Andreessen Horowitz sets up crypto research lab to help Web3 start-ups

A16z partners noted the success research labs such as DeepMind and OpenAI have had in pioneering modern technology.

Venture Capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, also known as a16z, has announced a new industrial research lab that aims to solve the biggest problems in crypto and Web3.

The firm said a16z crypto research is a multidisciplinary lab that will “bridge the worlds of academic theory with industry practice”, by working with organisations from its portfolio to advance “the next generation of the internet”.

“With the advent of Ethereum and other blockchains that are fully programmable, web3 has unlocked an extremely rich design space for innovation. It’s a space that we’ve only just begun to explore,” a16z general partners Ali Yahya and Chris Dixon said in a blog post yesterday (21 April).

“Each new entrepreneurial idea for a web3 application or protocol tends to uncover fresh research challenges that are fundamental to how this technological movement will play out,” Yahya and Dixon added.

Yahya and Dixon said industrial research labs have played a “critical role” in pioneering modern technology.

“Research labs like DeepMind and OpenAI have elevated the field of AI to new heights,” Yahya tweeted yesterday (21 April). “We are setting out to do the same for crypto and web3.”

The comparisons to other research labs didn’t end there, as a16z’s operating partner and head of content and editorial, Robert Hackett, said “Web3 needs a Bell Labs”.

The VC firm has brought on Prof Tim Roughgarden to lead the lab as head of research. Roughgarden has 20 years’ experience as a professor at Stanford University and Columbia University.

A16z has also promoted Prof Dan Boneh as the lab’s senior research advisor. Boneh has worked with a16z for the past four years and has experience as a professor at Stanford University.

Some commentators have compared the formation of the a16z crypto research to rival VC firm Paradigm. This firm is said to have developed its reputation from the strength of its research team.

At the start of the year, Andreessen Horowitz announced a $9bn fund for new technology companies as part of its ambition to “build the future”. The VC firm said the funding would go toward three established funding schemes, the venture, growth and bio funds.

Andreessen Horowitz general partner Chris Dixon at TechCrunch Disrupt in 2015. Image: Noam Galai/Getty Images for TechCrunch via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

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Author: by Leigh Mc Gowran

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