Editor's Note: The original title was "Has already landed in the financial industry, and the blockchain and artificial intelligence company" Light Tree Technology "has received tens of millions of RMB in Series A financing. The investor is Danger Peak Cowin."
36 氪 was informed that recently, the blockchain and artificial intelligence company Guangzhishu Technology announced that it has completed the tens of millions of RMB A round of financing, and the investor is Yanfeng Qiyun. Previously, the Tree of Light had received 10 million-level angel round investments from Xinyuan Capital, Ceyuan Venture Capital, and Chaosheng Capital in 2017. After that, in May 2018, he obtained a tens of millions of strategic investment from Zhongxin Credit and reached strategic cooperation.
Established in 2017, Light Tree Technology is a blockchain plus artificial intelligence company. The company's self-developed blockchain-based trusted data collaboration framework can help governments, financial and Internet companies without exposing raw data. For credible joint learning and joint computing.
Based on trusted computing, the data is "available and unseen"
With the continuous development of the digital economy, data has become a new asset for enterprises, and mining of the business value of data is becoming more and more common. However, at the same time, data privacy and data security issues are gradually exposed and are also reflected at the regulatory level.
How to enable enterprises to safely and confidently invigorate their data assets so as to create value is a problem that the Light Tree hopes to solve. Zhang Zhichen, CEO of Light Tree Technology, told 36 氪 that there has been a dilemma in data use for a long time-ownership and use rights cannot be separated. In the process of data sharing and model training with other companies, it is difficult to guarantee that the original data will not be leaked. And was used twice.
In order to reduce the risk, the data sharing and model training between the two partners were often performed in a specific offline environment under the supervision of the personnel of the two parties, and the efficiency was long and the cycle was low. In general, the high risk of data breaches and the low efficiency of data sharing have limited the imagination and feasibility of many companies' data-based businesses on the one hand, and on the other hand have led to the possibility of data underproduction in the market. Authorized data was thus leaked.
Based on the Trusted Execution Environment (TEE: Trusted Execution Environment) and other encryption technology in the chip, the Trusted Computing Framework introduced by Light Tree Technology can create data from shared In the execution environment of the letter, the right of use and ownership of data are separated, so that the data is invisible, ensuring data privacy, security and compliance. At the same time, the relevant records of data sharing are recorded and traced by the blockchain.
According to Zhang Jiachen, the pure technology development of Tianji Trusted Computing Framework took about one year, and then iteratively continued in the actual deployment process. So far, the framework can be compatible with a variety of algorithms, does not require secondary development, and supports high-dimensional models. It has been commercialized, and the initial software level deployment can be completed in 2-3 weeks.
In December 2019, Light Tree Technology was selected into the secure computing industry standard development working group based on a trusted execution environment and will participate in the development of basic concepts, technical frameworks, processes and functions of secure computing systems. Previously, Lighttree Technology had been awarded the Davos World Economic Forum "Global Technology Pioneer Award", which had previously been awarded to startups such as Google, Wikipedia, Palantir, and Ripple.
More than ten customers have already landed in the financial industry
After the preliminary development of the Tianji framework was completed in 2018, the financial sector was selected as the first landing industry. Zhang Jiachen believes that there are several reasons:
Financial industry's data structure, informatization level, and high information sensitivity
The secure aggregation of data can generate great value in the financial field. Whether it is horizontal, different industry organizations jointly use a system to improve the efficiency of models, especially some risk control models. Still at the vertical level, financial institutions can work with ecological partners to develop new business lines. The scene space opened by these two is very large.
The financial industry has a higher budget and willingness to pay for IT investments.
According to reports, there are currently more than ten customers of Lighttree, mainly financial and government customers. In the financial field, Lighttree has helped many large financial institutions to establish data collaboration alliances, integrate data open systems such as taxation, medical care, logistics, and data resources of data application subjects such as banks and insurance companies to implement data authorization. , Publishing, and sharing are fully online, related behaviors can be traced and audited, and data and model resources are protected by encryption algorithms and secure computing environments throughout the process.
Regarding the cooperation with the government, Zhang Jiachen mentioned that since the data side is undergoing a supply-side reform since 2020, many local governments are gradually launching data open platforms to open up some data assets in the hands of the government. In the process of opening, we also need to prevent the risk of information leakage. The use of trusted computing can help governments securely open data assets, and these assets may include a lot of data related to business operations, and they can also be well linked with the financial industry, which is also one of the trends.
In addition to finance and government, Zhang Jiachen believes that secure computing is a general technology and has potential application directions in areas such as advertising and medical joint research.
Lighttree Technology's business model is mainly divided into two parts. One is to provide technology platforms and solutions. Specific profit points include software, hardware, and modeling services. The other is to cooperate with financial institutions to jointly operate projects and obtain sustainability. Revenue.
Competition is far from the Red Sea, independent technology companies have advantages
"Trusted computing is an opportunity suitable for startups," Zhang Jiachen said. "This involves changes in rules, just like 2G to 3G, 3G to 4G. Changes in rules will bring opportunities to startups. And trusted computing What has changed is the rules of model training itself and the attributes of data as assets. Model training no longer has to be like before, worrying about data being used for unauthorized secondary use after sharing. "
According to her judgment, the overall development of the trusted computing field is at an early stage, and competition is far from the Red Sea. In addition to Light Tree Technology, Ant Financial, Ping An Technology, Baidu and other companies are also working in this field.
Compared with these companies, Zhang Jiachen believes that the advantages of independent technology companies are, first of all, that there is no core business competition with financial institutions. Ping An Technology and Ant Financial are themselves engaged in financial business, and other financial customers may be jealous of this when referring to technology vendors. Second, trusted computing has higher requirements for full-stack talents, and large companies may have thinner technology talents. Minute.
Later, with the greater emphasis on data privacy at the national regulatory level and the increasing importance of data assets, the competition for trusted computing may usher in a more intense situation. On the one hand, the business value of the industry itself will continue to show in the process. For customers, the investment in trusted computing is a business closed loop. In this way, their data assets are activated, and a returnable business line is launched. The business benefits generated will continue to promote the development of the industry. On the other hand, the upstream and downstream industries may also play an indirect role. For example, in cloud computing, many companies worry about privacy when it comes to data. For business interests, cloud vendors and chip vendors may incorporate trusted computing into their ecosystems to promote its development.
Facing this kind of future competition, Zhang Jiachen believes that after the trusted computing technology gradually matures, the key factors for competition among manufacturers will be customer benchmarking cases, product availability, technology accumulation, and deployment experience.
Team and development planning
In terms of team, Light Tree Technology currently has about 30 people, more than half of which are products and research and development, and the rest are solutions and sales staff. The founder, Zhang Jiachen, graduated from Harvard Business School and Kennedy School of Government, and was the chief operating officer of the Ninebot robotics business of Xiaomi's ecological chain enterprise and a senior product manager at Amazon. The core members graduated from Carnegie Mellon University, Tsinghua University and Peking University and other top universities at home and abroad. They have worked for Microsoft, Google, Amazon, CITIC Bank, China Merchants Bank and other world-renowned technology companies and financial institutions. They have development and business Experience in cutting-edge technology.
After this round of financing, Lighttree will further optimize the product, improve product performance and integrity, and promote its adaptation to the business lines of different financial institutions. At the same time, the pre-sales and sales teams will be further expanded for commercial expansion.