Steve Case Backs $4.7M Seed Round for Blockchain Database Startup Fluree

Blockchain startup Fluree, a Public Benefit Corporation, received a $4.7 million round of funding from 4490 Ventures, an early-stage venture capital fund, along with Revolution’s Rise of the Rest seed fund, to develop and market their decentralized data storage ecosystem.

Operating on the principles of complete data integration and immutability, Fluree hopes to eradicate the over-reliance on data silos and API bloat by building bridges off of blockchain technology.

“Fluree stores all data on a blockchain ledger that can be run internally like a traditional data store, or selectively operated in a data network across parties governed by Fluree SmartFunction rules,” wrote Flip Filipowski, co-CEO and co-founder of Fluree, in a statement.

The main goal is to break down trust-barriers between parties that had relied on traditional stores of critical data and spur collaboration across multiple parties by increasing access to and leveraging of data.

Target users of this innovation are those that have been hindered by the static, centralized models of data storage as they begin to integrate into an increasingly interconnected, information-centric world. The ledger will be accessible to those inside and outside the host enterprise, and can be used for both centralized or decentralized operations.

“Data is at the center of the new economy, yet it is managed by the same database approach we’ve had for 40 years,” said Brian Platz, co-CEO and co-founder of Fluree. “A data-centric approach simultaneously saves money, promotes secure enterprise collaboration and provides additional leverage for information across systems.”

Security is another concern Fluree is attempting to solve and to which blockchain provides an answer. To that end, FlureeSmartFunctions dynamically enforces permissions for external parties to access the data, provides proof of data tampering, and guarantees knowledge of who amended or added data.

The company acknowledges the tradeoffs involved in decentralization and will offer options to tune a company’s blockchain if speed is preferred over security.

“If you want 100% decentralization, something like Bitcoin, it’s going to be slow. You can’t have your cake and eat it too,” Platz told TechCrunch. “If you need to, you can decrease the amount of centralization. So there’s a spectrum there, and we focus on giving people the knob to adjust that based on what they’re trying to do,”

Currently, a free version of Fluree is available for developers, as well as a scaling-priced option based on usage. Fluree also offers a licensed version for production deployments.

The product is set for a 2019 open source release.