Helius raises $12.8 million CAD to help devs build blockchain apps on Solana

The Web3 startup was founded by former Coinbase and AWS software engineers.

Toronto-based Helius, which has built a developer platform for crypto applications, has raised $12.8 million CAD ($9.5 million USD) in Series A financing.

The round was led by Foundation Capital, with participation from returning investors Reciprocal Ventures and Chapter One, and new investors 6th Man Ventures, Propel, and a number of  Solana ecosystem founders. This latest round brings Helius’ to just shy of $13 million USD.

“We need to make it as simple as possible for developers to build apps that are cheap, fast, and scalable.”

Launched during the 2022 cryptocurrency bear market, Helius is the brainchild of CEO Mert Mumtaz, a former Coinbase software engineer, as well as CTO Liam Vovk and COO Nicolas Pennie, both former Amazon Web Services software engineers. The startup offers a set of tools allowing developers to efficiently create blockchain applications on Solana, a Web3 infrastructure platform.

“The biggest criticism of crypto to date has been the lack of useful applications that benefit everyday people,” Mumtaz said in a statement. “Most of the focus has been on speculation instead of tangible things producing real value. To change this, we need to make it as simple as possible for developers to build apps that are cheap, fast, and scalable.”

The startup’s offering includes APIs; RPC nodes, which facilitate communication between applications and the blockchain; Webhooks, which provide other applications with real-time information; and developer tools all aimed at enabling the creation of high-performance, high-reliability blockchain applications.

The funding comes amid renewed investor interest in the Web3 space, following a collapse of crypto stocks in 2022 and the implosion of FTX. According to a recent report from KPMG, crypto and blockchain startups saw the most deal volume of any other subsectors of FinTech in 2023.

RELATED: Round13 Digital Asset Fund claims over 40 percent gains despite tough crypto market

The uptick in investment activity has been buoyed by Bitcoin and Ethereum rallying in 2023, as well as the United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s approval of Bitcoin ETFs last month.

In the last six months, a number of Web3 startups in Canada have closed financing rounds, including Toronto-based Hivello, Uniblock, and Ted Livingston-founded Code. Just this week, Round13 Capital, which manages a Digital Asset Fund, announced it had posted gains of more than 40 percent despite the recent downturn. 

“Mert, Liam, and Nick have proven to be some of the foremost thought leaders and technical developers within the entire blockchain ecosystem, and we’re incredibly excited to double down on the Helius team as they continue to drive and expand application development on Solana,” Craig Burel, partner at Reciprocal Ventures, said in a statement.

Helius plans to put the new capital towards improving its tech stack and making new hires, including low-level systems and backend engineers.

Feature image courtesy Helius.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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