Blockchain startup Mural, founded by alumni of publicly traded data analytics software company Palantir Technologies (PLTR), has raised $5.6 million in seed funding at an undisclosed valuation to help global brands manage the treasuries behind their decentralized autonomous organizations (DAO).
“We’re now seeing a new wave of DAOs being spun up by many of the world’s leading brands,” Mural Chief Product Officer Kevin Alvarez Fung told CoinDesk in an interview. “They see the value of DAOs just like they saw the value of e-commerce in the early 2000s, as a mechanism to better digitally engage their customers.”
Fung previously worked in product management at SoftBank-backed financial technology company Digits, but New York-based Mural has strong ties to Palantir, which was founded by billionaire Peter Thiel. Mural CEO Sinclair Toffa and co-founder and chief technology officer Arthur Kam both worked at Palantir as technical leads and engineers. Mural also named Robert Fink, former chief architect of Palantir’s flagship Foundry product, as one of the founding advisors.
Mural launched on Tuesday with the funding news and an initial group of brand partners that included Superf3st, a community-powered music festival from the creator of popular festivals Outside Lands and Bonnaroo.
Mural is creating financial infrastructure related to decentralized autonomous organizations, blockchain-backed communities that band together around a shared interest. DAO users purchase some type of token, often non-fungible tokens (NFT), in brand communities to participate and vote. Proceeds go into a community treasury that’s used for operations and investments in desired projects.
Read more: What Is a DAO?
DAO treasury management is difficult for even smaller, niche communities. And brands forming a DAO have to deal with security, transparency and regulatory compliance issues for sizable treasuries that could manage tens to hundreds of millions of dollars, said Fung. Mural is building a treasury management platform that helps brands manage treasury currency flows and specific needs such as milestone-triggered payments.
Backers for the funding round included investment firm Galaxy Ventures, CoinDesk parent Digital Currency Group, venture firm Firstminute, and Palumni, the Palantir alumni venture capital fund, among others.
The new capital will go toward hiring talent, building out the product and forming new brand partnerships, said Toffa.
Mural isn't the first time Palantir alums have raised funding for a Web3 firm. Blockchain analytics company Elementus President Greg Barbaccia and Chief Strategy Officer Chitra Ragavan both worked at Palantir, and the company raised $12 million last October shortly after being named to Palantir’s Foundry for Builders program. A crypto-focused version of Foundry was released in 2021.
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