Welcome to Snowflake’s Startup Spotlight, where we learn about awesome companies building businesses with Snowflake. In this Q&A we’ll hear from Dave Balter, CEO and Founder of Flipside, a blockchain analytics company. Read on to find out how Flipside is helping companies succeed in Web3 through use of data.
What inspires you as a founder?
Generally, I’m driven by creating something out of nothing. The “never been done before” and “that isn’t possible” tend to be inspirational moments, and the ability to empower a team to execute and deliver on that inspiration is what it’s all about.
Why does Flipside exist? What problem does it solve?
Flipside exists to make Web3 easy to master. But we don’t just provide data; we’re on call to enable ecosystem success, whether you’re a company looking to integrate generalized crypto data or a Web3-native protocol, DAO, or blockchain aiming to build ahead of industry trends.
Unlike other data providers, Flipside builds Web3 success from the ground up.
In the ecosystems we cover, we:
- Standardize data curation to make cross-chain data usable.
- Maintain validators and provide governance support.
- Activate analysts for directed insights and on-demand analytics.
- Craft client marketing campaigns.
- Deploy user acquisition and retention strategies.
- Build tools for organizations and analysts, like our SDK, API, Badger, and more.
- Offer real-time support with dedicated protocol advocacy, governance, and analysis teams.
With our real-time blockchain data availability, all analysts and builders in the system can gain access to data that allows them and their businesses to thrive.
What sets Flipside apart from others in your market?
Most data providers do just that—provide data. But it’s not enough to drop some chain data in your lap and say, “Good luck!”
At Flipside, we go further by building holistic mechanisms for success built atop data. We gather, maintain, and analyze the most comprehensive, cross-chain Web3 data to pinpoint the fundamental workings of the industry and its users.
We help companies and blockchains answer the question “What is a user?” in a rapidly developing, cross-chain environment, then build tools and analyses to help clients understand and grow their user base.
Another standout feature is our cross-chain data. On an individual basis, blockchain data is often open source and somewhat accessible through various chain explorers. But inconsistent methods and constant innovation mean that comparing data across blockchains is less effective than comparing apples to zebras. With our data standardization, it’s never been simpler to understand and activate Web3 at scale.
What is the coolest thing Flipside is doing with data?
A lot of users ask us what the latency is on our real-time data. By definition, when any latency is involved, one’s data isn’t truly real time. The way to be the most real-time possible with blockchain data is to actually query a blockchain node’s database directly.
We’ve developed a way to query a node’s database with SQL and combine it with existing data using Snowflake. This opens the door for some really exciting use cases that combine real-time data with Flipside’s labels and other dimension-based tables.
Keep an eye out for these features in the coming months.
Tell us about your Snowflake journey.
Prior to Snowflake, Flipside was running a legacy cloud data warehouse. While it was fantastic early in our business, we found that as we grew, we were spending a significant portion of our time tuning the data warehouse instead of building solutions for our community of analysts.
We arrived at a fork in the road. We asked ourselves, What technology is going to allow us to spend more time solving problems for our users instead of spending time managing our warehouse infrastructure?
We evaluated a wide array of solutions, from AWS to Spark to Snowflake. While Spark-based solutions looked promising, they still required a significant time investment that we felt would be better allocated to serving our users’ needs. Ultimately, we identified Snowflake’s managed offering as the obvious solution that would allow us to ship updates quickly to customers while not sacrificing performance.
Our team of analysts now ships new curated views of blockchain data every week, our platform serves millions of query executions each month, and we have reduced our query run times by many orders of magnitude—all while scaling month over month.
How has Snowflake enabled you to push the envelope in your market?
First, the managed nature of Snowflake allows us to focus on the user in ways we couldn’t before.
Second, features like user-defined functions enable us to call systems external to our database. This opens the door to exciting new use cases around real-time data and remixing blockchain and other third-party data sets.
Finally, data shares and Snowflake Marketplace allow us to disseminate our data beyond a walled garden and watermarked dashboards. Our data is now integrated behind the scenes, powering dozens of products.
Paint a picture of Flipside before Snowflake vs. after Snowflake.
Before Snowflake, we spent a lot of time tuning and managing our data warehouse infrastructure to keep it at peak performance. It was also an arduous process to share our data with users that wanted direct access.
Since the Snowflake integration, we spend a lot less time and money on infrastructure tuning and more time focused on responding to the needs of our users. We also spend more resources on UI/UX improvements and developing features for advanced users and builders.
What’s next for Flipside? What do you have your eye on for the year ahead?
Blockchain data, as open as it is, is ironically incredibly difficult to extract from a network, make sense of, and put to use. Now, accessing and using our data in a meaningful way is as easy as a click of a button with Snowflake data shares. An organization or financial institution doesn’t need to know about blockchain nodes, data modeling, or engineering—the heavy lifting is already done. We’re excited to bring more optimized functionality of Web3 data to future partners through Snowflake.