What was the lightbulb moment for Polybase

Dec 22, 2022

Sid Gandhi

Sid Gandhi and Calum Moore founded Polybase. They met around 2019-2020. Calum was at Y Combinator. He was in the cohort building a data analytics company. Calum was doing some crazy stuff around different query engines that he was building himself. Sid was a user of the product he was building. It's like a dashboarding tool and he reached out to Sid as a user for feedback. That was the first time they chatted. Sid found out that he was in Mountain View, and Sid himself was in San Jose, both very close to each other in the Bay Area. They ended up meeting in person. They immediately knew they wanted to work with each other at some point.

Earlier this year, the timing was right for both of them when Sid left his last job, and they started Polybase together. Sid and Calum saw a lot of people building things in Defi, but that has started to cool down in the sense that all of the derivative protocols and investment lending protocols had already been built in many ways. They felt people are building derivatives of derivatives and more esoteric stuff. Then people were rebuilding stuff they saw on one chain into another chain and a lot of people started thinking about, okay, what's next?

And then DAOs became a much bigger topic of conversation and a lot of these discussions specifically, not just DAO, but like what are the tools that DAOs need? The real question we're asking them is what are the tools that are going to enable future human collaboration at a much bigger and more efficient scale than we have today? The organizational structure of traditional corporations today, which we can see in many ways has been breaking down over the last ten years. A lot of the problems we see in the industry are because of these structures. They're just not conducive to the decision-making that needs to happen when you have something like Twitter that's like running the News of the World.

So the person at the top and the person at the bottom of this very large corporation need to be able to have a more equal say. It can't be absolutely equal, obviously, we understand that, but more of an equal say. This led to a lot of web3 dev tooling platforms which also gave rise to Polybase. So as we were talking to developers, we encountered this trade-off between UX and cost versus decentralization. As we researched, there were new papers coming out on zero-knowledge proofs.

Calum, co-founder & CTO of Polybase, was the one that put two and two together and was able to create the architecture that allows Polybase to work. This is when the Polybase whitepaper was released. This circulated to the developers and other stakeholders and eventually served as a basis for us to raise our seed round.

This was the lightbulb moment for Polybase.