Blockchain ecosystem Topl has raised $15 million in a Series A funding round to help companies track and monetize social impact initiatives, the firm exclusively told TechCrunch.
The raise was co-led by Mercury, Republic Asia and Cryptology Asset Group. The company raised $5 million in a 2020 seed round, Chris Georgen, founder at Topl, shared with TechCrunch.
Its blockchain has been used by a range of entities looking to track products from conflict-free diamonds to ethically sourced coffee and fair-wage cocoa.
“There are new markets, markets with not a lot of trust and markets that have hugely diverse actors,” Georgen said.
“So if I’m dealing with coffee supply chains, I have individual small farmers and companies as large as Cargill. Or in the carbon credit space, there’s big and small projects; companies and individuals trying to offset and they’re very diverse and nobody really knows what to do with each other,” Georgen noted. “There are new very untrustworthy markets and that’s where we think the blockchain is suited to come into. We think blockchain technology should be applied to new markets.”
Georgen said that over the next 12 months, the fresh capital will go toward three major aspects on Topl’s roadmap, in addition to hiring new talent.
The first is decentralizing its blockchain so that there’s community governance. The next two elements will consist of launching new blockchain-powered products: a traceability-as-a-service application, which will launch next month, and registry-as-a-service application for carbon credits, among other things, which will launch next year.
The company works with customers who utilize blockchain technology for things ranging from sustainability-focused startups launching carbon credits to move-to-earn applications where you can earn carbon credits by biking instead of driving a car to work, Georgen said. “We also have some Fortune 500 companies that are moving internal ESG reporting systems on the Topl blockchain so investors and the board can see how they achieve ESG milestones.”
“I think we’re still in the early days of blockchain adoption,” Georgen said. “As tech matures, the sign we’re looking for with blockchain adoption when it’s more silent and where things are powered by blockchain technology without it being front and center.”
By the end of the year, Topl expects to have about 40 to 50 projects on-chain.
“Through all these downturns, we still see adoption, building and enterprise projects continue and sometimes increase during these periods,” Georgen said. “From an adoption perspective, we saw no downturn in that...We don’t have bull markets and bear markets; we have bull markets and build markets.”