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Web3 developer platform Fleek raises $25M led by Polychain Capital

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Web3 developer platform Fleek has raised $25 million in Series A funding led by Polychain Capital, the company shared exclusively with TechCrunch.

Additional investors in the round include Coinbase Ventures, Digital Currency Group, Protocol Labs, Arweave, North Island Ventures, Distributed Global, The LAO, and Argonautic Ventures.

The startup is aiming to build an interface and protocol layer “to make the base layer of web[3] services” like storage, hosting and billing, accessible to anyone, according to its website.

“Our main initial focus is the content delivery market,” Harrison Hines, Fleek co-founder, said to TechCrunch. “That’s what Fleek serves today and where we see a huge missing in the web3 infrastructure stack. It’s a problem with all web3 protocols.”

The content delivery market (CDM) is dominated by a few big players like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Cloudflare, to name a few, Hines said. And while Fleek originally worked with Web 2.0 infrastructure providers like AWS and Cloudflare, it plans to launch its own Fleek Network in 2023 and provide web3 technologies like decentralization, while still achieving Web 2.0-like performance, Hines added.

“Our vision for Fleek Network at its core, it’s a decentralized edge network where anyone can run nodes and provide resources to the network,” Hines said. “The internet is moving to the edge now. Most of the biggest platforms are edge related.”

Hines defines the edge as moving content away from one central server location to moving a loose coupling of different infrastructure and cloud services closer to the end user.

Fleek hosts about 50,000 apps on its platform today, mainly within the Ethereum ecosystem, but also among other protocols, too, Hines noted. To date, all Fleek products are built on crypto protocols like Ethereum, Filecoin, Internet Computer, InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) and Textile.

The fresh capital will be used to build out the Fleek Network and platform, while bringing on additional talent and growing its community, Hines said.

The startup will focus on building out in the web3 ecosystem first, but will later expand to Web 2.0 companies like video gaming platforms, streaming services or any platform with a lot of traffic, which is usually one of their biggest costs, Hines said. “In this market, where big companies are looking to cut costs, we do think Fleek Network can be an attractive solution and easier jump.”

The pricing on Fleek is “fluid so the metrics can be adjusted as it grows,” Hines said, but compared to Cloudflare, which charges about 5 to 15 cents per gigabyte of bandwidth, Fleek aims to remain below a penny per gigabyte, making it five to fifteen times less expensive.

“We’ve been trying to do this for years and there’s been a breakthrough in [the crypto ecosystem for] scalability and how to actually build these networks that gave us the confidence that we can do it and is on par with the scale, throughput and latency of existing web2 systems,” Hines said. “It was the perfect timing.”

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