Binarii Labs: Making blockchain ‘boring’ so that it’s fit for business

20 Jun 2022

Aidan Finn, CEO and co-founder, Binarii Labs. Image: Nick Bradshaw, Fotonic

Blockchain SaaS start-up Binarii Labs has seed funding secured and is attracting attention from other investors as it sets out to establish a global presence.

Earlier this year, Binarii Labs closed a $1.6m seed round that valued the company at $6.5m. At less than a year old, the Irish blockchain start-up was already off to a flying start.

“We are thoughtful technologists who make blockchain boring, dependable and fit for business,” explained CEO Aidan Finn. And despite this downplaying, many businesses will be excited by what Binarii Labs has to offer for their digital transformation.

The start-up provides a range of services including secure end-to-end document management and assistance in migrating to distributed ledger technology (DLT) infrastructure. Its patent-pending tech is centred around transparently securing data of all types.

“This enables the ability to not only confidently secure such data in the absence of internet and in the instance of cloud storage going down, but to also enable permissioned sharing of the access to those files in milliseconds without the necessity of creating the great risk or further bandwidth or storage congestion through transferring files across the internet,” Finn explained.

“The technology works elegantly and can be tailored for very many applications across very many verticals and has been made very simple to use to support CIOs and CTOs to manage the risk that is posed by their own organisation’s personnel through human error or deliberate actions.”

The applications for Binarii Labs’ technology range from document management to know your customer and anti-money laundering necessities across financial services. The company has also developed a credentials protection application that can be used to ensure the security of passwords and encryption keys. As such, its target users are those in financial services, fund administration and legal professions.

Finn said the ultimate goal is “global market penetration” and a first agreement with a distribution partner in Singapore has already been signed.

‘We set up a new business from scratch all whilst operating virtually’

Founded in 2021, Binarii Labs’ foundations are unique to that time period. Its four co-founders are split between Ireland and the UK and had to work across this distance through lockdowns to get the company off the ground.

“[We] went through an entire due diligence, negotiation, getting to know each other and an agreement to proceed to work together in setting up a new business from scratch all whilst operating virtually,” said Finn.

The previously mentioned seed investment was also orchestrated remotely, which was a challenge for an early-stage start-up trying to establish a name for itself.

“The biggest challenge in all of that was figuring out how to generate rapport, empathy and, most importantly, trust through a series of video calls,” said Finn. “We are incredibly grateful to those investors across the globe who proceeded also to investing in us without ever having met any of us in person.”

Finn also co-founded DLT start-up QPQ and has a background in sales and business development. CTO Steven Garner is the technical founder with a background in proof-of-concept development dating back to the late ’90s, while business development lead Ciarán McNamee brings his experience in investment banking and securities financing to bear at Binarii Labs.

Finn is connected to Garner and McNamee through dParadigm Capital, which is focused on investments in Web3 and decentralised finance (DeFi) and was part of Binarii’s own seed funding round.

Serial entrepreneur Nigel Carter completes the quartet of founders with his own blend of financial services and disruptive technologies experience. Binarii Labs also counts Amrit Kumar, founder of the Zilliqa blockchain, as its chair, offering valuable guidance and assistance.

‘We are attractive to truly brilliant young people in this space’

Headquartered in Leixlip, Co Kildare, Binarii Labs also has a Dublin base at NovaUCD, having spun into the University College Dublin centre for entrepreneurship. The start-up has benefited from early support through both NovaUCD and the Local Enterprise Office in Kildare.

Though Finn has been grateful for these supports for indigenous entrepreneurship, Binarii Labs faces a challenging tech labour market in Ireland owing to the major international players enticed to grow through the State’s foreign-direct investment initiatives.

Binarii is looking to meet this challenge by offering new hires a career in frontier technology. “We are attractive to truly brilliant young people in this space who have the smarts to see through lots of vapourware or false promise that are out there around DLT solutions seeking problems that frankly make adoption of this incredibly empowering technology difficult,” said Finn.

So, while building a team of people has been an uphill struggle, Finn is happy to say that the company is developing “at a confidence-inspiring pace”.

“We incorporated in September 2021 and, with the early client deals we have signed, we are forecasting to be in profit in this calendar year both for the year and on a retained earnings basis,” he said.

But when it comes to raising further investment on the back of this early success, Finn is unsure about what the future holds. He said the team is “bullish” about its sprint to revenue and the initial seed investment is enabling them to progress on a lean basis. Yet even though it is not actively seeking investment, Binarii Labs is benefitting from DeFi’s moment in the funding spotlight.

“We are being approached now rather regularly,” said Finn, adding that he wouldn’t rule out the right deal if it came along. “We would hugely value a synergistic partner that can accelerate our ability to aggressively enter new markets,” he added.

And to enter these markets, Finn wants to partner with local leaders. “We are not arrogant enough or resourced enough to think we can do all of that heavy lifting and get it right,” he said.

“Having said that, with a foothold in Asia and South Africa and California thus far, we are certainly delighted with our established investor and global partner network, which we are honoured have agreed to work with us and give us huge confidence that we will achieve great success with the route to these new markets.”

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Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.