Web3 platforms are often thought of as spaces reserved for the tech-savvy or for people who know and use crypto. For good reason: Most require you to already have a crypto wallet or two, and onboarding a non-crypto-native user is frequently a difficult hurdle for many web3 platforms. The average individual is more often than not left daunted by the proposition, which usually leads them to shy away from the decentralized web.
Phaver aims to change that, particularly for web3 social platforms, and has raised $7 million in seed funding to build a service that provides a web3 onboarding experience that’s similar to existing social platforms, the company exclusively told TechCrunch.
There is huge potential to disrupt the social media landscape with the help of blockchain technology, but “users will not care about the underlying technology,” Phaver’s co-founder and CEO Joonatan Lintala said. In order to drive real adoption, the user experience needs to feel like it’s a normal social-based app, not a high-tech one, he added.
Phaver’s tech is aimed at decentralized social protocols that aim to let people create, own and monetize their social media profiles, and allow them full control over how their data is shared. Users can also retain ownership of their social profiles and content across different social platforms, meaning that you’re not siloed onto one specific network.
Polygon Ventures, Nomad Capital, Symbolic Capital, dao5, Foresight Ventures, Alphanonce, f.actor and Superhero Capital invested in the round. Crypto exchange SwissBorg also participated in the round and shared its allocation with its community members, per a statement.
Launched in May 2022 as a “Web2.5” mobile app, the startup has raised a total of over $8 million to date and has a valuation of about $80 million, Tomi Fyrqvist, the company’s co-founder and CFO said. The capital will be used to scale the team as well as for product development and additional partnerships.
While Lintala acknowledged that the market for a web3 social app is still young, he said the company has observed stable, linear growth since the app was launched. It currently has about 250,000 users, he added.
While most of the people who use Phaver are (not surprisingly) focused mainly on crypto content, the app is seeing a growing number of people sharing snapshots of their daily lives, Lintala said. He pointed out that his grandmother has become a “small influencer” on the app and on Lens after finding her niche: sharing childhood pictures of Lintala.
“We are combining parts of the previous experience from various domains, including consumer internet, incumbent large tech, finance, etc.,” Fyrqvist said. “And through continuous learning, we’re planning to tackle some of the most fascinating problems to be solved in the space.”