There’s no shortage of startups trying to make sense of the explosive data growth stemming from blockchain applications. Nansen has support from a16z to provide on-chain data analysis for crypto investors. The graph provides an API for developers to query blockchain data. The latest to get VC recognition is KNN3, a Singapore-based startup working to help developers understand the connections between blockchains.
When we get into a social network, the first thing to follow is usually recommendations. This information is based on historical analyzes of our digital footprint. KNN3 wants to do the same on Web 3 by building graph databases that analyze users’ connections, status, memberships, and other on-chain activities.
The blockchain data space is already very crowded, co-founder Thomas Yu admits, but there is still room for more specialized services. Nansen and Web3 development platform Alchemy come in the form of centralized SaaS products. The graph is “programmable,” but the data structure it supports is too “constrained,” Yu argued.
That’s why Yu with his former BTC China partner Errance Liuset to build KNN3, a permissionless (and therefore decentralized) tool for developers to extract insights from cross-blockchain user data.
KNN3 is launching in Asia targeting consumer-facing dApps. While the majority of Web3 infrastructure development is taking place in the West, Asia is generally considered a hub for consumer app innovation, highlighted by the popularity of GameFi platforms such as Axie Infinity and StepN. One of KNN3’s known clients is the Mask Network, which allows users to send cryptocurrencies over Web 2.0 services, and is currently building a decentralized identity system using KNN3’s technology.
In the US, by contrast, KNN3 plans to go after enterprises like Chainlink. KNN3 is weighing a new product offering cloud services built on Chainlink’s Oracle, which will ultimately allow developers to build and run decentralized applications and smart contracts without worrying about the “core data layer.”
“That means a developer can use a Web2 tool like Google Cloud, but instead of writing a smart contract and running it on-chain, he’s building a Web3 tool. KNN3 has built a trustless infrastructure using oracles, and developers can easily put it in a container,” Yu explained.
KNN3 has raised $2.4 million in a seed funding round led by crypto-focused venture capital HashGlobal and Ling Xinjun, former vice chairman and CEO of China’s Fosun International. The round closed in April but was only announced this month.
The seed investment also had a long line of participating investors — a seemingly popular strategy for blockchain startups to form early partners. They are Mask Network, MetaWeb Venture, Eniac Venture, Tess Venture, Stratified Capital, Fundamental Lab, Incuba Alpha, Zeuth Venture, Cogitent Venture, Atlas Capital; Impossible Finance, RSS3, ShowMe and ETHsign co-founders Yan Xin and Potter Li
KNN3 currently employs a team of 24 in Singapore, China, Europe and the U.S. With its funding, it looks to attract more tech talent from Silicon Valley. “It’s a good time to hire in a bear market because many competitors are shrinking,” Yu said.