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The Swiss non-profit behind the NEAR Protocol is to collaborate with Caerus Ventures in launching a $100 million venture capital (VC) fund and venture lab.

The NEAR Foundation said it would cornerstone the VC Fund, with an initial closing of $50 million and a target of $100 million for seed to series A investments.

The proposed venture lab intends to attract the leading engineers, developers, and venture builders in the Web3 space, and will also offer cross-functional support to portfolio projects.

The development comes on the heels of Swiss investment firm 21.co raising $25 million in its latest funding round last week, putting its valuation at $2 billion.

What is the NEAR Protocol?

Founded by Alexander Skidanov and Illia Polosukhin, the NEAR Protocol is a scalable blockchain with a globally distributed community that consists of 550,000 members and a total of 18 million accounts created.

“Our cultural passions for live sport, film or music have historically been leveraged to on-ramp billions of consumers to new technologies,” said Marieke Flament, CEO of the NEAR Foundation.

“The creators, talent, and franchises with reach and influence spearheaded that growth and will now drive the adoption of blockchain at scale,” she added. “But this time, they and their fans will have greater access to the value created.” 

NEAR has received funding from some top VCs including a16z, Pantera Capital, Electric Capital, Dragonfly Capital, Coinbase Ventures, Blockchain.com, and Baidu Ventures.

Meanwhile, the second annual NEARCON convention, considered the flagship event of the NEAR Protocol, is currently being held in Lisbon, from which its native token has seen a significant jump in price.

Caerus puts content creators first

Caerus was founded by IMG/Endeavor talent executive Nathan Pillai, who said it would back projects that put creators, talent, IP owners, at the center of new enterprises.

“We’re creating this partnership to help revolutionize the existing multi-layered entertainment ecosystems, growing the market size while promoting greater equity,” Pillai said.

As many “use cases for how Web3 technologies will change how culture is experienced, entertainment is consumed, and value is distributed,” Pillai said Caerus hopes “to be a catalyst for innovation” for projects in sport, music, film, TV, fashion, art and gaming.

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Nicholas Pongratz

Nick is a data scientist who teaches economics and communication in Budapest, Hungary, where he received a BA in Political Science and Economics and an MSc in Business Analytics from CEU. He has been writing about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology since 2018, and is intrigued by its potential economic and political usage.

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