XMTP raises $20m led by a16z crypto fund to build the standard communication protocol for web3 together

• 7 min read
XMTP raises $20m led by a16z crypto fund to build the standard communication protocol for web3 together

Below is a copy of the post we shared about our Series A over on the XMTP blog. I personally couldn't be more excited to be building this company with my co-founder Matt Galligan.


XMTP has raised a $20M Series A from a16z Crypto, with participation from many amazing funds and strategic angels (see below)—a group of builders, creators, operators, and stewards of crypto & web3. As a collective, our investors bring expertise in email, chat, messaging, security, DeFi, DAOs, NFTs, blockchains, wallets, decentralization, governance, and beyond.

XMTP will enable communication between existing crypto wallets via its own independent protocol and decentralized network.

With this new capital, we have an open road to building the base layer communication protocol for the next web. We’re excited for this to unlock an opportunity to find more people who want to join us in that mission…

The primary factor in raising this capital is supporting our recruiting efforts. We wanted to share some additional insight into our future, our motivations, and the scale of our ambitions:

Why this mission…

XMTP is a fundamental new building block of the next iteration of the web—a permissionless, crypto-native communication protocol that connects communities, creators, protocols, applications, and users. Today’s messaging platforms are walled off and centrally controlled, email is rampant with spam, and chat apps are rife with ever-accumulating scams. We’re here to build a better way for the world to communicate, established on a decentralized network that’s owned by its users, and that aligns incentives among participants in that network.

Why this problem, why now…

The problems we’re addressing with XMTP are pervasive. With $100’s of billions at stake in the emerging decentralized economy, solutions are needed ASAP. Here is a small sampling of those use cases that helped us know why XMTP is needed right now:

Enabling authenticated messaging from verified wallet/contract owners for verified support & outreach purposes

Making it possible for wallets to be messaged directly when issues arise with protocols, dapps, and more…

Building better ways to prevent spam and unsolicited messages through incentive alignment

Building towards a unified, decentralized inbox that all Dapps can make use of

Establishing a way for crypto governance proposals to be sent directly to token holders into inboxes

Why we’re raising…

Building something like this from the ground up means we have to put together the best team possible, and that takes capital. We also want to ensure we have the runway to sustain long enough to decentralize the protocol’s development, ownership, governance, and network.

Why us…

As founders we’ve both been working on related problems in Web 2.0 for over a decade, crypto happens to be the unlock and web3 is the moment. We feel like our entire careers have led us to build XMTP.

  • Shane Mac spent the past 15 years working on messaging, communication, and how people interact digitally. He knows first-hand how much new opportunity can be brought to the world with an open communication platform, as well as unintended consequences if not built carefully and thoughtfully from the onset.
  • Matt has spent his entire career building and designing products to be delightful and simple to use, however complex they may be behind the scenes. He previously founded a company in crypto and has seen up close the usability and education challenges that come hand in hand with its advancements.

Why should you join us…

A new evolution of the internet is forming in plain sight. Old problems are getting new and novel solutions by way of innovations in blockchain technology. We have an opportunity to re-imagine an internet not beholden to corporations, but rather a place where users have a say and can share in the upside. Building a new primitive in web3 is a chance to be a part of a revolution right from the start—just as the wave begins to grow.

  • There’s a chance to have a real impact and take what we’ve all learned in Web 2.0 / consumer tech and bring it to an entirely new type of web.
  • XMTP will be an open source project—from the protocol to client apps to processes and research, we’re committed to building this together with our community of developers, creators, and users.
  • If you’ve ever looked at crypto and thought “it’s all about the money / it’s speculative / that’s finance stuff, not my jam” we hear you. There’s a new generation of startups like XMTP that are taking the primitives from crypto and finding novel ways to apply them to solve the web’s current problems. We want to help bring people curious about crypto that haven’t yet made the leap into this new world. If you’re not in crypto but are curious, we’d LOVE to chat with you. Do not think “I don’t know crypto”—we will help you.

Check out our careers page.

Why is this a better place to work…

It’s not just about what we build, it’s also about how we build it. At XMTP we’re obsessed with culture and questioning everything it means to build a company. We focus on what serves our people and our community first. While there’s more to come, here’s a few things we’re already doing:

Last week as the round came to a close we posted a memo to our internal forum, and we thought we’d share that text below:

Hi team,

We are excited to share that as of this morning our Series A round is official. The wire from our lead, a16z crypto, hit this am.

We’re so very fortunate to have amazing partners like Ali at a16z (@alive_eth on Twitter) who believe in us and support our vision for how communication evolves in this next chapter of the web.

While this is a moment to be celebrated, we should also acknowledge the hard work ahead. This capital can help us attract and hire the best people in the world but it’s up to us to deliver on our vision and promise.

We’ll do this by staying focused, never compromising on hiring anyone but the best, and always listening to the people who are using and building on the protocol. Curiosity and self-awareness will take us further than anything else, especially in a world where no one has all the answers—they still need to be discovered. We need to ask better questions and seek to understand vs seek to command.

