Earlier this month, London, England-based Blockchain, provider of the world’s leading Bitcoin wallet, announced it had raised more than $30 million in capital funding in a Series A financing round co-led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and Wicklow Capital.
This was the first external financing round for Blockchain, which had been bootstrapped since it was founded by Ben Reeves in 2011.
Asked what prompted Blockchain to pursue external funding after supporting itself for three years, Nicolas Cary, Blockchain’s CEO, told CoinReport:
“Being a bootstrapped company helped create some fiscal discipline across the company. We wanted to prove to ourselves that we had a real business and to orientate the company for a very long period of building. We were able to expand our team and grow the company quickly without outside funding. After some serious reflection, we knew we had accomplished a lot with very little, and we wanted to see what we could do with even more.”
According to a press release sent to CoinReport about the Series A round, “Blockchain plans to use the funds to scale its product & engineering teams, in order to develop innovative new features for its users. It will also invest to further its international expansion and increase bitcoin wallet functionality and usability for the next 20 million Bitcoin users.”
Blockchain will also, for the first time, spend money on marketing, according to a TechCrunch interview with Blockchain President Peter Smith.
“Historically, we have spent practically nothing on marketing, focusing our time and effort on products and customer service,” said Cary. “We will dedicate some of our marketing budget to sponsor educational initiatives and reach out to the development community.”
Asked how Lightspeed Venture Partners and Wicklow Capital became co-leaders of the financing round, Cary told CoinReport:
“Lightspeed Venture Partners has been tracking the Bitcoin space since the very early days. They are one of the top performing funds and have vast success in leading consumer investments. Wicklow Capital has proven itself to be a thought leader in FinTech and we’re tremendously excited for their expertise and guidance.”
Other investors, whom Cary described as “a Hall-of-Fame of investors in consumer and financial technologies,” include Sir Richard Branson, Mosaic Ventures, Prudence Holdings, Future Perfect Ventures, and angel investors Rafael Corrales of CRV, Amit Jhawar of Braintree, and Nat Brown, among others.
“The potential for global transformation in payments powered by Bitcoin is very exciting,” said Branson in the press release. “Consumers are being offered much greater control and freedom with their money and more of them have chosen Blockchain’s safe and easy to use wallet to hold their Bitcoins than any other.”
More than 2.3 million people have used Blockchain’s software to transact more than $26 billion USD in value to date, according to information provided to CoinReport. “The company has grown exponentially in every way over the last eighteen months,” said Smith in the press release. “We are honoured to add investors and partners to the team with deep expertise in financial services and consumer technology.”
As part of the financing, Blockchain has welcomed Jeremy Liew of Lightspeed Venture Partners to its board of directors.
“Bitcoin is a long game and the wallet is the crucial strategic high ground in the Bitcoin ecosystem,” said Liew in the press release. “We wanted to back the biggest player in the most important segment of the Bitcoin value chain, and that is Blockchain.”
Cary told CoinReport that Liew “has served on the boards of several hyper growth companies and we’re honoured to have him advise us as we chart a course through the financial future.”
“Bitcoin has a little something for everyone,” said Cary when asked what draws him to the digital currency.
“It’s always fun to hear industry insiders describe the moment they fell down the rabbit hole and realized there was a lot more going on. To me, Bitcoin represents one of the most innovative, impassioned, and optimistic communities on the planet. All that energy is dedicated to paving the pathway to a more efficient financial future and I can’t wait to see what is over the horizon.”
A lot has happened in the past year with respect to Bitcoin, with the digital currency having “moved out of the shadows and into the spotlight,” said Cary, who noted global brands such as Overstock.com and Dell have begun accepting Bitcoin.
“It’s just the tip of the iceberg,” he told CoinReport. “So much more has to be done. Ultimately, we need to build better software, that’s easier to use, and enables consumers to do things they were never able to do before. It’s time to reimagine.”