I’ve spent the majority of my career working on classic centralized web2 social platforms. One of the core appeals for joining a16z crypto was working with founders who are focused on building decentralized crypto native versions of the social platforms we have grown used to – but re-imagined from the ground up with letting creators and communities have economic stake and governance over the products and platforms they use.
Today I’m excited to announce we are backing Towns – a decentralized group chat protocol and app. Towns is the latest launch from Here Not There Labs, founded by Ben Rubin (Former CEO and co-founder of Houseparty and Meerkat) and Brian Meek (former CTO of STRIVR Labs and former GM of Engineering at Skype).
Ben needs no introduction for his body of work. His work on HouseParty and Meerkat were foundational to how we think of live streaming and community online today. I’ve gotten to know Ben over the last few years over multiple long walks. When Ben talked about his vision of building a fully decentralized experience for online communities and saw how far he had gone down the “idea maze” and combined it with Brian’s technical expertise, we knew immediately we wanted to partner on this unique effort.
Ben, Brian, and founding engineer Pat Fives have designed Towns for online communities to build better hometowns on the internet by allowing members to self-moderate and govern private spaces powered by a fully decentralized, end-to-end encrypted, and user-owned group chat protocol.
The team’s vision for creating a digital town square where members can define the borders, set the rules, and build the world they want is an ambitious goal that is uniquely achievable through the promise of decentralization and web3.
That’s why we at a16z crypto are thrilled to be leading Here Not There’s $25 million Series A round and partner with them as they build out this vision.
We can’t wait to see how Ben, Brian, and the rest of the team will help define the future of communities online. Check out what they’re building here: towns.com
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