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Decentralised learning: DoorDash founder backs $5.2M seed round of web3 startup Neol 


Recently, Web3-supported new generation learning and working platform, Neol, has announced a $5.2 million seed funding. The round was co-led by kyu Collective and Global Ventures. Also participating in the round were education-focused VC funds Learnstart, FJ Labs, marketplace investor across web2 and web 3; and Paribu Ventures.

Neol also received investment from Tony Xu, the co-founder and CEO of DoorDash, Tim Brown, Chair of IDEO; Emin Gun Sirer, the founder and CEO of Ava Labs, and Sota Nagano, the Managing Partner at Abies Ventures.

Kerem Alper, co-founder and CEO, said: “We’re proud to announce Neol’s successful seed funding round. To receive backing from such esteemed VC firms and angel investors is a massive testament to our business strategy and vision. At Neol, we believe creative individuals are the core to driving meaningful growth in the world. And we will be relentlessly building Neol to be the platform where they can connect, learn and shape while also participating as owners of the very platform they are part of.

Neol is a learning and on-demand talent platform, which is decentralised and aiming to build a tokenised system. It is powered by a global creative community and enabled by Web3 to produce more equitable value creation and exchange. The London-based startup aims to transform the future of learning and creative work by enfranchising creative individuals and innovators from scale-ups, corporations and creative organisations. 

This is Kerem’s second startup. His first company, after working closely with David Kelley, founder of IDEO and Stanford Design School while a graduate student at Stanford, was ATOLYE which he co-founded in 2013 and sold a majority stake to the global kyu Collective in 2019. 

The proceeds will be used for product, brand and partnership development. Initially focused on the UK, Europe and the Middle East, Neol aims to build its network of communities and anticipates expansion into new markets in the Global South. 

The e-learning market is valued at $309.2B in 2021 and is expected to reach $1.37T by 2028, according to Brandessence Market Research in 2022. The global Freelance Platforms market size is projected to reach $12B by 2028, from $3.8B in 2021, according to Verified Market Research in 2021. 

Akar Sumset, co-founder and President, said: “We are providing solutions at the intersection of complex challenges, objectives of purpose-driven scale-ups, corporations and organisations, and the passions of independent creatives. We are excited at our growth prospects and enthused to see our community grow as a cross-disciplinary talent base that connects on skills, passions and vision.

Farah Ramzan Golant, President of kyu, said: “kyu’s purpose is to be a source of creativity which propels the economy and society forward. As we face ever-increasing complexity and volatility in the world, we also see opportunities for creative thinking and collective action to develop new, innovative ways of learning, connecting and collaborating on challenges that truly matter. As a collective of industry-defining global creative organisations, we believe in the value of community-powered systems. Our investment in Neol is based on this belief and the track record of Kerem and the team who have pioneered community-based innovation systems to great effect.

A human first, technology-driven platform born for the 22nd century is an exciting exploration.”

During the preseed stage, Neol ran eight cohorts with 600+ learners and 200+ customers. At the same time, 300+ creatives joined Neol’s on-demand talent platform. The latter provides a human approach to talent matching, to easily connect independent talent with organisations.

Noor Sweid, Managing Partner at Global Ventures, said: “We’re thrilled to partner with Kerem and the entire Neol team. With 70% of corporates now leveraging on-demand talent platforms and web3 being the Internet’s Next frontier, Neol blends both trends to offer a unique and innovative solution. By enfranchising creatives, Neol’s on demand, cohort-based talent platform redefines how companies collaborate. We are firm believers in the potential of the solution to transform the future of learning and work.”

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