Blockchain indexing startup Superchain has closed a $4 million seed round to build the Open Index protocol, which quickly collects and customizes blockchain data for use by developers.
The round, which closed in December, was led by Blockchain Capital. The startup also raised $1.25 million in a pre-seed round in December 2021 — which saw participation from Maven 11, KR1, Tokonomy and Fasanara — said the company in the release.
Crypto's secret sauce
Co-founders James Corbett and Maxim Legg worked together multiple times in the crypto industry before joining forces during the pandemic to launch a crypto startup. Some pointed questions from angel investors and expertise in building indexers led them to develop Superchain.
"The question we got back [from investors] was a really good one: 'How can you possibly be telling us you can do all of these things?'" Corbett said. "Well, because we have this really fast indexer that we built a prototype of, and the reason we could build a prototype is that we've built seven of them before — and this is the most refined one yet."
Indexing is the process of fetching and organizing data so that it is efficient and easy to access for use in applications. Most indexers face the challenge of either being siloed or centralized.
"It always boiled down to the secret sauce, [which] is how fast you can do something and how close to crypto it can be," Legg said. "So we really focused on the decentralization aspect."
Superchain currently indexes any Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) chain, Corbett said. The protocol is flexible in that it can index using different means of communication, he added.
A mindset shift
The startup flips indexing on its head by pushing data out to developers rather than having them access it with API calls. By pushing out data, developers can benefit from the low latency of doing the processing locally.
"We don't see anyone offering data that you can grab, you can push, you can keep up to date — it's local, and it's available to you for your application as and when you need," Legg said. "You can scale it up. You can replicate. You can basically deliver it to your site in fractions of a time of what current apps load in, and that is the fundamental shift, and that's where the gains come from."
Superchain's decentralized data processing system is somewhere in between big data and an SQL database, Corbett said. This blockchain-based data system is using the benefits of decentralization to secure low latency, he added.
"Just to give an example: you could load a whole history of PancakeSwap in memory on a MacBook Pro, and then run your searches, your algorithms, do your processing, build your indicators," Legg said. "That's the power of this Open Index protocol."
Developers will be able to customize how data is fetched, whether that's via an SQL interface or in a low-level format, like TensorFlow, Corbett said. He added that the first cohort of users for Superchain will be market makers, financial firms and some decentralized apps.
Corbett said the most recent raise used a funding structure of equity plus token warrants. The funds will be put toward delivering the product, supporting customers and hiring, he added.
"The next stage now is Superchain offers a foundation that you can actually build really compelling decentralized apps on top of," Legg said. "And that's what we see as missing."
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