Institutional staking, car network, and Move VM funding deals

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Crypto-based startups kicked off 2024 disclosing new funding rounds across a range of sectors, despite liquidity constraints as private investments are burdened by high-interest rates.

January’s highlights include smart contract platform Axiom securing $20 million for a zero-knowledge approach to authenticating data on-chain, Portal’s $34 million seed funding for Bitcoin atomic swaps, and crypto exchange HashKey hitting the unicorn status after raising nearly $100 million in a Series A funding round.

Ecosystems are also playing a role in supporting early-stage ventures. The Solana Foundation, for instance, picked Colosseum to manage its accelerator program, which seeds startups with a $250,000 investment. Digital asset market maker Keyrock also announced $10 million in token capital into the Radix public ledger to support the ecosystem growth.

The latest edition of Cointelegraph’s VC Roundup features some of the startups that raised capital in January.

Staking platform Kiln raises $17 million for APAC expansion

Ethereum Staking platform Kiln closed a $17 million funding round to back the opening of its Singapore headquarters and support product development, according to an announcement on Jan. 18. The round was led by the early-stage investment firm 1kx, with participation from IOSG, Crypto.com, Wintermute Ventures, KXVC, LBank and contributions from existing investors. Kiln offers an enterprise-grade staking platform that rewards institutions for securing the Ethereum blockchain, alongside a white-label feature that allows organizations to offer staking services. The company claims to have increased its stake under management by over fivefold in the last year through integrations with multiple operators, such as Ledger Live, Crypto.com and Coinbase. Kiln also raised $17 million in Series A funding in 2023, bringing its total capital raised since its creation in 2018 to nearly $35 million.

Digital Infrastructure Inc secures $11.5 million for car network

Digital Infrastructure Inc. — the publisher of DIMO Mobile and core developer of the DIMO network — announced an $11.5 million Series A funding led by CoinFund and supported by Slow Ventures, Consensys Mesh, Borderless Capital, TABLE Management, former General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner, and other existing investors. DIMO is a connected vehicle network for users. The moment a vehicle is added to the network, a digital twin is created, which can be used with any app or service. According to the company, users can connect and earn rewards for their car data, as well as find better prices with maintenance, fuel, insurance, and fleet service providers based on the car’s real-time information. Its DIMO network grew by 900% in 2023, from 3,000 to 33,000 cars on-chain.

Lightspeed Venture, Pantera join Pontem’s $6 million round for Move VM platform

Development studio Pontem closed a $6 million round in January to support the development of Move Virtual Machine (VM) products on EVM-compatible blockchains. Investors backing the startup include Lightspeed Faction and Lightspeed Venture Partners, alongside Kraken Ventures, Pantera Capital, and Wintermute. Pontem initiated the development of Move-based products in 2019, following the debut of the programming language with Meta’s Libra Blockchain (later renamed Diem). The Pontem team received its first round of funding in 2021 to develop a permissionless version of the Libra Blockchain integrating the Move VM. With the evolution of the Diem project into Aptos and Sui, Pontem decided to build infrastructure for the Move ecosystem on the Aptos network. In June 2021, Pontem raised $4.5 million via a private token sale led by Mechanism Capital and Kenetic Capital, in collaboration with Delphi Ventures and Animoca Brands. The latest round brings the total funds raised to $10.5 million, said the startup.

p0 launches with $6.5 million funding to address software failures using Generative AI

The p0 platform raised $6.5 million for its debut, backed by Lightspeed Venture Partners with participation from Alchemy Venture. The new startup offers large language models (LLMs) to identify safety and security issues in software, helping developers to enhance security. According to the company, its platform can handle software issues, such as data integrity issues and validation failures, alongside speed and timeout issues through Git code repositories. Behind the startup are Prakash Sanker and Kunal Agarwal, Stanford and Harvard graduates, respectively, as listed on LinkedIn.

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