Ether.Fi, restaking projects rouse VCs: ‘completely different from three months ago’

Ether.Fi, restaking projects rouse VCs: ‘completely different from three months ago’
CEO Mike Silagadze said Ether.Fi would likely double its headcount this year. Credit: Andrés Tapia
  • Liquid staking protocol Ether.Fi has raised $27 million from more than 95 investors.
  • Projects with ties to EigenLayer accounted for more than a quarter of all venture capital that went into crypto in February.
  • “It’s completely different from three months ago,“ Ether.Fi CEO Mike Silagadze said of fundraising in crypto.

Projects with ties to restaking protocol EigenLayer are finding it increasingly easy to raise hefty sums from venture capital firms.

Billion-dollar liquid restaking protocol Ether.Fi became the latest last week, when it announced it had raised $27 million — with $4 million coming from a previous, unannounced round — from more than 95 investors, including Bullish, CoinFund, and the founders heading several major crypto projects.

“It’s completely different from three months ago,” CEO Mike Silagadze told DL News. “Certainly anybody that has the word AVS or restaking is just getting money shoved down their throat.”

Ether.Fi had initially hoped to raise $15 million — only to end up with its myriad investors ready to pledge a combined $40 million, Silagadze said.

“We didn’t even have a deck,” he continued. “We had people reaching out to us, throwing money at us.”

Eigen Labs, the company behind the EigenLayer protocol, has pioneered restaking, which makes it possible to use the same capital to simultaneously secure Ethereum and a variety of other protocols.

Proponents have called it one of the most exciting developments on Ethereum, something that could make it safer, cheaper, and easier to launch new protocols.

Liquid restaking protocols like Ether.Fi make it easier for users to deposit Ether or Ether derivatives in EigenLayer.

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The value of crypto assets deposited in EigenLayer have almost quintupled in the past month and are now approaching $10 billion, according to data from DefiLlama.

The total value of crypto locked in EigenLayer more than quadrupled in February.

That has made it the third-largest protocol in decentralised finance — a meteoric rise for a project less than a year old.

Investors have been eager to get in on the action.

Recently, Eigen Labs announced it had raised $100 million from Andreessen Horowitz. AltLayer, one of the protocols built atop EigenLayer, announced February 19 it had raised more than $14 million.

All told, more than one quarter of all venture capital money committed to crypto in February has gone to EigenLayer-related projects, according to data from DefiLlama.

Venture capital firms are showing more interest in crypto after funding plummeted in 2023.

Investors put $6.2 billion into crypto projects last year, down from $22 billion in 2022.

May through September was particularly bleak: June was the only month the industry managed to attract more than $400 million.

But the industry has breached that mark every month since, with the total raised increasing each of the past three months.

Silagadze declined to share Ether.Fi’s valuation. It currently leads all liquid restaking protocols, with crypto deposits valued at more than $1.7 billion.

Silagadze said Ether.Fi would likely double its headcount this year — without touching any of the money it just raised.

“Just from protocol revenue, we’re … over $5 million revenue run-rate. And we’re not spending anywhere close to that,” he said. “This money is really going to be there as a treasury, to make sure that, no matter what, we’ve got lots of capital.”

Disclaimer: According to an Ether.Fi spokesperson, the round includes commitments from founders and executives of Aave, Polygon, Kraken, Curve, Ethena and DefiLlama. DefiLlama is a sister company of DL News.

Aleks Gilbert is a DeFi correspondent for DL News. Have a tip? Contact Aleks at