Bain Capital Crypto Backs $4.5M Round for Blockchain Interoperability Startup Orb Labs

Orb Labs emerges from stealth preparing to launch its first products.

AccessTimeIconFeb 14, 2023 at 12:30 p.m. UTC
Updated May 9, 2023 at 4:08 a.m. UTC

Orb Labs, a newly announced startup focused on making blockchains capable of interacting with each other, has raised $4.5 million in a seed round led by the crypto arm of Bain Capital, a global investment giant with about $160 billion in assets under management.

Orb Labs will use the funding to launch its first products, expand its team and to perform security audits. Other investors in the round included Shima Capital, 6th Man Ventures, Aves Lair, Newman Capital, Modular Capital and SevenX Ventures.

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  • Blockchain interoperability allows developers to create products and services that utilize the benefits of multiple blockchains at the same time. Existing systems include cross-chain bridges, an avenue with notoriously weak security. Of the $3.1 billion that hackers took from decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols last year, 64% was tied to cross-chain bridge exploits, according to a recent Chainalysis report. Orb Labs says its products offer a less expensive, faster and more secure alternative to the existing protocols.

    "Currently, developers are unable to find messaging protocols that push the limits on usability and security,” said Orb Labs co-founder Richard Adjei. “Our team is excited to power the next wave of blockchain interoperability by providing gas-efficient, fast, and trust minimized messaging protocols.”

    Founded in 2022 by Princeton University classmates Adjei and Felix Madutsa, New York-based Orb Labs has created a cross-chain messaging protocol called Earlybird that allows developers to choose a security model that works best for their application based on the cost and speed needs. The startup is also working on MagicLane, a token and messaging platform built on top of Earlybird.

    Lead backer Bain Capital launched its first crypto fund last March with $560 million in committed capital. The fund focuses on startups operating in the DeFi and Web3 spaces.

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    Brandy Betz

    Brandy covered crypto-related venture capital deals for CoinDesk.