Here Not There has raised $25 million in a Series A round led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) to expand Towns, a Web3 group chat protocol and app that allows online communities to create blockchain-based gatherings in a completely decentralized manner. Benchmark and Framework Ventures were among the new company’s other investors.
Even though Web3 was one of the most financed industries in January, the announcement comes during a crypto winter, when venture capital dollars are scarce.
Towns’ end-to-end encrypted chat protocol can be used by a community to create programmable, self-governed “town squares” where users can meet and hold conversations without fear of the app’s owner restricting their access, benefiting from their actions, or changing their rights. Community administrators can control who has access to what information, what permissions they have, and what roles they perform, allowing for a wide range of customizations such as incentive schemes for members to participate or real-time NFT sales. Any community can create a new client or API for the protocol to add greater degrees of control and customization.
A16z managing partner Sriram Krishnan shared a draft blog post in which he explained the team’s proposal for establishing a digital town square where members may set the borders, make the regulations, and build the society they want.
Here Not There Labs was founded by Ben Rubin, founder of the video chat program Houseparty, and Brian Meek, former chief technology officer at STRIVR Laboratories and general manager of engineering at Skype. The Towns DAO, or decentralized autonomous organization, is a project by Here Not There Labs to decentralize and take ownership of the Towns network.
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