We often say our investment thesis is “team, team, market.” That is, no matter how excited we are about a market opportunity, we won’t invest unless we really believe in the team. For NEAR’s Alex Skidanov and Illia Polosukhin, it was basically “team, team, team” because when we had the chance to seed fund the cofounders, the market opportunity was basically unknown.
Well, since that time it’s become more clear. Alex and Illia recently announced a $12.1 million round in support of their goal to the most developer-friendly platform for building decentralized applications. Top crypto and blockchain investors, Metastable and Accomplice, led the round with participation from Coinbase Ventures, Electric Capital, Pantera Capital, Amplify Partners, Naval Ravikant, Balajai Srinvasan and many others. With a focus on usability and scalability, the NEAR Protocol is a sharded, proof-of-stake blockchain. Access to its beta program is now open. We can’t wait to see what applications NEAR enables to bring blockchain technology to a broad population of consumers.