Blockchain tooling provider Modular Cloud raised a $1.7 million pre-seed round to build a block explorer for modular blockchains.
The round, which closed last year, is co-led by Maven 11 and Blockchain Capital. NFX, Celestia Foundation and Eclipse were among the investors who participated in the round, said the company in a release.
Modular Cloud's co-founder Lzrs, who chooses to be pseudonymous, spent years experimenting with blockchain technologies and worked for a crypto company in 2017 before deciding to leave the industry completely. The arrival of new technological developments in the space ultimately pulled them back in.
"I came back after realising that a lot of technical progress has been made in a very short amount of time," Lzrs said. "It's very exciting. I've always been excited about it but I've always also thought of it as a very long, very long time horizon and after seeing enough progress, I started realising that a lot of cool stuff is possible to do soon."
The rise of modular blockchains
What particularly caught Lzrs attention was the arrival of modular blockchains. Most blockchains are monolithic, which means they try to execute key blockchain components, data availability, settlement and execution, all on the one layer. A modular blockchain outsources some of these components to other layers, which help make the chains more scalable.
Celestia is an example of one of these chains. Lzrs reached out to Nick White, the chief operating officer of Celestia, who encouraged Lzrs to build a project for Celestia rather than submit a CV. The project, which was called CelestiaQL, eventually transformed into Lzrs' startup Modular Cloud.
"They were really impressed by it and so they said, 'You should actually just start a company because there's a lot that can be done in the space,'" Lzrs said. " I started looking into ideas around an indexer and I got introduced to VCs, closed the round and now I'm here."
Modular Cloud's first project is a blockchain explorer that is designed to integrate with a large of number of protocols. The explorer makes little assumptions about how the protocols work and can display the data in any way through a simple integration process.
Betting on a multichain future
The explorer is open source and is integrated with Celestia, Dymension and Eclipse. "We are betting that there's going to be a lot more different varieties of protocols," Lzrs said, adding that in many cases the old tooling is not adapted to the new ways protocols are doing things.
"Blockchains are transitioning to modular architectures, a necessary change that brings new infrastructure needs,” said Aleks Larsen, general partner at Blockchain Capital, in the release. “As the first infrastructure platform designed for modular blockchains, Modular Cloud is uniquely positioned to support the evolving needs of crypto developers."
The startup is also building a cloud backend that will power a hosted version of the explorer, the company said in the release. In the short term, this offering will just be a simple data retrieval API but long term it will act as a programmable compute and data engine that indexes modular blockchains. This should appeal to on-chain researchers and developers who might need to pull data from different sources or run computations on a wide array of protocols on an integrated platform, Lzrs said.
The funds from the raise are all going toward the development of these tools, including hiring. Currently Modular Cloud is just run by its two co-founders.
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