In the startup world, raising money is mostly about creating opportunities to hire great people. That’s what this moment is about. When a16z approached us about raising now, that’s why we did it. Capital from top-tier investors lends legitimacy—enabling us to have conversations with the best people in the world, and if we’re lucky we can convince them to join us on our journey.

We’re here to build a better way for the world to communicate. We can unlock infinite opportunities in the future if people can communicate on the basis of their activity, not their identity. That’s what’s changing in the next web.

In the past it was one’s identity that led to conversations. This was what we had in Web 2.0. Communication was about who you were, where you came from, who you were already connected to.

We have the opportunity to help change this. Actions are in the driver’s seat now. What you do, what you create, how you work, all leading towards more meaningful connections and communication. That’s what matters. That’s our opportunity.

We are so excited to welcome our new investors and have the opportunity to work together with a small but mighty team. Let’s go build the company, culture, and team we’ve always dreamed of. That’s what this is all about.

Now, back to building Phase 0 of the protocol and getting this in the hands of our partners and builders.

Thanks for being here,

Shane & Matt

What's next…

We can't wait to share more and have been truly humbled by the support so far. If you're intrigued with our story, or with web3, and ready to leap—we're hiring, let's chat.

More resources:


XMTP's investors

Funds

  • a16z Crypto
  • Atelier Ventures (Li Jin)
  • Betaworks
  • Distributed Global
  • Form Capital (Josh Williams & Bobby Goodlatte)
  • IDEO CoLab
  • Hawktail (Michael Polansky & Robert Pollak)
  • Leyden.vc
  • Nascent
  • Not Boring Capial (Packy McCormick)
  • Offline Ventures
  • Redpoint Ventures
  • Scalar Capital (Linda Xie)
  • Semantic Ventures
  • SK Ventures
  • Sound Ventures (Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary)
  • Warburg Serres

Companies

  • Alchemy
  • Coinbase Ventures
  • StarkWare

Angels

  • Aaron Batalion
  • Alex Taub (Upstream)
  • Alexis Ohanian
  • Alison Grigonis
  • Anthony Pompliano
  • Anthony Sassano (The Daily Gwei)
  • Austin Green
  • Austin Rief (Morning Brew)
  • Balaji Srinivasan
  • Ben Huh
  • Bill Boebel
  • Bored Elon
  • Brian Forde
  • Bryan Flynn (Rabbithole)
  • Bryan Irace
  • BT
  • Chris Coyne (Keybase)
  • Chris Kurdziel
  • Cooper Turley (Audius, Friends with Benefits)
  • Courtney Guertin
  • Dan Romero
  • Danny Newman
  • Derek Colla
  • Diogo Monica (Anchorage)
  • Eamon Leonard
  • Eric Arsenault (Rarible)
  • Ethan Beard
  • Fernando Martinelli (Balancer)
  • Fiona Kelly
  • Harsh Patel
  • Itamar Lesuisse (Argent)
  • Jamie Dubs (DeWi Alliance)
  • Jamis Johnson (PleasrDAO)
  • Jason Warner
  • Jess Sloss (Seed Club)
  • Jesse Grushack (Friends with Benefits)
  • Jesse Pollack (Coinbase)
  • Jing Wang (Optimism)
  • Joe Lallouz (Bison Trails)
  • Joe Lau (Alchemy)
  • Joe Stump
  • Jon Choi
  • Jordan Messina
  • Josh Fraser (Origin Protocol)
  • Josh March
  • Julia Lipton
  • Justin Boreta (The Glitch Mob)
  • Kain Warwick (Synthetix)
  • Kayvon Beykpour (Twitter)
  • Maaria Bajwa
  • Martin Green (Cambian Asset Management)
  • Matt Condon
  • Matthew Liu (Origin Protcol)
  • Maxwell Krohn (Keybase)
  • Meltem Demirors (CoinShares)
  • Michael Dunworth (Wyre)
  • Michael Mignano (Spotify)
  • Morgan Beller
  • Narendra Rocherolle
  • Nat Eliason
  • Naval Ravikant
  • Nikil Viswanathan (Alchemy)
  • Nir Kabessa (Yup)
  • Pablo Rodriguez-Fraile
  • Packy McCormick (Not Boring)
  • Patricio Worthalter (POAP)
  • Paul Stamatiou
  • Paul Veradittakit
  • Rahul Vohra (Superhuman)
  • Raihan Anwar (Friends with Benefits)
  • Reggie James (Eternal)
  • Ric Burton
  • Ricky Engelberg
  • Robert Leshner (Compound Labs)
  • Roham Gharegozlou (Dapper Labs)
  • Ryan Sean Adams (Bankless)
  • Ryan Selkis (Messari)
  • Santiago R Santos
  • Scott Belsky (Adobe)
  • Scott Lewis (Defi Pulse)
  • Seb Audet (Zapper)
  • Shishir Mehrotra (Coda)
  • Sriram Krishnan
  • Stani Kulechov (Aave)
  • Tegan Kline (Edge & Node)
  • Todd Goldberg
  • Trevor McFedries (Friends with Benefits, Brud)
  • Tyler Willis
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