Read the 7-page pitch deck that three Harvard students used to raise $4 million for Web3 chat app Lines

Eli Burnes, Sahil Handa, and David Chavez-Grant, the cofounders of Lines, smile for a photo in a lively, dimly lit restaurant.
  • The startup Lines is developing a chat app built with decentralized apps in mind.
  • It will allow people to sign in with their credentials across many apps, creating a single identity.
  • The goal is to improve how people communicate and transact while using aliases online.

The idea for Lines, a messaging app built with decentralized apps in mind, came from a pain point. Harvard student Sahil Handa and his friends got involved in online communities for crypto believers, but they found it hard to follow the people in those spaces into other apps. Someone could go by one name on Discord and another on Coinbase.

The friends saw a need for a new kind of social network that connects people’s digital wallets — which are apps for securely storing and sending cryptocurrencies — and they just received $4 million in funding to build it.

Their new startup, Lines, is developing a chat app that lets people send messages from wallet to wallet. They can log in with their credentials across multiple apps and wallets to create a single online identity. This makes it easier to communicate if, say, a person wants to contact the owner of a nonfungible token they’ve been eyeing, Handa said. And it brings a level of trust to the ecosystem, he added. Before a person sends money to someone, for instance, they can check that the person who they’re talking to on Telegram actually owns the wallet address that they provided.

Earlier this month, Lines raised $4 million in a seed round of funding led by the solo capitalist Elad Gil, an early investor in some of Silicon Valley’s marquee companies, including Airbnb, Square, Stripe, and Coinbase. The cap table also includes the who’s who of startup investing, including blue-chip angel investors such as Raymond Tonsing, Naval Ravikant, and Balaji Srinivasan, and high-profile executives at tech companies like Coinbase, Figma, and Adobe.

The round had all but closed when Gil reached out about investing. Handa didn’t hesitate to about double the size of the round to make room for the esteemed investor to lead it. “I’ve read his book four times already,” Handa said.

For his part, Gil said he jumped on Lines because it has the potential to change how token-gated communities, also known as DAOs, operate. Someday, members could use Lines to create group chats that require owning the group’s token to enter. They could allow members to vote on proposals and manage treasuries without leaving the app.

“In general I think some aspects of social products may re-emerge on the blockchain in super interesting ways,” Gil said in an email. “So this company is a uniquely strong team working in a very interesting area.”

Now Handa, who is one credit away from graduating, is finishing up his thesis on Web3 while pursuing it in real life.

Check out the pitch deck that Lines used to raise a $4 million seed round.