Upstream snaps up $12.5M Series A to upend the process for starting DAOs
Web3 startup Upstream has raised a $12.5 million Series A round led by previous investor boldstart ventures.
Tiger Global, Vayner Fund, Fenbushi Capital, Panoramic Ventures, Alpaca VC, Human Ventures, Blumberg Capital and The Medici Group participated in the round along with existing investor Ibex Investors. So far, Upstream has raised $15.75 million and sits at an $80 million valuation.
Michael Schonfeld and Alex Taub founded Upstream in 2019 as a professional networking site. Last year, the Miami-based startup pivoted into Web3, launching what it calls Upstream Collectives. This platform streamlines the process of launching and managing decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs). The company reports that they will use this funding to scale their DAO platform.
DAOs create a structure for people who want to collaborate digitally, often across borders. In an interview with Forbes, CEO Taub asserted that “DAOs will end up being the next LLC,” the limited liability legal structure that small businesses and startups commonly use.
“The issue with DAOs is they are really hard to start. Think of websites in the 1980s,” said Taub. Using Upstream’s platform, users are given a no-code solution to create a full-stack ‘DAO-in-a-Box.’
Through Upstream Collective, DAO participants can attend virtual and IRL events, raise money in a shared ETH wallet, vote on proposals made by fellow members, and take action on how to use their budget.
Estimates of the size of the DAO market today range from $8-$10 billion, with the potential to grow to $250 billion by 2027. “This market is so big that even if we suck at it, which we won’t, we would still have a positive outcome as a company,” Taub told Forbes. Already, Upstream Collective holds over $2 million in user treasuries. The startup receives a 2% commission on contributions to the projects on its platform.
Eliot Durbin, a General Partner at boldstart ventures, expressed his excitement about the investment in a statement: “We believe Upstream will be the de facto platform to build and manage DAOs, supporting the infrastructure for Web3 communities.”
“Upstream is doing for DAOs what Squarespace and Wix did for websites and Shopify did for eCommerce,” Durbin continued. “By making it simple for anyone to launch DAO, Upstream will open up Web3 to new audiences and power the future of decentralized community ownership.”
Previously, Taub and Schonfeld co-founded and sold social analytics platform SocialRank. The duo originally met while working at early crypto startup Dwolla in 2012.
Upstream has played a central role in the Miami tech ecosystem, particularly as the city becomes a crypto capital. Miami Hack Week co-founder Ja’dan Johnson was Upstream’s first local hire and currently serves as its Head of Biz Dev & Partnerships. Monica Rojas, formerly of South Florida Tech Hub, is Upstream’s Head of Community and hosts regular sessions to help Miami tech innovators understand and use Web3 technologies. Five of Upstream’s 12 team members, including Taub, are in Miami.
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