NEAR Foundation is excited to announce that Orange DAO, a crypto collective created by Y Combinator alumni for backing Web3 startups, has selected NEAR as its preferred layer 1 blockchain.
In turn, NEAR Foundation will invest $15 million into Orange DAO to help support the founders who are building Web3 companies on the NEAR blockchain.
“We are thrilled to have been selected by some of the brightest minds in the world as the preferred layer1 chain on which Orange DAO members will want to build,” said Marieke Flament, CEO of the NEAR Foundation. “We know that community-driven innovation benefits everyone, and this partnership is simply another example of our mission in practice.”
Bringing startup accelerator expertise to NEAR
Although Y Combinator is not formally involved in the project, Orange DAO is currently made up entirely of YC alumni, including NEAR co-founder Alexander Skidanov. After starting with just a few dozen YC alums, Orange DAO has expanded in recent months to include over a thousand YC founders.
One of the world’s leading startup accelerators, YC has been integral in developing some of the fastest-growing and most valuable tech brands. Based in Mountain View, California, YC has backed over 3,300 companies for a combined valuation of $600B, including Airbnb, Stripe, Dropbox, Coinbase, Opensea, Twitch, and Reddit.
YC alums created Orange DAO as a venture structure to both identify and support young crypto startups currently building the future of the Web3 ecosystem.
Orange DAO is not the first foray into Web3 by YC founders. Back in 2017, hundreds of alumni created the Pioneer Fund, a more traditional venture vehicle, to back Web3 projects. By contrast, Orange DAO operates as a decentralized autonomous organization, using blockchain tech to help multiple users make collective decisions.
Why Orange DAO chose NEAR
Unlike other blockchain networks, NEAR offers Web3 software developers an extremely fast, secure, and low-cost protocol—by way of its unique Nightshade sharding approach—for building decentralized applications (dapps). NEAR’s protocol technology, as well as its bridges to other blockchains, and developer ecosystem proved highly attractive to Orange DAO’s founders.
The Orange DAO team will leverage NEAR’s strengths to back past, present, and aspiring Y Combinator founders. The DAO will do this by helping founders apply and get accepted into YC; providing pre- and post-YC funding; as well as mentoring founders and helping where possible with recruitment and customer acquisition.
NEAR Foundation’s funding will vest over four years, and the Foundation will also provide time and resources to support YC founders.