Sector: Blockchain / Digital Assets / Cryptocurrency

What they do

  • Bluzelle is a decentralized service provider that allows users to create on-demand, scalable databases for blockchain applications. It combines decentralized technologies with edge computing so businesses never suffer from data breaches, network failures and performance issues. Bluzelle serves both SMEs and global institutions in blockchain, serverless apps and gaming and media industries
  • Launched in 2014 in Vancouver, the cofounders relocated to Singapore in 2016 after determining there would be more demand for its blockchain offering in Asia


Situation / Overview

  • Bluzelle launched when blockchain technology was in its infancy and saw an opportunity to build a decentralized database network for enterprises
  • The concept involved people renting out their computer storage space to earn tokens while dApp (decentralized app) developers paid with tokens to have their data stored
  • This involved Bluzelle creating its own cryptocurrency and raising funds through an ICO (initial coin offering)
  • Amount of funding raised to date: $22.3M USD (as of March 2020, according to Crunchbase)


The Challenge

  • As blockchain was reaching its hype in North America, the market was fragmented compared to Asia, where there was a higher concentration of financial services institutions in one place
  • Governments in Asia were more supportive of blockchain technologies at the time, such as the Monetary Authority of Singapore partnering with R3, a blockchain development company in 2016
  • The Canadian market was also getting saturated, with 2016-2017 having the highest growth rate in the number of firms established


The Solution 

  • In this case, the cofounders determined the best way to pursue international growth was to physically relocate to a country, bringing them closer to their target market. They still maintained certain operations in Vancouver to leverage its proximity to North American blockchain markets
  • After relocating to Singapore, Bluzelle joined a number of blockchain accelerators in Asia including one launched by, China’s largest retailer  
  • In August 2017, the company raised $1.5M USD in a Series A funding
  • In January 2018, Bluzelle closed an ICO with $19.5M USD in funding from the sale of 165 million tokens


Key Takeaways and Interesting Points:

  • Sometimes it makes sense to relocate instead of or ahead of opening a regional office
  • Having a physical presence in your export target market allows for greater participation in the local fintech ecosystem, such as accelerators and regulatory sandboxes
  • During their first trip to Hong Kong, Bluzelle only had a couple of meetings scheduled ahead of time and was getting worried. Their investor encouraged them to still go and stated: “Just go. This is Asia–things will always come up last-minute, and you will be busy. If you don’t get another three meetings while you’re there, I’ll reimburse all your costs.” He was right, as they’ve since realized that locals will often be especially accommodating if you’ve made the trip over. – Pavel Bains, CEO of Bluzelle