5 areas where U.S. seed funding will be strong in 2022

In a typical month, hundreds of U.S. companies disclose large seed rounds. Every few quarters, Crunchbase News makes a habit of perusing these rounds to see what trends we can glean.

This time, we looked at nearly 1,000 U.S. seed rounds and seed rounds of $500,000 and above announced in 2022.And, as usual, funded companies cover a very wide range of businesses, from virtual world fashion to pod Plants can be grown in space.

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However, even in this rich variety, some popular investment themes still stand out. Let’s take a look at five of them:

1. Metaverse

People investing in futuristic visions seem to think that we will spend more time and money in virtual worlds. In particular, they’re placing some big bets on companies that say they’re focused on the metaverse.

So far this year, we’ve identified at least nine self-described Metaverse companies that have raised large seed rounds.The largest recipients of funds are space runner, an early-stage Metaverse fashion developer focused on sneakers. The company raised $10 million in a seed round in March.

Other funded startups include networka developer of digital collectibles showrooms, raised $6.7 million, and mirror world, a producer of virtual worlds featuring “artificial intelligence-driven virtual creatures,” sold for $4 million. See below for a full list of 2022 seed-funded Metaverse startups:

2. NFT

The recent NFT-related headlines have been filled with bad news. with wit, Wall Street Journal recently published a piece The opening remarks: The NFT market is collapsing.

Those numbers certainly look depressing. Sales a few weeks ago were reportedly down 92% from their September peak. Past valuations have not held up.The NFT of the first tweet came from Twitterof Jack Dorseyfor example, going to auction Despite selling for $2.9 million in March 2021, it has not received bids over $14,000 this year.

Still, seed investors didn’t end their love of all things non-fungible tokens. “NFT” is one of the most popular descriptors for seed-funded startups in 2022, with at least 26 raising $500 million or more.

Largest Grant Recipient—Yuga Laboratoriescreator Boring Ape Yacht Club Collection of NFTs – in one up to $450 million. Although the company and funding round may seem too big to be a seed, Yuga is actually a very young company founded last year.

Other sizable recipients of funds include CryptoSlaman aggregator of NFT collectible data, which received $9 million, and bet, a sports prediction game for NFTs, raised $5.3 million.See the full list of seed-funded NFT startups 1the following:

3. Brain and Neurotechnology

Many startups seem to think we can do better to keep our brains healthy, engaged and high performing. Still others are exploring neurostimulation, next-generation wearables, and supplements to revitalize our brain activity.

Whatever their particular focus, seed-stage startups focused on brain health, therapy and stimulation seem to have attracted a lot of interest from seed investors so far this year.

According to Crunchbase, the largest torrent recipients in 2022 are inner universe, a Northern California-based developer of brain-computer interfaces for treating depression. The company said it was developing a penny-sized device that could enter the skin and rebalance brain networks with “imperceptible microstimulation” and raised $10 million in a March funding round.

Another $8.1 million seed round brain luxury, a manufacturer of supplements that optimize brain performance.and familiaris a developer of sleep health wearables using neurostimulation that raised $6.6 million in a seed round in January. See below for a more complete list of brain-related 2022 seed rounds:

4. Alternative protein

Alternative protein has been a hot area for seed funding for years and continues to top the list.

The larger round, about $12 million, went to a three-year-old company, change food, is relatively mature by seed standards. The startup uses microbes and precision fermentation to produce cheese that melts and tastes like real cheese.

Another interesting company in the plant-based meat space is black sheep food, which sells a vegetarian alternative to lamb. In the field of crop science, Newsil Raised $4.5 million for an ultra-high protein chickpea variety.

See a more complete list of funded companies in the alternative protein area below:

5. Fitness

Whether we’re out-of-shape couch potatoes or competitive athletes, most of us can benefit from coaches and fitness tools to help us improve our game.

Fortunately, a slew of seed-funded firms are working to make this happen. Services on offer range from AI-enabled personal training to customized home workouts to underwater recreation.

AltisAI personal trainers have raised $10 million in two seed rounds this year, according to Crunchbase. ZigoMeanwhile, $4.5 million was raised for swimmers to wear headphones to listen to music and audio content while swimming. cabataa maker of “smart dumbbells” for weight training, raised $2 million.

See the full list of seed-funded fitness startups below:

So where is our future headed?

Seeing funding in general gives us a small glimpse of where futuristic-minded investors think we’re headed.

If we look at recent trends, we might conclude that in the future, we will spend more time in more refined virtual worlds where companies will find more refined ways to use our time and attention. to make money.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, we’ll be trying to keep our planetary bodies in a healthier state by relying further on digital technology — the same digital technology that, somewhat ironically, keeps us on the couch.

We will be able to maintain a delicious, protein-rich diet and reduce our reliance on animal husbandry. And, with the help of supplements and neurostimulation, our brains will keep working better.

Overall, it’s not the scariest vision. The general impression, however, is that humans will move further away from the basic life skills of our cave-dwelling, hunter-gatherer ancestors.

Of course, we’re a long way from that. Today, the basic life skills of many of us—think electronically filing taxes, microwaving frozen food, and paying electricity bills—would be unrecognizable to our distant ancestors. Inevitably, we can expect our way of life to become quite primitive a few generations from now.

illustration: Dom Guzman

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