Serial entrepreneur Jason Goldberg has raised $3 million in a pre-seed round for his latest venture Airstack, a web3 API platform.
Goldberg has been an entrepreneur for over 20 years having played a role in seven companies including Hem, a furniture design label which was sold to a private investment company in 2016; Moxie, a fitness platform that raised $8 million in 2021 and Fab.com, a shopping platform that was once an e-commerce unicorn.
After exiting Moxie earlier this year, Goldberg jumped full-time into web3 alongside his Airstack co-founders Deepesh Nath, Sarvesh Jain, Ignas Peciura and Vysakh Nair, all of whom played founding roles in his previous startups.
Investors in Airstack’s pre-seed round include Animal Ventures, Polygon, Fenbushi and Resolute Ventures, according to a company release.
What is Airstack?
Airstack wants to make it easy for individuals to discover and consume data from across the web3 ecosystem via APIs.
“I would say that our focus for the next year is developers, developers, developers,” said Goldberg in an interview with The Block.
Developers working in web3 often have to start completely from scratch patching different pieces of infrastructure and tooling together, Goldberg said. In the next phase, he expects developers will have access to a plug-and-play model enabled by companies like Airstack.
Airstack will work by having decentralizaed applications provide data in a common format into the “Airstack engine.” The data will be parsed into a metadata format that will make it very fast for developers to query with APIs, Goldberg said.
The Airstack vision will be made possible using a hybrid of a web2 and web3 tech stack. On the web3 side, it will use subgraph and substream technology, which can be used to manage high volumes of live streams of data. On the back end, data will be stored using a cloud system like AWS.
“Our plan is over time to decentralize that as well,” Goldberg said. “It’s just the priority for us in the near term is to provide the best experience for developers, which means super-fast, super robust, and then will decentralize over time.”
Raising in the depths of the bear market
Goldberg founded Airstack in May of this year and started raising funds in the depths of the bear market.
“To be honest, no one would even answer my calls,” Goldberg said.
Polygon and Animal Ventures provided the startup with a $500,000 check, which Goldberg used to build out a proof of concept. The rest of the funds for this pre-seed round have come in the last three weeks all from inbound requests, he added.
“I think that’s going to be the really the best model for this bear market is build something, show it to people and raise versus the previous model of just hype, hype, hype,” Goldberg said.
He limited the check size per fund to $250,000.
“A number of funds were not happy about that,” Goldberg said. “They wanted to invest $500,000 or $1 million into Airstack. They can talk to us the seed round.”
Airstack is just one of several data infrastructure startups that have raised in recent weeks. Space and Time, a platform that aims to make it easy to run SQL queries on blockchain data, recently raised $20 million in a strategic round, while Nxyz recently emerged from stealth having secured $40 million to provide blockchain indexing services.
Infrastructure deals at the seed stage increased 24% in the third quarter compared to the prior quarter, according to data from The Block Research.
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