Band Protocol raises US$3 million in seed funding
By Digital News Asia February 19, 2019
- Round led by Sequoia India; other investors include Dunamu & Partners and SeaX
- Funding will accelerate Band Protocol’s product development and go-to-market in 2019
BAND Protocol, a Singapore and Thailand-based startup that harnesses wisdom-of-crowd and incentivises its digital community of users to curate reliable information, has raised US$3 million (RM12.24 million) in seed funding.
Funding was led by Sequoia India, making Band Protocol their first official investment into blockchain for Southeast Asia. Other investors include Dunamu & Partners, an investment arm of Korean fintech company Dunamu - which also operates the Upbit exchange - and SeaX, a VC fund that invests in early-stage deep tech companies.
This latest round of financing will further accelerate Band Protocol’s mainnet development and establish its go-to-market strategy for 2019.
Band Protocol offers a protocol that enables users to create token-curated communities. Any entity, be it a company, a brand, or a developer, can use Band Protocol’s proprietary platform to set up a community that is focused on a specific category or topic, and issue personalised tokens to curate data and information within that community.
These tokens are used as an economic incentive to motivate users to actively participate in the ecosystem. Active users and content creators are rightfully rewarded for their contribution and retain the power they deserve as data owners.
The data-driven economy is unlocking new applications and opportunities, with more and more information being produced.
While the internet is a powerful platform for information generation and distribution, it has also facilitated the spread of inaccurate information ranging from fake news and fraudulent data.
With the global cost of fraud estimated to reach nearly US$4 billion, Band Protocol’s founders aim to leverage on the power of blockchain to build an ecosystem for trusted data and online community.
Another critical use case is the cryptocurrency market, where the lack of regulation has given rise to a host of issues from biased ranking, inaccurate reporting of token metrics, to outright scams that part retail investors from their money.
“As software developers and technology enthusiasts, we have noticed a growing unavailability of trustable data on the internet, coupled with the rising trend of fake news,” said Band Protocol co-founder and chief executive officer Soravis Srinawakoon (pic).
“Our vision at Band Protocol is to bring online and digital communities together by creating an online platform for the curation of transparent and reliable data. Think of it as the underlying infrastructure for the second information age.”
“We believe Band Protocol is solving an important problem at the right time,” said Pieter Kemps, principal at Sequoia Capital (India) Singapore. “The blockchain industry has gone through several ups and downs, but we take a long-term view. We have been very impressed with Band Protocol’s experience in the blockchain space across several industry cycles, as well as the team’s technical skills and strategic approach.”
The company’s target customers include any entity that wants to build a trusted database and online communities. The product has clear applications for credit bureaus, fraud detection, KYC and identity verification – as well as any service or site that offers online discussion, recommendations and rankings.
“SEA is growing exponentially and we are very excited to invest in Band Protocol from day one and bring their blockchain protocol to our 2,000 corporates and over 1,000 startups partners. With their technical knowhow and our extensive global network, we are confident in being the pioneer in bringing blockchain to real-world adoption" commented Dr. Supachai Parchariyanon, founder of venture fund SeaX and corporate innovation accelerator, Rise Academy.
Band Protocol was founded in mid-2017 by Soravis Srinawakoon, Sorawit Suriyakarn and Paul Chonpimai.
Srinawakoon is a Stanford graduate, who worked as a software engineer at Ericsson and a management consultant at the Boston Consulting Group before setting up Band Protocol.
Sorawit is an MIT graduate and Gold Medallist at the International Olympiad in Informatics, worked as a software engineer at Quora, Dropbox and Hudson River Trading, where he built a crypto trading desk solution before co-founding Band Protocol.
All three founders have been investing in cryptocurrencies since 2013, and have created a crypto game in 2015 that has since garnered over 300,000 users.
To promote the early adoption of Band Protocol and demonstrate its application, the team is creating CoinHatcher, a global, decentralised portal that aggregates reliable news, research, token-economic information, and a comprehensive directory of crypto projects, founders, and other related ecosystem players.
The core focus of this offering will be to educate people about the blockchain ecosystem, provide accurate data and build trust in the blockchain sector.