Blockchain privacy firm Horizen Labs closed a $7 million seed funding round, the company disclosed Tuesday.
Kenetic Capital led the capital raise, which also included Digital Currency Group (DCG) and Liberty City, with each of the three contributing $2 million. (DCG is CoinDesk’s parent company.) Sound Ventures, Deribit, Artist Capital, Deus and LionTree also participated in the round.
New York-based Horizen said it would use the money to evolve its tools for developers and businesses to establish their own blockchains and decentralized applications (dapps). Toward that end, the company’s co-founder and CEO, Rob Viglione, told CoinDesk that he was looking “to double to triple” his current 25-person staff by adding at least 20 engineers in New York, expanding Horizen’s operations in Milan and opening a new office in Ukraine.
“At this point, our biggest bottleneck is talent,” Viglione said.
Horizen just released a decentralized, "privacy preserving" audit blockchain called zkAudit and counts crypto lender Celsius Network and blockchain-based supply chain platform Morpheus.Network among its early users.
Separately, Horizen is banking on its Zendoo scalability protocol, still in testnet, to increase usage of its technology. Viglione said the company plans to move Zendoo to mainnet by the end of October. “Having that protocol is a necessary precursor for us,” he said.
In a statement, Viglione said that "the raise shows the faith being put into our company" and that it would "enable us to continue building out the tools and technology needed for fully programmable highly effective blockchains and decentralized applications."
DCG and Liberty led Horizen’s $3.75 million seed funding round in 2019, the same year as Horizen’s founding. DCG founder and CEO Barry Silbert said in a statement that he had been “consistently impressed" by the project's development. “Horizen’s novel sidechain technology lets partners and projects harness decentralization to tackle real-world use cases,” Silbert said, adding that DCG expected demand for Horizen’s ZEN token to grow.
UPDATE (August 10 16:30): Adds information about Morpheus.Network.