Near Foundation Launches $100M Venture Fund to Invest in Culture and Web3

The fund was launched in collaboration with Caerus Ventures.
Image source: NEAR

Quick take:

  • The fund will have an initial closing of $50 million.
  • It is targeting $100 million for seed to Series A investments.
  • IMG/Endeavor executive Nathan Pillai founded Caerus.

NEAR Foundation, the Swiss non-profit foundation behind NEAR Protocol, today announced the launch of a $100 million venture fund and venture lab. NEAR Protocol is a scalable Layer-1 blockchain that serves as the secure, scalable foundation for decentralized applications (dApps) that can accelerate mass adoption of Web3.

Launched in collaboration with Caerus Ventures, the fund will have an initial closing of $50 million and is $100 million for seed to Series A investments. Caerus Ventures is founded by entertainment company, IMG/Endeavor, executive Nathan Pillai. The company will focus on emerging Web3 startups that are involved in entertainment and culture.

Prior to founding Caerus Ventures, Pillai was the vice president of SailGP, which sold a minority stake to Endeavor in 2020. Canada SailGP launched its metaverse headquarters in Decentraland in March.

“We’re yet to imagine many use cases for how Web3 technologies will change how culture is experienced, entertainment is consumed, and value is distributed. And that was the genesis of Caerus: to be a catalyst for innovation that unleashes projects in sport, music, film, TV, fashion, art and gaming which offer greater equity for all,” Pillai commented.

Besides offering financial support, the venture lab will also offer cross-functional support to portfolio companies that develop products around talent and IP. 

“Our cultural passions for live sport, film or music have historically been leveraged to on-ramp billions of consumers to new technologies. The creators, talent, and franchises with reach and influence spearheaded that growth and will now drive the adoption of blockchain at scale. But this time, they and their fans will have greater access to the value created,” said Marieke Flament, CEO of the NEAR Foundation.

Founded by Alexander Skidanov and Illia Polosukhin, NEAR is backed by big-name Web3 VCs such as A16Z, Pantera Capital, Electric Capital, Dragonfly Capital, Coinbase Ventures,, and Baidu Ventures. The NEAR community currently has 8 million accounts created and 550,000 members

“I’ve been hugely impressed by NEAR’s value proposition for developers and users, but more importantly, their mission to empower creators and consumers of culture with more control over their assets. So we’re creating this partnership to help revolutionize the existing multi-layered entertainment ecosystems, growing the market size while promoting greater equity,” Pillai added.

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