Financial technology firm Circle announced Wednesday $60 million in strategic financing from a cohort of prominent Chinese investors, as well as the formation of Circle China.
The Boston-based company said in a blog post the financing was led by Beijing-based IDG Capital Partners, an existing investment partners. The global venture capital and private equity firm Breyer Capital also participated strongly in this round.
In addition to these two firms and General Catalyst Partners, strategic partners in China include Baidu, CICC ALPHA, China Everbright Limited, Wanxiang and CreditEase.
Sam Palmisano, former chairman and CEO of IBM, and Glen Hutchins, co-founder of SilverLake, also invested in Circle.
The company also announced it established Circle China about six months ago, supported by a multimillion-dollar seed investment from many of the strategic investors in this financing round. The unit was created as an independent Chinese entity focused on bringing the benefits of open, blockchain-powered global social payments to Chinese consumers. Circle said it has taken a cue from China, a pioneer in social payments, in its perspective about the future of banking and consumer finance.
Although it’s not yet providing a commercial product or service in China, Circle said it is committed to developing a China-native entity, with prominent Chinese investors and owners in both Circle China and Circle Global.
The company also said in the blog post it will soon launch Circle Euro support in Spain as part of a wider European-wide rollout to take place over the coming month. The move follows Circle’s launch in the UK this spring, offering native support for the sterling pound. The company said it’s currently working with regulators to finalize its approach to Circle Euro.
The Chinese and European markets are critical to Circle’s ambitions to get consumers everywhere to share value. Along with the U.S., these jurisdictions have more than two billion consumers who will share value, and Circle wants to foster that experience in the same way these consumers currently share messages and content. The company said it’s on track to surpass one billion dollars in transaction volume on a yearly basis, and its international customer base has risen by 300 percent in the past 12 months.
“We are still in the early days of this global transformation in value exchange, but the barriers and boundaries are slowly dropping away, replaced with open protocols (e.g. blockchain), and improved user experiences (e.g. messaging and social payments),” said the blog post. “The coming years will be exciting, transformative and no doubt challenging. We’re taking the long view and trying to build something that can help integrate the global economy and global consumers in the same way that the internet of information and communications has brought the world together.”
Image via News page on Circle’s website