Blockchain innovation is on the rise and this space has never been this exciting. Functionaland is a Toronto based startup that has recently built a breakthrough product called Box. This is a first free-forever cloud storage. Functionland is aiming to replace the cloud storage and service subscription economy by introducing a whole new category of products in this space. They recently had a successful campaign on Indiegogo and debuted their prototype at DeFi Toronto Meetup. We caught up with the cofounders to learn more about their journey.
Describe what you do in 140 characters or less.
We are building the Fula network and commercializing Blockchain-Attached Storage (BAS) through Box, our flagship hardware. Box is a plug-and-play cloud storage alternative that frees users from reliance on subscription cloud services. It lets people share and collaborate exactly as they do in the cloud, while providing private cloud storage and free, open-source apps.
No tracking. No subscription fees. No kidding!
What was the inspiration behind building the first Blockchain-Attached Storage solution?
We are passionate about the monetization of open-source software development. We realized that by providing people with hardware nodes at home and decentralizing data storage, we can make it possible to monetize open-source software development. Once we have a global community of financially compensated open-source devs working all over the world, then a thriving web3 dApp ecosystem with applications that can boast UI/UX equal or superior to web2 becomes a foregone conclusion. The only way non-crypto and defi users will embrace web3 is through high quality applications – especially those that are free and include social sharing (or metaverse exploration)! So to ramp up web3 onboarding we need well paid open-source developers, and the Fula network takes care of that. At the same time, Box offers its owners free-forever, secure, private photo and data storage and apps!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome?
I think it’s been travel restrictions and visa issues. Those have prevented founders from traveling to key events and seeing each other in person. It’s made company development tricky.. At first we weren’t sure how to engage Canadian VC’s, focusing instead on European and Asian investors. But now we’re delighted that we’ve attracted Canadian backers, including great support from Joshua Field and Mike Grantis at Contango Digital Assets (Cryptoweekly)! Setting up this company has been a great challenge and a lot of fun, precisely because we believe deeply in what we’re doing. Now we want to make sure our transition path to a DAO has the best possible footing.
If you had to go back in time, what would you do differently for your startup?
Honestly? Nothing. We got tremendous support from Outlier Ventures and Techstars Filecoin ’22. We’ve also been blessed with a wonderful team, community and backers. ETH Toronto anyone?
What drives you to keep going when it gets really tough?
Knowing our solution will improve the financial lives of developers and their families all over the world. We believe that we’re helping build a better internet, a more egalitarian web3 that will reduce Big Tech tyranny for future generations and limit the destructive power of overzealous governments. We know it might sound naive, but we’re not embarrassed to admit we have noble aspirations. It’s the goal that motivates our work every day.
What has been your greatest lesson learned?
- To actively listen, especially to each other, as teammates
- Cognitive diversity on a team makes all the difference
- A lot of startup advice and best practices from Web2 are not applicable to Web3 projects (e.g. privacy by design will interfere with most SAAS revenue and customer acquisition models, bootstrapping from revenue is not an option prior to mainnet).
But don’t discount web2 startup advice entirely, especially in some aspects of Go-To-Market!
- Be experimental in your community building. Iterate frequently and go global from Day 1.
What has been your proudest moment since starting this journey?
There have been a few! Closing our oversubscribed seed round was very exhilarating. So was achieving half a million USD in pre sales revenue via our crowdfunding event. But the best moments are always when we get to tell the team that we’ve brought a fellow Functionland community member (Functionlander / Functional Elephant) onto our payroll as a full-time contributor. Our 25+ zoom boxes go gangbusters!
Fx.land – https://fx.land/
Indiegogo campaign link – https://igg.me/at/functionland/x/29179615#/
Github – https://github.com/functionland/
Discord – https://discord.gg/UZ7dsENxX5?event=970666894531104789
Telegram – https://t.me/functionlanders