The New York-based startup Olympix announced on Tuesday the close of a $4.3 million seed round, led by Boldstart Ventures, with backers including Robot Ventures, Shrug Capital, Blockdaemon’s Konstantin Richter, and Gauntlet Networks’ Tarun Chitra.
Founded by Channi Greenwall, Olympix is a cybersecurity software company focused on the crypto industry, with its first product allowing developers to identify vulnerabilities in their code. In an interview with Fortune, Greenwall likened the current state of crypto security to Web2 10 years ago, when many companies didn’t have a chief security officer and spent in the low tens of billions of dollars annually, compared with over $200 billion in 2023.
“Innovation always precedes security,” Greenwall said. “Security does not matter until it does.”
2022 proved to be another difficult year in the crypto ecosystem, with $3.7 billion stolen through DeFi hacks and exploits, according to a new report from the blockchain analytics company TRM Labs. As Greenwall explained, crypto has a larger attack surface than other types of online services due to its transparent nature, as well as the immutable nature of blockchain, meaning it is more time and cost-intensive to update software. Hackers can easily see the “total volume locked” in different projects and find vulnerabilities in their publicly available code.
Many crypto firms rely on audits from third-party firms such as Halborn and CertiK, which can be costly and slow. Greenwall said the goal of Olympix is to shift more responsibility to developers by providing them with software that can identify possible vulnerabilities for exploits in their code.
“When we’re looking at the enterprise-level crypto companies,” Greenwall said, “security is their responsibility. You can’t just have a CTO—you need to have some type of internal security team.”
Olympix is currently in a private alpha testing phase for its static analyzer, which leverages a proprietary large language model, or LLM, to identify vulnerabilities, and is being used by 30 companies. Olympix has six team members and plans to use its seed funding to expand its security offerings beyond the static analyzer, including growing its LLM. They hope to be able to use A.I. for anomaly detection.
Tarun Chitra, an Olympix investor and founder of the crypto firm Gauntlet Networks, said that Greenwall was one of the first people he met using natural language processing to find software bugs.
“The compelling thing about Channi’s vision of the world is she had this before things started actually blowing up with language models last year,” he told Fortune. “She had this insight because she worked in security and had spent a lot of time thinking through some of the automation problems that one has.
Eliot Durbin, general partner at Boldstart, said his firm decided to invest in Olympix because of Greenwall’s background at Security Scorecard, a Web2 cybersecurity company, and the lack of comparable solutions on the market. In his mind, improving cybersecurity capabilities for crypto—and reducing hacks—will make blockchain more attractive for mainstream applications.
“She’s allowing smart contract developers to write better code faster, and if we can do that, we can grow the whole pie,” he said.