What began out as a blockchain-powered, decentralized Dropbox has developed into an enterprise storage system with actual enterprise capital backing.
Atlanta-based Storj Labs introduced at the moment it has raised $3m in seed funding as a part of a spherical that noticed contributions from particular person buyers employed by VC companies together with Google Ventures, Qualcomm Ventures and Techstars, in keeping with the corporate.
The funding marks the primary time that Storj Labs has raised outdoors capital, following a blockchain token sale in 2014.
The funding can be notable for a startup that counts itself amongst an early set of companies working within the so-called ‘crypto 2.zero’ area, the early motion geared toward making use of blockchain know-how to non-financial functions and use instances.
In this mild, CEO Shawn Wilkinson mentioned the funding marks the top of a long term of experimentation that has seen the corporate, now 13 workers robust, iterate a fledgling concept into one that may now leverage experimental know-how to safe company partnerships.
Wilkinson informed CoinDesk:
“We went from: ‘Cryptocurrency is cool,’ to ‘Hey, it’s useful, but it’s a lot better if we abstract parts of our service.’ Now, customers just buy space through our network and we help them do that.”
More concretely, the funding will assist Storj proceed to construct out its peer-to-peer file storage market to assist extra companions the dimensions of cable supplier Cox Communications, which inked a deal with the startup in December of final yr.
Storj’s know-how works by enabling an open community of customers to offer information internet hosting to its shoppers by way of a blockchain – a service that the startup then sells to shoppers like Cox utilizing a conventional software-as-a-service (or SaaS) mannequin.
Participants within the community then earn a digital token referred to as ‘storjcoin’ (SJCX) for providing their computer systems and storage capability.
Yet, whereas Storj has pursued a extra conventional path towards enterprise funding, it was additionally one of many first to hunt to lift funds by leveraging the power of blockchains to supply a distribution mechanism for provably scarce digital code.
An early adopter of the so-called ‘preliminary coin providing’ or ‘ICO’ mannequin, Storj initially funded its concepts by promoting Storjcoin X (SJCX), a digital asset it used to lift $460,000 and that at the moment has a market capitalization of $6.49m, Coinmarketcap information reveals.
But whereas the startup’s providers are tied to the voluntary public neighborhood that finds worth on this code, Wilkinson mentioned he is not anxious concerning the means of his SaaS providing to scale.
Going ahead, Wilkinson mentioned that Storj plans to give attention to extra platform integrations, making its service extra extensively out there and bringing extra worth to members.
For occasion, Storj just lately revealed that its know-how now works on web browsers, and in December, it added its tools to the cloud software platform Heroku – each ways in which the corporate is aiming to increase its viewers.
The use of an open community, nevertheless, creates some fascinating dynamics, Wilkinson acknowledged. Although, he argues that his firm has succeeded by managing them and providing value-added providers that might solely be created by way of using a blockchain.
“We came to the conclusion in 2015 that that’s really powerful, having an open market for the storage,” he defined.
In this manner, Wilkinson believes Storj has discovered its worth proposition in a market the place many have struggled, including:
“If you want to use the data storage platform, the purpose of our company is to abstract the difficulties.”