ago, but the secret startup is now disclosing some information about its early investment.
The startup’s website and job listings are as vague as possible, with redacted graphics promising “consumer finance solutions for a changing web” and that they’re “building protocols and infrastructure,” doing something “at the intersection of fiat and crypto.” It’s all public speculation, but investors are willing to back Lehmann following Postmates’ $2.65 billion sale to Uber in mid-2020.
TipTop Labs appears to be hiring a blockchain engineer, with primary responsibilities including “Building protocol components that integrate across different blockchain systems” and “leading the design and architecture of core protocols and tokens,” according to its careers page. The company has been registered in Delaware since February. Lehmann claims to be the current creator of a “stealth startup” on his Linkedin page.
Lehmann mentions that the firm has received a $23 million Series A investment from a16z, with Marc Andreessen personally joining the startup’s board of directors. Andreessen, who cofounded Netscape, which AOL purchased for $4.2 billion in shares in 1998, and was an early investor in Facebook, will also join the board.
Among the other investors in the round are Sam Altman, Naval Ravikant, Andy McLoughlin, Jeff Clavier, and Dan Romero.
Following last week’s meltdown, which was savage even by crypto standards, the launch of this round comes at a difficult moment for the larger crypto markets.
This blow has put many venture companies in a difficult position, and they are likely to reconsider their commitment to the industry. This lack of volume, particularly from growth firms, may make scaling a crypto business more difficult in the coming years if the sector is indeed on the verge of a “crypto winter.” These issues will obviously be less pronounced for repeat founders like Lehmann and ex-Meta executive David Marcus, who also announced venture backing for his new crypto startup yesterday.
The news follows a recent shift in talent from traditional IT professions to crypto-focused enterprises. Binance has hired many ex-Microsoft and Agoda execs to assist improve its Web3 skills. Last month, Polygon Studios allegedly recruited Michael Blank, a former executive at Electronic Arts, and Young Ko, a former VP at Penske Media.
Delivery services enter the crypto space
In 2011, Lehmann launched the meal delivery service Postmates. Uber bought Postmates for $2.65 billion in an all-stock deal in December 2020. Postmates had grown to encompass 80 percent of American households at that time, with over 600,000 establishments listed on its platform for delivery and takeout.
A Chinese meal delivery startup, Meituan Dianping, has joined the country’s central bank’s digital currency activities. Grubhub is letting its users all around the world to earn Bitcoin (BTC) incentives as part of its collaboration with Lolli. Meanwhile, the city of Liverpool has indicated interest in a Fuse-powered food delivery service.
It’s unclear whether Lehman’s Tiptop Labs business would integrate crypto payments or solutions into the Postmates platform, or whether it will be a distinct blockchain-related startup.