It’s been quite the year so far at casa Blockdaemon, and the time has come to tell you about it. From when we set out on our journey last summer, we have grown from 2 dudes to 10 engineers and a handful of smart and driven deal and market makers — ensuring our platform hits demand in a sustainable and strategic way. And as a result, we are announcing a serial-seed funding round this week, led by seasoned enterprise VCs — Comcast, Boldstart, MState(backed by IBM), Plug and Play — and Silicon Valley super angels who earned their chops building multi-billion dollar businesses (Meagan Jones, Sam Lessin, Jeff Fagnan, etc.)
Initially, we didn’t want to raise a large round, but conversations with different stakeholders — customers, investors, and the team — made it clear that we are on the cusp of something special, and needed to scale fast. We ended up raising a $3.275mm round, which we will use to grow our engineering team from 10 to 20 in the next 6 months, to enhance infrastructure options, and to help customers run multi-tenant networks across all sorts of different blockchains.
We chose a VC round, over a crowdsale, to ensure we have investors with real enterprise chops on deck that can help us run a focused agile development process. To us, that means heavily loaded bi-monthly sprints that are QA’ed according to enterprise standards, alongside a tight budget directed by customer demands and peppered with our dream: a seamless — near zero cost infrastructure for all blockchain projects networked across all major chains.
We also started relationships with the best developer community ecosystems and structured advisories in that space, often as the first blockchain company these organizations have interfaced with. We’re well aware of the risks of scaling developer tools (ultimately we believe these should be as cheap and functional as possible) while ensuring investor returns (enormous scale and a moat to make small margins go all the way to a skinny but happy unicorn).
I could spend days talking about the team and the joy it brings me to know that great developers seek us out, and I’ll write about that process and our unique organization at another time, once everyone is settled in. That said, I’d like to point out that our team is 40% female, and that we’re looking at diversity and inclusion as a core metric going forward. These aren’t quota females either. The women on our team are hard-working talented professionals. This diversity will serve us well in the long run.
This week we’re announcing a new product — simple deploy and connect of public Bitcoin and Ethereum nodes, payable in crypto and credit card. We’re still looking for a wallet that our customers can use that does auto-payments (anyone out there?), but we have some plans. Just to ensure our own infrastructure holds, we’re throttling customer intake just a little.. We’re deploying this on the Blockdaemon infrastructure at a 90% lower price than Amazon, and are still collecting a healthy margin. That means happy customers, happy investors, and happy Blockdaemons. To get started, you can apply for an invite code on our website here, or across some of our partner’s networks.
As a blockchain aficionado, running your own node is a matter of pride and curiosity — track the ledger, own the connection to your wallet and run it on an infrastructure that allows you to also do other stuff (which isn’t permitted on any of the big cloud providers). You will figure out what that is in due time. I hope everyone who reads this chooses to become part of our network, and shares feedback and ideas about which configuration to deploy in our respective forums.
We are excited to offer real product en masse to customers. Touching a blockchain and experiencing real product flow (beginning to end) is something rare in our ecosystem (pet the gender fluid unicorn!). Check out our latest product video on our website.
Lastly, a quick shout out to our partners. Stellar has chosen Blockdaemon to be their first deployment partner, and we aim to provide them with a simple turnkey solution that connects Bitfrost, their horizon API and the Stellar network in one sweeping motion. I cannot say enough good things about Stellar, but besides their amazing technical performance, we love that they give back 95% of gains to the community.
Madnetwork.io, our first customer, completed its crowdsale last week, and we are MAD excited to build out the best privacy-first network with them: real tech for real use cases. Gcoin.com is making great strides in becoming one of the foremost stable-coins, and are thrilled to work with them to validate transactions, manage their permission based network and use them to help us navigate currency risk for our own services. Shocard.com announced their ICO last week, a company we love for their amazing product that actually works for enterprises right now. People often talk about no real application with purpose in the market, and that is simply not true. Shocard has been validating identities on the blockchain (for which they own a patent) for 3 years now, has amazing customers, a fully functioning product, an outstanding engineering group led by CEO Armin Ebrahimi, who built Yahoo’s ad-platform years back (hello billion transactions per day), and is backed by Jerry Yang and Bob Tinker.
All the above are venture grade companies aiming to offer tangible solutions to their community. They are accountable, experienced and innovative. Like us. As you might observe, we do not yet have dedicated marketing in play, but that is changing. We made a deal with MelrosePR to help us ramp up influencer marketing, professionalize my rants and to run a few real programs to make you want to hang around.