When software developer Uri Klarman moved from Israel to the United States to complete his Ph.D. in Computer Science in 2014, the last thing he thought about was becoming an entrepreneur. Along with Aleksandar Kuzmanovic, a computer science professor, the duo decided to create a decentralized blockchain tech startup called bloXroute Labs.
Just a year ago, the company raised $10 million in seed capital from leading venture capitalists to solve the scalability problem plaguing multiple blockchain networks. The startup describes itself as “the first provider of a blockchain distribution network, or BDN, for DeFi traders on Ethereum, Polygon, and the Binance Smart Chain.”
Today, bloXroute announced it has raised $70 million in a Series B funding round to enable the company to grow its team and expand its reach. The round was led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2, valuing Chicago-based bloXroute at $410 million.
Founded in 2017 by Uri Klarman, Aleksandar Kuzmanovic, Emin Gün Sirer and Soumya Basu, BloXroute is a blockchain distribution network that helps you scale your blockchains to thousands of on-chain transactions per second. The company also offers a high-speed blockchain distribution network that powers merchants with decentralized finance (DeFi).
In a statement, Aaron Wong, an investor at SoftBank Investment Advisers, said, “We see exciting use cases in industries such as [non-fungible tokens], blockchain-based metaverse and games. We are very excited to be working with Uri and the team to help build a blockchain superhighway with glitch-free performance.”
The funding is the latest in a series of blockchain investments by the Japanese giants. To date, Softbank has made 14 investments in so-called Web3 companies since it began funding companies in the sector last year. Of these, six, including bloXroute, were created this year.
SoftBank investments also include crypto exchange startup FTX, Metaverse platform The Sandbox, and fantasy football startup Sorare, a platform where players trade cards in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Munish Varma, a managing partner at SoftBank, told Reuters that the Japanese firm is taking a pick-and-shovel approach to the volatile crypto market — a strategy of investing in the tools or services an industry uses to create a product.
“We’re trying to play the infrastructure side of the network,” Varma said in an interview.