COO: fundraising in current market “separates the true builders from the noise.”
ChainSafe Systems co-founder and CEO Aidan Hyman wants to build his blockchain and Web3 research and development (R&D) startup into “the provider of technically objective, open-source developer tools.”
According to Hyman, ChainSafe’s longstanding, multi-chain, interoperability-first approach, and focus on open standards have set the startup apart in the Web3 infrastructure development space. “What makes us very unique at ChainSafe is that from day one, we’ve been focused on building out for a multi-chain, interoperable world,” Hyman told BetaKit in an interview. “That’s something that, especially when we started, was not a very normal thing.”
“We’ve gotten to a point where our mission is now not only building the infrastructure for Web3, but also onboarding the next few million developers.”
-Aidan Hyman, ChainSafe
ChainSafe, which provides Web3 tools and services, was launched in early 2017 after its founding team met at an Ethereum meetup in Toronto. The startup claims to have achieved profitability, and grown to over 120 employees across 33 countries with minimal venture funding—navigating its share of crypto bull and bear markets in the process.
Now, armed with $25.7 million CAD in Series A funding, ChainSafe is ready for its next stage of growth. The startup plans to use this capital to refine its existing products, roll out more blockchain-agnostic infrastructure and Web3 gaming tools for developers, and ramp up its go-to-market efforts.
“We’ve gotten to a point where our mission is now not only building the infrastructure for Web3, but also onboarding the next few million developers,” said Hyman. “This raise cements our ability to start focusing beyond what we’ve been able to [do to date].”
ChainSafe’s all-equity Series A round closed in September and brings the company’s total venture funding to nearly $27.5 million CAD ($20 million USD). Round13 Capital’s Digital Asset Fund (DAF) led the financing, with support from fellow new investors NGC Ventures, HashKey Capital, Sfermion, and Jsquare, and return investors Digital Finance Group, Fenbushi Capital, and ConsenSys, which was founded by Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin, who sits on ChainSafe’s board.
The round comes amid a worsening macroeconomic environment and the crypto crash, which have made it more challenging for startups to raise capital. Asked whether ChainSafe faced any headwinds raising funding in this environment, ChainSafe co-founder and COO Hatcher Lipton told BetaKit it was an opportunity, claiming that these conditions “[separate] the true builders from the noise.”
“It really allows projects and companies like ours to stand out,” said Lipton.
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Round13 DAF managing partner Khaled Verjee told BetaKit in an interview that amid this climate, ChainSafe was an attractive investment opportunity, given that the company had grown so much and become cash-flow-positive after raising such a small amount of capital. “They’ve been in the business since 2017,” said Verjee. “They’ve shown that they can outlast bear markets.”
ChainSafe is a core protocol developer for Ethereum, Polkadot, Filecoin, and other leading blockchain ecosystems. Headquartered in Toronto, the startup also has offices in Berlin, Germany, and Zagreb, Croatia, which it opened after acquiring Node Factory in 2021. According to Verjee, ChainSafe is “one of the most respected and well-known Web3 infrastructure companies in the space.”
“Their mission is to bring blockchain and Web3 to a point where you don’t even know you’re using it,” said Verjee, who has joined ChainSafe’s board as part of this round.
Hyman and Lipton believe the future of Web3 is interoperable. As Lipton put it, within the blockchain and Web3 space, there are “many siloed ecosystems where knowledge isn’t being shared,” adding that ChainSafe set out during its early days to stop this practice and encourage collaboration.
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Speaking to how well-situated ChainSafe is to navigate this macro environment, Hyman believes the company is in a good position, “What we find in these kinds of cycles is that there’s a huge demand for actual innovation,” he said, claiming that ChainSafe’s business is currently “doing better than ever before.”
While there are many different companies building individual tools that may compete with some of ChainSafe’s offerings, Verjee argued there are few as rooted in Web3 infrastructure and the ecosystem. Competition-wise, Verjee believes ChainSafe is in a strong spot given its reputation, history and experience as an R&D team, and its focus on multiple products.
“We have been close to ChainSafe since the early days when decentralized protocols were defining themselves and coming into their own,” said Lubin. “No organization has done a better job of establishing beachheads in important ecosystems and consistently making fundamental contributions. The people of ChainSafe combine integrity and excellence as well as any company in our ecosystem, and no organization has earned trust more broadly among its peers.”
Feature image courtesy ChainSafe.