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March 25, 2021 12:26 pm

Israeli Blockchain Startup StarkWare Raises $75 Million Series B

avatar by Meir Orbach / CTech

Employees of the D-ID startup company work at the company’s office in Tel Aviv, Israel, Feb. 7, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Amir Cohen.

CTech – Israeli startup StarkWare, which develops solutions for blockchain technology, has announced that it has raised a $75 million series B round led by crypto VC Paradigm and with the participation of existing investors Sequoia, Founders Fund, Pantera, Wing.VC, DCVC, and new investors Three Arrows and Alameda Research.

Co-founder and CEO Uri Kolodny told Calcalist that StarkWare aims to solve the inherent problems of permissionless blockchain, namely scalability and privacy, through the company’s core technology, called STARK.

“Our technology can multiply blockchain scalability by 1,000 times. Thanks to our technology, we are becoming the engine behind many of the transactions taking place on blockchains and the main engine behind NFTs,” explained Kolodny. “It usually takes a long time to go from basic research to a product that is sold on the market. We did that in three years and that is a testament to the quality of our team.”

StarkWare was founded in 2017 by Kolodny (CEO), Eli Ben-Sasson (President), Michael Riabzev (Chief Architect), and Alessandro Chiesa (Chief Scientist), aiming to use zero-knowledge proof to solve the inherent problems of blockchains. It raised a $30 million round A in October of 2018, led by Paradigm, a fund set up by cryptocurrency investors Matt Huang, formerly a partner at Sequoia Capital, and Fred Ehrsam, co-founder of Coinbase. Coinbase, Sequoia Capital, and Intel Capital also participated in the round, which brought StarkWare’s capital funding to $36 million. Another notable investor in the company is Vitalik Buterin, one of the co-founders of Ethereum.

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StarkWare, which is based out of Netanya and currently employs over 40 people, mostly engineers, is aiming to drastically expand the number of applications that use STARK technology in the coming year, as well as diversify them.

StarkWare recently announced the launch of StarkEx 2.0, the first system in production to be programmed in Cairo, the company’s new Turing-complete, programming language for generating STARK proofs.

“This round will allow us to continue and recruit quality employees, in particular developers and product experts,” said Kolodny. “We are happy to meet more and more people who are discovering the wonderful world of blockchain which presents fascinating challenges in software, algorithmics, economy, and ultimately for us also in hardware.

“It is a wonderful experience to see how within a few years of research and thanks to algorithmic, software engineering and product development by the brightest minds, new and wonderful worlds like NFTs can be created.”

“Just last week, Professor Avi Wigderson was awarded the prestigious Abel Prize. Wigderson is a scientific advisor to StarkWare and guided me when I did my PhD at the Hebrew University in the 1990s,” added Eli Ben-Sasson. “He received the Abel Prize, among other things, for showing in the 1980s that zero-knowledge proofs can be created for any computer program. For me and for StarkWare we have come full circle, with one of the giants who developed this theory several decades ago now helping it to become a useful and accessible technology for developers.”

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