Restaurant Industry Veteran Ben Leventhal Raises $11M for Web3 Startup Blackbird

Blackbird, a new Web3 hospitality platform, has raised $11 million in a seed funding round that was co-led by Union Square Ventures, Shine Capital and Multicoin Capital, a company representative confirmed to CoinDesk in an email.

The startup was founded by Ben Leventhal, who previously co-founded food publication Eater and online restaurant platform Resy, which was acquired by American Express (AXP) in 2019.

The Blackbird platform is in the nascent stage but plans to offer a Web3-backed way for restaurants to connect with guests through loyalty and membership. An initial version of the product is expected to launch in the first half of 2023.

As part of the investment, Union Square Ventures partner Fred Wilson will join the Blackbird board. Other investors in the round included investment firm Variant, the venture capital arm of USDC issuer Circle and digital product conglomerate IAC.

Venture capital investments in the crypto industry were down 26% year-over-year in the first half of 2022 as the Ukrainian crisis, collapse of Terra’s stablecoin and bankruptcy filing of lender Celsius gave way to a bear market. The number of deal sizes remained stable, however, suggesting an influx of smaller deal sizes.

Read more: Multicoin Capital Announces $430M Venture Fund for Crypto Startups