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Solana/Polychain backed VC leads $5.4M seed funding to challenge Google with Masa

Masa Network secures $5.4 Million to build decentralised data marketplace

Masa Network, a company developing a decentralised data marketplace, has announced the closing of a $5.4 million seed funding round. The round was led by Anagram, a venture capital firm co-founded by former executives from Solana and Polychain. Other participants included Avalanche Blizzard Fund, Digital Currency Group, GoldenTree, and several other notable firms. Last year, in the same line, IndyKite had also raised funds to provide decentralised identity and dynamic and granular authorisation services for large enterprises, says the company.

Data as the new frontier

Masa positions itself as a “Decentralised Google,” aiming to create an open, secure, and incentivized marketplace for personal data. The company argues that in an age dominated by artificial intelligence, data has become an immensely valuable commodity, often controlled and exploited by large tech companies without user consent or fair compensation. Masa seeks to address this by empowering individuals to own and control their data, while getting rewarded for its use.

Privacy-preserving data sharing

Masa leverages zero-knowledge proofs and fully-homomorphic encryption to ensure data privacy while enabling its utilisation. Users can contribute their data to the network and earn rewards in the form of Masa’s native token. Developers can then access this data for training AI models, conducting analytics, and building innovative applications without compromising user privacy.

Co-founder Calanthia Mei told us that they’re not competing with yesterday’s data giants or yesterday’s blockchain solutions. Rather, they claim they are pioneers, building a new era of privacy-preserving data infrastructure. She emphasises the importance of encryption and incentives, key elements missing in current systems.

Funding and future plans

This latest funding round brings Masa’s total capital raised to $9.2 million. The company plans to utilise these funds to launch its mainnet on a dedicated Avalanche Subnet in Q1 2024, alongside building its zk-Data Network.

Industry response

Masa has garnered significant traction since its launch in August 2022, attracting over 1 million connected wallets, over 15 million permissioned data points, and more than 23,000 testnet node operators. Several leading blockchain projects, including Avalanche, QuickSwap, Injective, and Celo, have already adopted Masa’s products. The company’s innovative Soulbound Tokens, based on zero-knowledge proofs, were even published at the 7th Cyber Security in Networking Conference.

Talking about their startup, Calanthia Mei, Co-Founder of Masa said, “Our team is our greatest strength – a unique blend of tech wizards and market movers.” With over 1 million connected wallets and 19 million proprietary data points in just a year, their expertise speaks volumes.

Moreover, at their core, they value diversity and inclusion. “We believe the best ideas come from different perspectives,” Mei explains. Their team itself reflects this with co-founders spanning three continents and 50% being female. It’s a refreshing change in an often homogenous tech space.

“We want to empower everyone to take control of their digital footprint,” Mei declares. By putting the power back in your hands, Masa is building a future where data becomes a force for good, not just for the privileged few.

Our take on Masa Network

Masa Network’s approach to data ownership and monetization in a decentralised setting has attracted significant interest from investors and industry players alike. The company’s focus on privacy-preserving data sharing and its traction within the blockchain ecosystem suggest that it could potentially carve out a niche in the burgeoning decentralised data market.

However, it remains to be seen whether Masa can successfully navigate the technical and regulatory challenges associated with its ambitious vision.

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