California-based Web3 infrastructure company Mysten Labs has big plans for Greece as it looks to make the country its next engineering hub and gradually expand in the region.
Recently, the company raised $300M in a Series B led by FTX Ventures and reached a valuation of more than $2 billion, with plans to use the latest funds on expansion and to continue building the core infrastructure to power web3’s next wave of applications.
Launched in 2021 by five ex-Meta (Facebook) leader engineers and managers, with two Greek co-founders among its founding team, the company aims to hire 15 solution and smart contract engineers in Greece.
For Kostas Chalkias, one of the Mysten Labs’ co-founders and its chief cryptographer, making Greece its next engineering hub came as a natural decision. The country has a strong engineering community and there is a lot of talent especially when it comes to the blockchain and fintech spheres.
“There are at least four or five universities that extract good talent. Compared to the number of the population, statistically more than the expected percentage of geniuses in the web3 and blockchain space are Greeks or Cypriots. So, we have already leased an office in one of the most beautiful Athens’ spots, at Ermou street, and we will also have people working from Thessaloniki,” Chalkias tells The Recursive.
The company has more than eight Greek angel investors already and there are also several Greek-based startups that are committed to build products and services on the Sui blockchain, which was launched by Mysten Labs back in March. Thus, one of the Greek team’s main missions will be to expand and strengthen the Sui ecosystem.
The other major community contributions from Mysten Labs include the “Move” programming language for building smart contracts, the “Narwhal & Bullshark” consensus scheme, and “fast crypto”, a high-performance cryptographic library, all of them open-sourced.
A hub for expanding to the rest of the EU and the Western Balkans
Serial entrepreneur Chalkias (also known by his nickname “Kryptos”) is convinced that Greece can also become a hub for the further development of Mysten Labs throughout the EU and the Middle East as well.
“We need a strong team and we believe that its structure and proficiency will provide an extra benefit for them and create an exciting environment. I think that our presence will make a huge difference to the Greek ecosystem,” Chalkias says, adding that in the long run the company is looking to invest even more in the country.
Having in mind that there is lots of demand for developing web3 infrastructure right now, Mysten Labs also plans to train new talent and have them ready for such projects.
Experienced IT manager Ioannis Alvanopoulos has recently been appointed as the company’s general manager for Greece, and according to him, Mysten Labs’ expansion to the country will also provide plenty of opportunities for the local talent.
“We believe in the local talent, and have firm belief that we can do something good here. We are looking for creative people in the sense that in order to strengthen the ecosystem we need a certain level of creativity and we want people to join the team, to have fun and to be eager to create new solutions,” Alvanopoulos tells The Recursive.
When it comes to the rest of the Western Balkans there is also a great potential for harnessing the skills that the local IT talent already has and Mysten Labs will be also looking into that direction as well, Chalkias points out.
“We started with Greece because we know the market, but as the company grows in the following months we will be also looking to add people from Bulgaria, Serbia, or elsewhere in the region,” he concludes.