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How 3 SMU Undergrads Raised S$6.3 Million for a Crypto Startup

Cointime Official

By Chelsea Ong

Cryoto startup SolanaFM, founded by three Singapore Management University undergraduates, namely Nicholas Chen, Chin Bing Huang and Fathur Rahman, did just that.

The idea for the company came about when the trio participated in a hackathon. They started out wanting to create a lending application for Solana, but soon decided to shift to a data-centric product as they realised that their expertise was in data and technology, and not in finance.

SolanaFM raised S$100,000 last year in a round led by Etherscan and Coinhako, and another S$6.3 million in July this year in a seed funding round spearheaded by SBI Group's Digital Asset Opportunity Fund.

The startup, established in March last year, offers analytical services for the Solana blockchain system, acting as a search engine for data within the network, including real-time and historical transactions.

Chen, co-founder and chief executive officer, said he did not expect the company to grow so quickly. The 24-year-old invested S$100,000 of his crypto earnings from 2014 to 2021 to start SolanaFM. The startup now has about 30 employees.

"We aim to be like the Google of tomorrow and make the entire experience of browsing through the crypto space much easier, especially for the older generation," Chen said.

He added most users within the Web 3.0 or cryptocurrency space are people in their 20s or 30s, which does not make it very welcoming for other age groups.

The founders used the funds raised to hire more employees and upscale the business after raising funds despite being "very close" to making a profit about a month or so ago.

The goal is to break even within the next two years, Chen said.

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