Near, creators of NEAR Protocol, a developer-friendly platform for building decentralized applications, announced the completion of an oversubscribed $12.1M venture round led by Metastable and Accomplice and with participation from Electric Capital, Pantera Capital and Amplify Partners. Other notable investors include Multicoin Capital, ACapital, Coinbase Ventures, IDEO Colab Ventures, Scalar Capital and Ripple’s Xpring. Notable angels include Naval Ravikant, Andrew Keys and Balaji Srinivasan.
“Accomplice is thrilled to lead Near’s venture round and to support a world class team equipped with decades of experience shipping products and scaling distributed systems during their time at some of the largest tech companies in the world,” said Ash Egan, who leads crypto investments at Accomplice. “We believe that Near’s developer-friendly Proof of Stake protocol will usher in a new wave of decentralized applications and give power back to end users.”
Near is building critical infrastructure to support decentralized applications, including a next-generation public blockchain called NEAR Protocol. The new funds will be used to recruit more developers, to accelerate the development of additional tooling and to launch the NEAR Protocol mainnet with the aim of bridging the adoption gap for decentralized applications.
Usability and scalability are the two primary problems that have blocked today’s smart contract platforms (such as Ethereum, EOS, and Tron) from achieving mainstream adoption. The NEAR Protocol makes decentralized applications nearly as easy to build and use as today’s web apps while achieving global scale by using a novel sharding approach and consensus mechanism called Nightshade. NEAR provides predictable costs for applications and gives developers tools at the protocol level that typically must be added on later, including meta transactions, contract-based accounts and gas fee rebates.
“The Near team is a rare combination of engineers who are both theoretically deep and also extremely pragmatic,” said Avichal Garg, General Partner, Electric Capital. “They are one of the few teams to have previously shipped a sharded, distributed system used at scale and are one of the best executing teams in crypto and blockchain. We are thrilled to be partnering with them and excited to see NEAR become one of the leading, public blockchains.”
The Near team is comprised of competitive programming champions and veterans from several major tech companies, such as Google, Facebook and Niantic. YC alum and CEO Alex Skidanov was the first employee at the sharded database company MemSQL and CTO Illia Polosukhin was a core contributor to Google’s TensorFlow machine learning library while working in their prestigious research division. The Near engineering team includes a 2-time ICPC world champion, 3 gold medalists and multiple finalists plus the business team has deep experience building and scaling technical startups.
“Assembling a world-class development team and creating the technology is really just the first step—the next is launching a global movement that puts blockchain technology in the hands of the developers and entrepreneurs who will carry it to consumers everywhere via the apps and businesses they create,” said Alex Skidanov, Cofounder and CEO, Near.