July 19, 2024
Former a16z execs launch Bastion

Two former Andreessen Horowitz crypto division executives, Nassim Eddequiouaq and Riyaz Faizullabhoy, launched web3 startup Bastion this week with $25 million in seed funding.

Eddequiouaq was chief security officer, while Faizullabhoy was chief technology officer.

Along with the funding, Bastion launched a suite of products so companies can integrate web3 infrastructure into their existing enterprise technologies. Eddequiouaq told TechCrunch via email that he and Faizullabhoy “felt uniquely positioned” to fill the gap in web3 infraustructure due to “building safe, secure, and scalable infrastructure throughout our careers at Docker, Anchorage, Facebook, and even at a16z.”

“Over the last few years, we have watched large consumer brands build innovative and exciting experiences on blockchain, delighted that they see the benefits blockchain can offer their business and their users,” Eddequiouaq added. “Unfortunately many found themselves frustrated by incomplete back-end infrastructure, inefficiencies in cost and scalability, and a lack of experienced service providers needed to effectively build the frictionless products their users are accustomed to.

These include ownership and monetization of digital goods, smart transaction routing and customer analytics, according to the company. Bastion said it “eliminates the need to individually source solutions such as custody, wallet management and user onboarding.”

Meanwhile, the funding round was led by their former employer, a16z crypto, who was joined by Autograph, Laser Digital Ventures, Not Boring Capital, Robot Ventures, Alchemy Ventures and Aptos Ventures. Eddequiouaq said that he and Faizullabhoy began fundraising in November 2022, and it took less than six months to complete the round.

The company said it intends to deploy the capital into scaling Bastion’s operations, engineering recruitment and securing additional licensing to further diversify its product offerings.

The funding comes amid a challenging crypto environment, both funding-wise and activity-wise. My colleague Jacquelyn Melinek reported in July that crypto funding was down for a fifth straight quarter to $2.34 billion globally. She reports various reasons for this, including a push for more stringent regulations.

However, all is not bad. Earlier this week, Blockchain Capital closed on two funds, totaling $580 million, to invest in decentralized and centralized finance, decentralized and centralized infrastructure, gaming and consumer/social.

And Arianna Simpson, a16z’s general partner, told Melinek during a TechCrunch Disrupt 2023 panel this week that the crypto section will be fine, saying, “What we’ve seen is that the pace of technology development and innovation is not correlated with the amount of capital that’s flowing in at a given moment.”

Eddequiouaq, of course, is optimistic, saying he and Faizullabhoy are “firm believers in our technology and our product, so there was no reason to let market conditions dictate our go-to-market timing. While speculation around traditional crypto markets has retracted into a bear market, continued adoption among mainstream consumer brands, and public interest among large enterprise organizations has never been higher. We view this as a signal that blockchain technology is here to stay and that the industry has matured to a point where crypto market activity can be separated from advancements in technology and demand for better services.”

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