Blockchain Supporter NEAR Unveils $100M VC Fund Targeting Web3 Culture and Entertainment

The NEAR Foundation is introducing a $100 million venture capital fund and venture lab in partnership with Caerus Ventures, the Swiss organization behind the NEAR blockchain protocol announced Monday.

NEAR will anchor the fund, which has an initial closing of $50 million and a target of $100 million for seed series A investments. The first investment will be in the venture lab, which will work with creators, talent and franchise owners to conceive, validate, test and build the next generation of platforms, according to the press release.

Caerus Ventures is a newly launched investment firm led by IMG executive Nathan Pillai, who said Caerus aims to catalyze innovation in Web3, focusing on sport, music, film, fashion and art.

“I believe talent and intellectual property (IP) creators need to have a more equitable share of value that is created, and for this, to be then shared amongst consumers and fans,” Pillai said in an interview with CoinDesk.

“We want to focus on how to deepen engagement and reward the people who spend a lot of time and money consuming entertainment.” Pillai said, adding that the company is currently looking at investing in a music streaming service that allows users to invest in the success of an artist.

Near Foundation CEO Marieke Flament said in an interview with CoinDesk that NEAR chose to work with Caerus because its values align with NEAR’s. “We are both trying to reinvent what it means to be a creator,” Flament said. “They have a uniquely differentiated proposition and robust investment thesis predicated on the tokenisation of entertainment.”

The NEAR Foundation is holding its annual ‘NEARCON’ conference in Lisbon this week.