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North Carolina-based Fluree, a startup providing Web3 data management tooling, including a blockchain-backed semantic graph database, today announced it has raised $10 million in a series A round of funding.
The investment comes as enterprises look at blockchain technology for decentralized management of their data assets — with increased trust, transparency, security and traceability. Fluree said it will use the capital to continue building its “data-centric infrastructure” and assist enterprises in upgrading their legacy infrastructure into collaborative modern data platforms.
The company already works with multiple private and government organizations, including the U.S. Department of Defense and the Department of Education.
How exactly does Fluree help?
Launched in 2018, Fluree’s main product, Fluree Core, is an open-source graph database that combines permissioned blockchain technology, semantic web standards and data-centric security policy controls to help developers store and manage data in a decentralized and trusted format.
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The technology combines transactions into immutable time-stamped “blocks” and locks each block via asymmetric cryptography — making data completely tamper-proof. Digital signatures are used for complete proof and visibility into the data lifecycle.
Once the data is blockchain-secured, it is organized in the scalable database — establishing a layer of trusted data for connected and secure data ecosystems. The whole system guarantees data integrity, facilitates secure sharing and powers data-driven insights, the company notes.
“Whereas most databases live as static silos behind one application, Fluree’s linked graph technology enables data to be shared in-place across many environments while protected by policy, trust and privacy,” Brian Platz, the company’s cofounder and CEO, told VentureBeat.
“The graph database sits on the W3C RDF and JSON-LD standards, allowing for decentralized, composable data to be accessed and integrated easily. Developers can use a variety of query languages, including SPARQL, GraphQL, FlureeQL, or even SQL to interact with Fluree,” he added.
Along with Fluree Core, the company also offers Fluree Sense to make data in existing legacy databases, data warehouses and data lakes ready for downstream enterprise consumption and sharing.
As Platz explained, Sense automates the integration of data from multiple sources and uses machine learning and semantic ontologies to normalize, cleanse and harmonize the information to create an authoritative “golden record” source of truth.
While most organizations report only processing 5-15% of their total data, Fluree claims Sense can programmatically scan and fix billions of rows and clean up to 90% of enterprise data in a few months. The offering was added to the Fluree ecosystem back in September 2022 following the company’s merger with New Jersey-based ZettaLabs.
With the latest round, which was led by SineWave Ventures, Fluree’s total capital raised has surpassed $16 million. The company said it will use the money to further build its ecosystem of data products and help more enterprises use those products to move away from legacy data infrastructure. Ultimately, the CEO said, Fluree will help companies support the increasing demand for trusted, shareable and secure data for LLMs, knowledge graphs, analytics and enterprise data-sharing initiatives.
“Our data-management vision always has been to rebuild data architecture for the modern enterprise. As we move from ‘data as a byproduct’ of applications to ‘data being the product,’ Fluree will provide best-in-class data infrastructure to service this shift. We believe data should be secure, interoperable, trusted, semantically linked and accessible,” Platz noted.
The company claims to have more than 100,000 downloads of its open-source graph database, with proven use cases in domains like verifiable credentials, education technology, enterprise knowledge graphs and blockchain applications. In 2021, its technology was used to secure academic credentials for projects funded by the Department of Education as well as to conduct a tamper-proof blockchain-backed election for Marzex Tech.
Other companies experimenting with blockchain databases and networks include BigchainDB, ProvenDB, TerminusDB, Modex Tech and Streamr.
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