Neel Somani, Ex-Terra Developer Gains $15M Funding For His New Crypto Project, Eclipse.
The Jump Capital employee explained to Neel Somani that Terra has depegged and is unlikely to recover in early May while he was working on a protocol connecting Terra stablecoin with Ethereum at TerraForm Labs’ Hacker House.
Somani and his Terra colleagues have mostly stayed in crypto, grafting onto new projects in anticipation of the next bull market, despite Terra’s explosion wiping out billions of dollars in value.
Funding For New Crypto Project Called Eclipse
After Terra collapsed five months ago, Somani has already raised $15 million for an Eclipse rollup running on Solana, a new project on a different blockchain.
The Eclipse blockchain network was inspired by Cosmos and allows users to transfer value between blockchains on a layer-2 basis.
The Eclipse project aims to be more flexible than the current cross-chain protocols by allowing developers to deploy rollups across multiple layer-1s.
While working at Citadel, Somani found traditional finance dull, and he wanted to explore more risky employment opportunities.
After leaving the hedge fund in early 2022, Somani joined Terra to work on an Ethereum virtual machine-compatible smart contract layer.
“I want to be in a role where it either goes to zero or explodes in a good way,” Somani said to Blockworks.
The Challenges to Fundraise New Project
Somani’s involvement with the collapsed stablecoin prompted potential investors to remain skeptical when it came time to fundraise for his new project.
When the issue of Terra comes up during investor meetings, “I have to kind of own it and show that I’m acknowledging this, and I don’t think it’s that big a deal,” Somani said.
Somani’s new venture is also a response to Terra’s mistakes; the Eclipse rollup can be deployed on multiple chains in case a scenario similar to Terra’s occurs.
It is planned to deploy Eclipse on the Solana virtual machine, but it is designed to be ecosystem-neutral.
“I didn’t want to tie myself to the reliability of a single channel” following Terra failure.
During the summer, Eclipse raised $6 million in pre-seed funding, followed a few weeks later by $9 million in seed funding from crypto venture capital firms Tribe Capital and Tabiya.