As AWS Lambda’s founder, Tim Wagner, and former blockchain boss at AWS, Shruthi Rao, co-found a startup, it’s definitely worth paying attention. Vendia incorporates the best of serverless and blockchain, as the new initiative is named, to help create a fully multi-cloud serverless network for efficient data storage and application sharing.
Headed by Neotribe’s Swaroop ‘Kittu’ Kolluri, the Vendia team today revealed it has raised a $5.1 million seed funding round. Those included in this overwritten round were Correlation Ventures, WestWave Capital, HWVP, Firebolt Ventures, Floodgate, and Future\Perfect Ventures.
It isn’t exactly a surprise to see Wagner at the helm of a blockchain-centric startup. He spent some time at Coinbase as VP of Engineering after developing Lambda at AWS, where he quit about a year ago to create Vendia.
I ended up moving to Coinbase and spending a little over a year there as VP Innovation, helping them set the tone for some of the work on that site and tripling the size of the team.’ He noted that Coinbase may be one of the few organizations where distributed ledgers are genuinely mission-critical to their business, but even Coinbase, for example, had trouble scaling its Ethereum fleet and there was no cloud-based infrastructure available to help it do so.
No one thinks about how you would build a distributed ledger or blockchain as if it were a cloud service, with all the things we’ve learned over the last 10 years building up the public cloud and learning how to do it on a scale, “he said. Then, Wagner joined forces with Rao, who spent a lot of time talking to blockchain customers in her job at AWS. One thing she found was that while using blockchain to create trust in a public setting makes a lot of sense, it isn’t a business issue.
On the other hand, they have made contributions to AI and ML and analytics. So they said, ‘Oh, there are loads of data so I want to move all the data into these smart networks. To get this data, I need a system.'” But much of the data also comes from third-party providers. Around the same time, the most blockchain proof of concepts did not progress into any actual use of production because the mechanism was always way too complicated; particularly businesses that would choose to link their systems to their partners’ systems.
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That’s because you have to own your data to place trust in a program like a blockchain to guarantee security. And you need your server, to own your records. So we are essentially solving the wrong problem, “she explained.
As noted by Wagner, businesses often want to share large data sets but also want to ensure that they can control who has access to that data. Vendia is essentially a virtual data lake with built-in provenance monitoring and tamper-proofing for those applications.
The company, which raised this round mostly after the coronavirus pandemic took hold in the U.S., is already working with a few design partners in multiple industries to test its ideas and plans to use the new funding to expand its engineering team to build its tools.