Blockchain data startup Tierion has raised $1m in seed funding from several of the industry’s leading venture capital firms.
The round was co-led by San Francisco-based Blockchain Capital and China-based Fenbushi Capital, which raised $50m in 2015 with the intent of investing in blockchain-based startups and projects. Digital Currency Group also participated in the round.
The news comes one year after the service launched last September following a winning debut at the Consensus 2015 Makeathon. Tierion allows users to turn data from web and mobile apps into blockchain receipts that are hashed, stored and timestamped on the bitcoin blockchain.
In interview, CEO Wayne Vaughan said that the funding comes at a time when his firm is seeing increased interest from institutional partners seeking to leverage its free API service to ensure data integrity.
Vaughan told CoinDesk:
"Tierion allows you to have a high volume of records anchored to public blockchains. Instead of putting something on the blockchain, we’re allowing you to anchor your data to the blockchain."
Vaughan’s service uses the bitcoin blockchain, which he said is the preferred choice for any business that wants to ensure data integrity, positioning it as what could be one of the biggest institutional uses of such versions of the technology. Tierion, he said, is also preparing a version of its technology for the Ethereum blockchain.
Tierion has also hired Koinify veteran Tom Kysar as its second full-time employee, and said that is looking to double its staff in the coming months.
Going to market
Though Vaughan hinted at institutional partners, right now, he said a diversity of startups and online services are already leveraging Tierion.
For example, he cited peer-to-peer leasing marketplace Flip, which is using the service to secure information on qualified lessees.
In statements, Flip founder and CEO Susannah Vila stated that her company is using the service as a way to ensure trust between landlords and subletters.
"Integrating a report with a blockchain is one member of how we are gripping everybody honest and improving trust and trustworthiness for both landlords and renters," Vila said.
Tierion’s public partners also include Philips, the healthcare giant that has been increasingly active in announcing blockchain industry partnerships. The company announced it had conducted the first project with Philips in October.
Vaughan said his firm is also now working with its institutional partners to ensure its technology can provide assurances for data security specific to government or healthcare use cases, which may have more strict rules for such processes.
Case for public chains
While one of the more talked-about use cases for the technology, Vaughn doesn’t see permissioned blockchains as being useful for data integrity use cases.
"Bitcoin is distributed all over the world, so you get data integrity. There’s a huge incentive for the blockchain to continue. Companies can go out of business, consortiums can get dissolved," Vaughan said.
Tierion’s fundraising notably follows an announcement by IBM in which the tech giant has indicated it is working to ensure its cloud environments are able to meet data security benchmarks for use in permissioned blockchain-based networks.
Still, Vaughan’s investors believe that Tierion’s model may offer benefits, lauding the service as an example of how public blockchains can be leveraged by institutions.
“You don’t need to build a blockchain for this. You can use our API to get a receipt for anything that was purchased," Vaughan said, adding:
"It’s better to anchor your data in the blockchain then to build a blockchain."
Disclaimer: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Tierion.
Data security image via Shutterstock