Fluree Closes $4.7M Seed Funding Round to Ditch the Database

  • Led by 4490 Ventures with participation from Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund; the largest tech infrastructure seed funding ever in North Carolina
  • Fluree’s data-first technology stack helps companies gain a competitive advantage and save cost while competing in the data-centric economy; an ideal fit for centralized and decentralized applications, artificial intelligence (AI) and microservice architectures
  • Fluree advances data integrity and security with blockchain cryptography, makes data readily shareable without costly API development and increases data leverage through semantic graph interfaces

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.--()--Fluree, a North Carolina-headquartered startup that provides a data-first technology stack, today announced a $4.73 million seed funding round led by 4490 Ventures, with additional participation from Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund.

Established in 2016, Fluree PBC (Fluree) is a Public Benefit Corporation co-founded by veteran IT entrepreneurs Brian Platz and Flip Filipowski. Seed funding capital will accelerate adoption of the existing product through market awareness, and increase R&D ahead of its 2019 open source release.

A Data-First Approach Leveraging Blockchain

“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. “We need to move beyond the application-centric mindset that has given rise to data silos and API bloat while increasing costs and obstacles to adopting new tech-like AI. A data-centric approach simultaneously saves money, promotes secure enterprise collaboration and provides additional leverage for information across systems.”

Fluree’s diverse customer base reflects its versatility; it can be leveraged as a better enterprise database, but its unique benefits particularly serve as a boon to emerging architectures and services that rely heavily on high-quality, trusted and shared data. These areas include AI, machine learning (ML), microservices, consortium blockchain networks and the semantic web. With an established global user base of Fortune 500 companies, government agencies and technology startups, this financing round confirms the company’s value proposition in the future of enterprise data management.

“Today’s data needs to be leveraged and transacted by participants both inside and outside the enterprise,” said Flip Filipowski, co-CEO and co-founder of Fluree. “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. Decentralized data ownership like this has never before been possible, and we are excited to witness an entirely new class of applications that emerge from no longer having to blindly trust other parties with critical data.”

VC Comments on Fluree Seed Funding Round

“Fluree is set to revolutionize the way we manage and share data,” said Dan Malven, managing director at 4490 Ventures. “The world is evolving from static apps to platforms to ecosystems, and technology tools have not kept pace. Innovators have to force fit data management tools originally designed to build static apps, slowing down the evolution to data-driven ecosystems. Fluree has in place the mission, technology and road map necessary to serve a wide variety of industries as they transform through the next evolution of data management to a much more interconnected world.”

“We are excited to back this team of seasoned technologists and startup execs who are making a bold bet on the future of data architecture,” said Anna Mason, partner at Rise of the Rest Seed Fund. “With Fluree, they are continuing to put Winston-Salem on the map as a startup hub of the future.”

Built from Inception to Empower the Developer Community

Developers can download a free version of Fluree, or sign up for a hosted on-demand version that starts free and scales in pricing alongside usage. Fluree also offers a licensed version for production deployments.

Fluree’s data management approach focuses on immutability, data integrity and joining disparate data sets dynamically through its semantic graph technology. It allows developers to quickly create more powerful and secure applications while solving challenging data management problems like ‘race’ conditions, reproducible data state and scalability. Fluree enables Time Travel — traversing time both forwards and backwards, Fluree allows both instant historical queries and native functionality for future-state queries.

With Fluree, data can ‘defend itself,’ allowing direct data connections to external parties where data dynamically enforces permissions using Fluree SmartFunctions™. Instead of building expensive APIs, developers can safely expose rich, permissioned query interfaces directly to the data source including GraphQL, SPARQL and Fluree’s JSON-based FlureeQL.

The Fluree data management stack is comprised of the following elements:

  • Fluree Ledger Server — handles all updates in a blockchain-backed ledger of W3C RDF data and optionally participates in a decentralized data network. It ensures all data is properly secured and maintains integrity through the dynamic execution of Fluree SmartFunctions™
  • Fluree Edge Server — optionally placed anywhere in the world and linearly scalable, Edge Servers receive data updates from the Ledger Servers and provides fully automated in-memory edge caching and proxy services
  • Fluree Library — Optional full in-memory, time-traveling semantic graph database that can be embedded in code with JavaScript currently supported along with a ReactJS wrapper and other languages forthcoming. Creates automatic real-time apps, less network overhead, faster query responses and the ability to allow users to ‘rewind’ any application instantly

About Rise of the Rest

Rise of the Rest is a nationwide effort, powered by DC-based investment firm Revolution, to invest in and work closely with entrepreneurs in emerging startup ecosystems. Since 2014, Steve Case and the Revolution team have logged more than 10,000 miles touring entrepreneurial communities by bus in 38 cities. In 2017, Case and JD Vance announced a $150 million Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, backed by a group of iconic entrepreneurs, executives and investors that believe the next great startup investments are located outside of coastal cities. Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund invests catalytic capital, often alongside regional investors, to the most promising early stage investments in Rise of the Rest cities. For more information, please visit: www.revolution.com/rotr or follow them on Twitter @RiseOfRest.

About 4490 Ventures

4490 Ventures is an early-stage venture capital fund focused on investing in Connected Software – software that is connected to proprietary assets such as data, analytics and hardware. 4490 invests primarily outside of Silicon Valley where they believe an increasing number of great companies will be built. The investment team is comprised of a group of experienced operators and investors with deep domain expertise in Connected Software. For more information, visit 4490ventures.com, or follow 4490 on LinkedIn.

About Fluree, PBC

Founded in 2016 by Brian Platz and Flip Filipowski, Fluree PBC is headquartered in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Fluree is pioneering a data-first technology approach with its data management platform. Fluree is a Public Benefit Corporation (B-Corp) that dedicates employee time, company resources and chartered effort towards empowering people whose jobs are replaced by technology, or those that wish to make a career adjustment via training and assistance. For more information, follow Fluree on Twitter or LinkedIn, or visit flur.ee.


Ethan Parker