Web3 communications project Sending Labs raised a $12.5 million seed round led by Insignia Venture Partners, MindWorks Capital and Signum Capital.
The deal, which closed last month after founders Mason Yang and Joe Yu began fundraising in August, featured participation from K3 Ventures, LingFeng Innovation Fund, UpHonest Capital and Aipollo Investment. The valuation was not disclosed.
Yang and Yu founded MoboTap, the company behind the internet browser Dolphin, one of the earliest Android browsers, which counts over 200 million users across 130 countries. The founders said that when Google prepared to launch its own browser, it delisted Dolphin from the app store based on claims that it violated API access.
"From our experience over a decade ago with Google to the recent shutdown of third-party access to Twitter, innovation will always be at the mercy of incumbents as long as we stay on the current infrastructure," said Yu in a written interview with The Block.
Dolphin was later reinstated after user complaints about the removal — Yu said that this was a key lesson for him on the power of community, and influenced his belief in web3's long-held promise of decentralization.
Along with the funding round, the company is also launching its two flagship products in beta. SendingMe is its encrypted chat platform where users can not only grow followers but also monetize a project of their creation through peer-to-peer swaps, marketplaces, airdrops and NFT auctions. The project says that the platform is powered by decentralized protocols.
"Talk is cheap but our assets are not. If we want to upgrade our communications experience to include the ability to freely give, swap, and receive digital ownership, then it is imperative that all our chat content, not just our DMs, but also in community chat scenarios is safely guarded," he said. "At the same time, this is the first step in our journey to reclaim ownership of our own data — by starting to bring the data back to user-owned edge devices instead of saving them on servers."
The other product is SendingNetwork, a software development kit for crypto application developers to build social features in keeping with the decentralized ethos of web3. This includes in-app and cross-app chats, notifications, wallet or Decentralized ID (DID) logins and NFT and token-based transactions.
"The easiest way to think of SendingNetwork is as a parallel protocol integrated into L1 & L2 chains — a modified P2P architecture tailored to secured, high-performance message relays with the ability to execute smart contracts on different chains," said Yu, noting it currently supports integration with Ethereum and Polygon.
The funding will be used to accelerate its integration with other Layer 1s and Layer 2s — it plans to add Avalanche and Arbitrum as well as non-EVM chains like Solana and Sui. The extra cash will also be funneled toward the development of sector-specific SDKs and the launch of a community ambassador program.
© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.