WazirX co-founder’s blockchain startup valued at nearly $200 mn

Indian crypto exchange WazirX’s co-founder Nischal Shetty-led blockchain startup Shardeum has raised $18.2 million ( 145.6 crore) in its seed funding round, the company announced on Tuesday.

The round values the Switzerland-headquartered startup at $199.1 million.

The round saw participation from over 50 investors, including Jane Street, Struck Crypto, The Spartan Group, Big Brain Holdings, DFG, Ghaf Capital Partners, and Foresight Ventures, and other strategic investors like CoinGecko Ventures, Wemade, ZebPay, Jsquare, MH Ventures, Nestcoin, Veris Ventures, Tupix Capital, Mapleblock Capital and NetZero Capital.

Shardeum is a proof-of-stake smart contract platform that aims to offer improved scaling capabilities when compared to other Layer-1 blockchains like Ethereum. The blockchain uses dynamic state sharding technology, which allows it to linearly scale and increase TPS (transactions per second) with every node added to the network, ensuring that the network can maintain low gas fees indefinitely.

Shardeum designed a novel architecture that will allow atomic cross-shard composability to resolve the UX issues developers and users face in current sharded blockchains.

The fresh funds will be used towards ramping up the company’s marketing efforts along with growing the development team to further enhance Shardeum’s dynamic sharding technology and ecosystem development, with a focus on product and design development.

Over the next year, Shardeum will actively host hackathons in India and the US and provide a platform to incentivize developers to build and grow the Shardeum ecosystem.

Shardeum has 29 employees who sit across the world, including in places such as India, the US, the UK, and Brazil.

The funding round has also witnessed participation from several angel investors, including Balaji Srinivasan; Mayur Gupta (CMO at Kraken); Michael Montero (Co-founder at Resy – Acq. American Express and Co-Founder at CrowdTwist – Acq. Oracle); Pankaj Gupta (VP Engineering at Coinbase); Harsh Rajat (Co-founder at Push Protocol); Nakul Gupta (Lead PM at Coinbase NFT Marketplace & Institutional Onboarding); Ajeet Khurana (Founder at Reflexical); Ravi Adusumalli (GP at Elevation Capital); Rohan Chauhan (Digital assets at Hudson River Trading); Ganesh Swami (Co-founder at Covalent) and Kashif Raza (Founder at Bitinning).

It should also be noted that WazirX has laid off nearly 40% of its workforce. As many as 50 to 70 of 150 WazirX employees were laid off, CoinDesk reported, citing sources.

WazirX has been facing problems, including a public spat with Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao about whether Binance is the parent company of the Indian exchange. WazirX daily trading volumes have been declining from a one-year high of 478 million in October 2021 to 1.5 million in October 2022, according to CoinGecko data.

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