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May 30, 2024


By Breck Stodghill

I am happy to announce our lead investment in the Series A of Neynar alongside USV, a16z CSX, and Coinbase Ventures. Neynar is a fast growing platform for companies and developers to create experiences atop of onchain social protocols.

At Haun Ventures, we’ve been excited to back onchain social protocols like Farcaster and Zora. We believe that these protocols will unbundle and replace closed web2 social networks, which have both stagnating products and extractive business models. 

In comparison to web2 social networks, onchain social protocols have open, compounding developer ecosystems. There used to be a time when access to social networks was free and open to developers. Zynga grew quickly as a gaming platform on Facebook. Twitter grew in lockstep with its deeply engaged third party clients including Tweetie, Twitterific, and TwitPic. But due to the business needs of the companies that owned the social networks, their APIs were throttled and paywalled, so it’s now prohibitively expensive to build third-party apps on these incumbent networks. New business models powered by crypto-enabled payments and tokens means that onchain social protocols can sustainably remain open for developers. This is really exciting.

We’re still early in the journey of onchain social protocols. Incumbent social networks continue to remain powerful due to their strong network effects. Users will not simply move to onchain social protocols because they’re decentralized and user friendly. It will take time, a fast growing developer ecosystem building novel products, and a strategic go-to-market to convince users to move over. We’re starting to see the first signs of a shift happening with the recent growth of both Warpcast and Zora. Both apps have established core features that are underserved for the crypto niche by incumbent social networks like Instagram, Twitter, and Reddit. Let the unbundling begin.

And it’s time to put our foot on the gas. 

A thriving developer ecosystem will be the lifeblood of this shift from closed to open social. New clients with experimental features for power users paved the way for the early development of Facebook and Twitter as platforms. We expect the same to be true for open social protocols. 

And it’s already started!

Neynar helps over 1,000 customers including social apps, marketplaces, wallets, data providers, and creators to build using onchain social protocols today. Their suite of products include read / write / auth APIs, data APIs, and even no code tools for interacting with new primitives. 

The founders are Rish and Manan. I first got the chance to work with them when we collaborated on early defi products while working at Coinbase over four years ago. At Coinbase they stood out as product and engineering leaders because they built and shipped with a velocity that you would expect from a startup, not a company on the path to IPO. So when I heard they were leaving Coinbase last year to start a company, I was hopeful that we would find a way to work together again. 

I am delighted to partner with Rish and Manan on this journey. 

Breck Stodghill
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