On-Chain Data Hub Nansen Eyes Aggressive Growth With $75M Raise

Accel, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund and other VCs are backing an emerging player in making blockchain data make sense. CEO Alex Svanevik explains Nansen’s scaled-up vision.

Dec 16, 2021 at 1:57 p.m. UTC
Updated Dec 16, 2021 at 4:12 p.m. UTC

If blockchain technology is going to become the backbone of a new financial infrastructure, some company will have to serve as an intelligence hub for its data – storing the world’s information and making it useful, as the old Google saying goes.

With a $75 million raise backed by some of the world’s leading investment firms, on-chain analytics platform Nansen is now positioning themselves to do just that.

On Thursday Nansen announced the raise led by Accel and including participation from GIC (Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund), Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), Tiger Global and SCB 10X, among others.

In an interview with CoinDesk, CEO Alex Svanevik noted that the company’s previous round brought in many of the top crypto-native investors, and that one goal of the raise was to reach new investors who could help expand Nansen’s horizons.

“For instance, Accel is one the the largest VC firms in the world, and they specialize in taking [software-as-a-service] companies to the next level. We want to have a foot in both worlds,” Svanevik said.

“If you want to make the future of finance become a reality, you have to reach beyond crypto’s bubble,” he added.

Members of the Nansen team. (Nansen)

New products

Svanevik emphasized that one goal of the raise was “abundance.” Nansen is eyeing aggressively adding to its team of 55, expanding to new products and possibly even acquiring other teams if the industry begins to contract in a bear market.

“The next 12-18 months will be a phase of consolidation in the industry. Some great teams will join forces, some acquisitions will take place. I’d like Nansen to be well-positioned for that with a strong war chest,” he said.

Additionally, Svanevik said that while the primary audience will “always” be crypto-natives, the company is also scaling out towards institutions with products like the Nansen API, as well as expanding into more verticals like metaverse gaming data and non-fungible tokens (NFT).

“We want to be the category leader for information in crypto,” he said. “We’ve started with on-chain analytics, but that’s like Amazon starting with books. Naturally there are adjacent categories that you might expand into.”

In addition to expanding into Web 3 gaming and adding to its suite of NFT analytics, possible categories for expansion include Nansen Research for institutional subscriptions, Nansen Query for analyzing data across multiple chains, and Nansen API, which will allow funds and institutions to programmatically call Nansen data.

Social analytics

The biggest feature Svanevik hinted at is a forthcoming “social” product.

“We’re going to make Nansen more personal, and we’re going to make it more social. I can’t disclose too much – we want to have a product people can use before we share it – but if you think about sharing information that you find on Nansen with other people, that should be easier than it is today,” said Svanevik.

This product may also coincide with more experimentation with tokenization and Web 3 assets.

“Nansen has very much been a Web 2 product operating in a Web 3 world. I think next year we’ll be leaning more into Web 3,” he said.

He made it clear there will not be a Nansen token sale, but the team would be “experimenting with Web 3 assets.” He declined to give specifics but said it was a key area of focus for the company.

Big vision

Svanevik said that in aggregate the new roadmap for the company is designed to position it as a “gateway” into crypto for both individuals and institutions.

“The idea is that, if we can help people be informed in all this wild west noise you find in crypto, then those pioneers of the wild west will re-invest in crypto, they will attract more people to join, and then ultimately crypto, [decentralized finance], NFTs, the metaverse – they will displace traditional finance and create the new financial fabric of the world,” he said.

Right now that process is in the early stages, but the space is already enjoying a surge in interest.

“I like to say DeFi brought the capital and NFTs bring the people,” he said.

Svanevik noted that at one point during the year 80% of users were exclusively using the platform for the NFT dashboard, and currently, institutional investors are forming a similar wave of interest.

“We’re talking about literally the top market participants in traditional finance who want to get more intelligence because they’re getting involved in crypto,” he said.

DISCLOSURE

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

Andrew Thurman is a tech reporter at CoinDesk with a focus on DeFi.