Why These 5 Startups Succeeded Despite a Decline in Crypto VC Funding in 2023

In the constantly changing world of cryptocurrencies, 2023 was a strange year. While the overall industry saw a dramatic decline in funds invested in cryptocurrency startups, a few ventures overcame the odds. They survived and thrived in the face of the crisis. These initiatives succeeded in gaining the interest and confidence of investors thanks to their creative approaches, solid plans, and distinct ambitions. This article explores five such exceptional enterprises that succeeded in the face of a challenging financial environment.

Pendle Finance

Pendle Finance is dedicated to generating yield for its investors. Users can gain access to a platform where they can earn fixed returns on a variety of assets with no lock-up period. Pendle also allows customers the option of either longing their yield or hedging against their yield exposure.

Available Yields

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


  • Pendle Earn: Users can find stability among unpredictable yields without a lock-up period. 
  • Pendle Trade: Offers consumers the choice of either longing their yield or hedging against their exposure to yield.

Latest Fundraisers

Binance Labs revealed a private investment in Pendle Finance in August 2023. The Pendle Finance team has acquired investment that will be used to develop across different blockchain networks, primarily serving institutional and retail consumers.

Previously, Mechanism Capital and Pendle Finance raised $3.7 million in April 2021, with help from other top investors and funds like Crypto.com Capital, Hashkey Capital, Spartan Group, co-founder and CEO of DeBank, Taiyang Zhang, and others.

Key Features and USPs

  • Future yield can be tokenized, allowing users to trade yield independently of the underlying asset.
  • Innovative yield trading: Offers yield techniques in the DeFi area a new path.
  • Connectivity with different DeFi platforms: increases user satisfaction and liquidity.

Maple Finance  

A marketplace for corporate finance called Maple Finance allows organizations to profit from lending to well-known cryptocurrency ventures. Access to a variety of opportunities is made available through Maple, with yields produced by professional underwriting of loans made to actual firms. Credit experts oversee fast-moving lending activities on Maple, where capital is syndicated and provided to institutional borrowers to support corporate expansion and operations. It is the only on-chain marketplace dedicated solely to providing authorized institutional and individual investors with opportunity to engage in high-quality loans.

  • Loans issued in total: $2,140,076,800
  • Deposited in full: $54,502,482

New Fundraising

The new $5 million fund raise was led by Tioga Capital and Blocktower Capital, according to Maple Finance. The Spartan Group, Cherry Ventures, GSR Ventures, and Veris Ventures were also in the round.

Key Features/USPs

  • Platform for corporate credit: focuses on institutional funding to cryptocurrency initiatives.
  • Decentralized lending: Enables direct lending between individuals without the use of intermediaries.
  • Integration with DeFi improves liquidity and increases loan options.

Ellipsis Labs 

Ellipsis Labs is committed to establishing the decentralized finance (DeFi) industry’s liquidity foundation. High-throughput blockchain technology has opened the door to new financial primitives. With the development of Phoenix, a decentralized limit order book on the Solana blockchain, Ellipsis Labs is at the forefront of this breakthrough. Phoenix differentiates because it lacks cranks (a mechanism in Solana programming) and is on-chain and non-custodial.

New Fundraising

It revealed a $3.3 million seed round on August 17 with Electric Capital, Robot Ventures, and Anagram as co-lead investors. Anatoly Yakovenko, CEO of Solana Labs, Marc Boiron, CEO of Polygon Labs, and Keone Hon, CEO of Monad Labs, are notable angel investors in this round.

Key Features/USPs

Phoenix is a decentralized limit order book on Solana that was created by Ellipsis Labs that offers users a safe and transparent trading environment.

  • Fully On-Chain: All Phoenix-related processes and transactions are carried out on-chain, guaranteeing security and transparency.
  • Non-Custodial: Since Phoenix functions in a non-custodial manner, users maintain total control over their assets.
  • Crankless: To facilitate user interactions, the system was created without the necessity for cranks, a particular mechanism in Solana’s programming.

Stroom Network 

A liquid staking mechanism called Stroom Network was created for the Bitcoin Lightning Network. While preserving the liquidity of their BTC, it gives users the chance to earn yield on the Lightning Network.

Recently raised funds

In a seed investment round that was oversubscribed, Stroom raised $3.5 million.Lemniscap, No Limit Holdings, Cogitent Ventures, and Mission Street, the venture arm of Ankr, also participated in the round, which was led by the Berlin-based cryptocurrency investment firm Greenfield.

Key Features/USPs

  • Liquid Staking: Stroom Network offers a decentralized method for users to stake their Bitcoin in the Lightning Network.
  • Users who participate in the Lightning Network can generate yield, increasing the potential profits on their Bitcoin holdings.
  • BTC Liquidity:  Users still have access to their BTC’s liquidity even after staking. They are given a liquid token that is 1:1 correlated to bitcoin that they can use whenever they choose.
  • Acceleration of Adoption: Stroom Network seeks to hasten the Lightning Network’s adoption by adding more liquidity.

Tako Protocol 

For Web3, the Tako system is a social recommendation system. The decentralised apps (dApps) platform for the sharing economy lets developers make cross-platform curation, ranking algorithms, and dApps. Tako Protocol’s main goal is to make it easier for users to create, share, and interact with value in decentralised social networks.

Recently raised funds

Mask Network, DWF Ventures, UOB Venture, Signum Capital, AC Capital, SmrtiLab, HashBrown Research, RSS3, and other angel investors contributed $2 million to Tako Protocol’s Pre-Seed round.

Key Features/USPs

Tako Protocol is a Web3 platform that is unique in that it was created with social recommendations in mind. This gives it a distinctive position at the nexus of social media and decentralized technologies.

  • Cross-Platform Development: Tako Protocol allows developers to create cross-platform sharing economy dApps, advertising systems, and algorithmic recommendation systems. This cross-platform capacity guarantees more accessibility and adaptability.
  • Enhanced User Interaction: Tako Protocol intends to transform the way users produce, distribute, and engage with value in decentralized social networks. Tako Protocol provides a richer user experience by converting conventional social interactions into value-driven activities.
  • Monetization and Revenue Streams: The protocol enables the creation of dApps that can be applied to the sharing economy, advertising, and curation. For developers and content producers, this opens up a variety of revenue-generating opportunities.


The tenacity and accomplishments of Tako Protocol, Ellipsis Labs, Pendle Finance, Maple Finance, Stroom Network, and Maple Finance in 2023 are proof of the value of innovation, adaptation, and a distinct value offer in the crypto industry. Although market swings are unavoidable, these initiatives have shown that it is possible to succeed despite difficulties if you have the correct strategy and a user-centric approach. Their accomplishments confirm that, despite its difficulties, the crypto ecosystem continues to be a crucible for ground-breaking concepts and long-term growth. They also provide insightful information and serve as an inspiration for new crypto ventures.

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