Pune start up Blockfenders receives $1.5m pre-seed funding
Pune, 8th February 2023; Data sharing in businesses is broken and current mechanisms are not secure, resulting in data breaches, insider threats, ransomware attacks and unauthorized access. Addressing this impasse, data analytics startup Blockfenders is today announcing a $1.5m pre-seed funding round from a range of institutional and angel investors to remedy the problem and enable businesses to achieve their goals.
Blockfenders has removed the burden on IT and data engineering teams to enable complete data sharing with its enterprise-grade, no-code platform in a zero trust environment while preserving data privacy. It combines the best of blockchain, cloud and distributed ledger technologies (DLT) like Hedera and Hyperledger to create an enterprise data exchange network that simplifies fine-grained and controlled data exchange between multiple parties without revealing raw data.
Without any code and just using the Blockfenders user interface, companies can establish data exchange channels with their internal or external partners so that they can start sharing data securely and granularly with zero trust from any data source including databases, data warehouses and other data platforms. Zero trust which is central to Blockfenders enables protecting the actual data resource instead of perimeter of security, adds tamper evident data verifiability and lineage, and allows data owners to control on-demand or scheduled data access using smart contracts and a cryptography based passwordless access control. It automates data workflows and expedites transparent data agreements. Blockfenders minimizes liabilities associated with data sharing using end-to-end encryption, tamper proofness of raw data, and increases data utility at 80% lower costs
According to Gartner, companies that encourage data sharing will surpass their competitors in terms of business performance. However, Gartner also predicts that only a small fraction (less than 5%) of data sharing initiatives will be successful in identifying and accessing trustworthy data sources. Further, in a recent survey of Chief Data Officers, Forrester Research found that more than 70% of global data and analytics decision-makers are increasing their capacity to utilize external data.
Blockfenders co-founder & CEO Viraj Phanse commented: “Data sharing has been limited to direct access to data sources, data views, APIs, sending data via emails and ETLing. Each of these mechanisms are resource intensive, cost prohibitive and technically complex to implement, thus increasing the dependency on IT and data engineering teams. Because of failing data sharing methods that result in increasing data liabilities, CIOs, CISOs and Chief Data Officers are unable to unlock the true potential of data and maximize its business value. Consequently, zettabytes of enterprise data is locked, siloed and kept inaccessible leading to failed digital transformation initiatives. In spite of spending millions of dollars on cybersecurity and data management, organizations are unable to prevent attacks that cause a lot of brand and reputation damage.”
Co-founder & CTO at Blockfenders Niranjan Ingale added: “Enterprises, healthcare and financial services organizations want to share data internally and externally to meet their business and operational goals. Although this is a top priority of their IT, data and security leaders, data sharing while enhancing data privacy and security, is not easy and secure. If performed incorrectly, it can lead to brand and reputational damage with heavy penalties. Blockfenders solves these challenges by making data sharing as simple as sharing photos on the phone. We are democratizing data sharing by enabling business, research and non-technical folks to share data from their own environment without writing any code or worrying about privacy, security and implementation. Now organizations can easily establish a single source of truth of data and share data in a fine-grained manner while meeting stringent regulations and compliances.”
Headquartered in Palo Alto, Blockfenders was co-founded in 2022 by friends of 20 years Viraj Phanse and Niranjan Ingale with the aim of making it easier to securely exchange data across borders. Both co-founders have extensive global experience in the tech industry, with Viraj having held leadership roles at AWS, Oracle, Persistent and Aerospike, and Niranjan leading engineering teams at AllScripts and Persistent.
In just nine months, Blockfenders has grown to a team of 10 and plans to use its pre-seed funding to grow the team further, build new capabilities like supporting multiple data sources and tokenization, and expand its presence in industries such as healthcare, banking and financial services, enterprises, and technology.
Speaking about the investment into Blockfenders, Sanjay Nath, the Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Blume Ventures, said, “What excited us about Blockfenders was Viraj and Niranjan’s articulation of the expansive scope of the problem statement and the promising tailwinds associated with it. Enterprises and Healthcare & BFSI companies today struggle with setting up and managing zero trust data-management platforms and Blockfender’s unique positioning and inherent technology moat is well poised to solve for that.”
Rashid Mayes, Principal Software Engineering Manager at Microsoft and co-founder at Philanthropy.AI, who is also an angel investor into the current round, added, “Businesses will face a greater reliance on securely and efficiently operationalizing data from diverse sources to meet the growing analytics/actionable insights, intelligence, end-to-end observability, and personalization needs of modern applications and services. Blockfenders’ platform enables organizations to break data silos and drive more value from data without sacrificing privacy, governance, or integrity.”
Blockfenders has already gained traction for its innovative approach to help customers collaborate with internal and external partners across boundaries. The company has attracted two major industry players in the USs, including a digital health company in the eye care industry and a global employee engagement platform provider. Both partners are currently undergoing proof of concept and pilots. Blockfenders has also seen keen interest from two global banks for secure data sharing.
The round saw participation from investors including Blume Ventures, Together Fund, Veda VC, Behind Genius Ventures, Better Capital, Arka Venture Labs, Global Devc, FortyTwo, Eximius, GSF Fund, Pointone, Upsparks, and industry leaders like founder and chairman of Persistent Systems, Dr. Anand Deshpande, engineering leader at Microsoft, Rashid Mayes, founder and CEO at IndiaMart.com, Dinesh Agarwal, COO at IndiaMart.com, Dinesh Gulati, investor and sports presenter/producer, Gaurav Kapur, General Partner at Wagmi Ventures, Henry Zitou, and CEO and joint MD at Nazara Technology, Nitish Mittersain.