Who’s investing in blockchain startups and other ventures? Here is a roundup of some recent headlines about blockchain-related funding:
Blockchain investments and ROI are a business focus in 2019
“2018 was the year for getting excited about blockchain, and 2019 will bring focus onto pushing forward investments and driving ROI from them,” according to the 2019 Blockchain Technology Business Guide from the technology services company Globant. Based on a survey of more than 650 decision-makers, the guide “outlines the state of blockchain investment and the pain points for adoption”. Globant’s survey found that 61 per cent of organisations are researching blockchain, and 71 per cent of decision-makers agree the technology can “boost customers’ confidence” in how businesses protect their personal data.
Nasdaq Ventures leads $20m investment in Symbiont smart-contract platform
Symbiont – which provides Symbiont Assembly, a blockchain platform for smart contracts – recently closed on $20m in Series B funding led by Nasdaq Ventures. Other investors include Galaxy Digital, Citi and Raptor Group. Symbiont plans to use the funds to “accelerate deployments across multiple business verticals”, including data management, mortgages, private equity and syndicated loans. “We are committed to discovering and investing in innovative technologies to help build our future market infrastructure used by more than 100 marketplaces around the world,” Gary Offner, head of Nasdaq Ventures, said in a press announcement. “Our investment will also include the integration of Symbiont’s enterprise blockchain and smart contract platform into the Nasdaq Financial Framework.”
UPS invests in Inxeption’s blockchain e-commerce platform
Inxeption, which has built a blockchain-based B2B platform for e-commerce, recently announced that it had received an equity investment from the UPS Strategic Enterprise Fund. “Inxeption’s technology is attractive to UPS because it helps unlock new efficiencies for customers using B2B e-commerce platforms,” UPS chief marketing officer Kevin Warren said in a press release. Inxeption says its platform “integrates product design, manufacturing, and supply chain to help merchants grow their top line revenue and sell products online, either for the first time or in a scalable, smarter way”. The platform also features real-time analytics for monitoring online sales, tracking order status and providing security notifications.
Chronicled receives $16m in funds for blockchain-powered supply chains
Chronicled, which helps businesses build blockchain-powered supply chain systems, recently raised $16m in Series A funding led by Mandra Capital. Also investing were Streamlined Ventures, The Perkins Fund, Franke Fiore and David Aho. Chronicled is currently piloting its MediLedger Network with a number of manufacturers, distributors and other businesses, and plans to launch the network commercially sometime this year. It said the funding will “enable expansion of the MediLedger Network with service provider integrations and additional protocols that address channel integrity and chargebacks, contracting, and revenue management”. SongYi Zhang, principal of Mandra Capital, said in a press announcement: “While many companies in the space are conducting ICOs – fuelling speculation and hurting the legitimacy of the space – Chronicled has stayed disciplined and pursued traditional funding while focusing on developing needed applications with quantifiable ROI value.”
Pantera Capital leads $4.5m in seed-round funding for Staked
The startup Staked, which helps institutional investors use proof-of-stake cryptocurrencies for lending or staking, has raised $4.5m in seed funding. Led by Pantera Capital, the funding round also included investments from Applied Crypto Ventures, Blocktree Capital, Coinbase Ventures, Digital Currency Group, Fabric Ventures, Global Brain, Winklevoss Capital and others. In its announcement on Medium, Staked said Pantera had first met with the company as a potential customer before also deciding to invest in it. “Pantera invests in many leading proof-of-stake projects, so we knew we needed a staking solution,” Pantera Capital partner Paul Veradittakit said in a news statement. “We liked Staked because of the experienced team, focus on institutions, and broader vision around helping investors earn yield on their cryptocurrency.” Staked’s services currently support six cryptocurrencies – Dash, Decred, EOS, Factom, Livepeer and Tezos – with plans to support 20 crypto assets by the end of 2019.
Banco Best and Credit Suisse use blockchain for fund transactions
Banco Best and Credit Suisse Asset Management recently used FundsDLT’s blockchain-based platform to complete a cross-border distribution of an investment fund. In a press release, Credit Suisse Fund Services head of shareholder services Claude Metz said: “Blockchain technology in connection with potential mutualised KYC (know your client) servicing will be a game changer for the investment funds business. This initiative benefits investors, distributors and transfer agents greatly from an operational efficiency standpoint, and we are only at the beginning of this most promising journey.” Banco Best developed the API integration for the proof-of-concept. According to the press announcement: “This proof of concept also makes Credit Suisse Fund Services (Luxembourg) SA one of the first asset servicing providers to process a full end-to-end fund transaction using blockchain, integrated within its core platforms.”
Ahead of launch, Roobee counts more than $200m in funding
Roobee, a blockchain-powered investment platform, plans to launch its service by early 2020 with the help of more than $200m in pre-seed funding. The funding includes around $4.5m invested by an unnamed crypto trader who provided the funds in ETH. Roobee says its goal is to create “the Uber of the world of investing”. Roobee is currently preparing for seed-round funding that will include both venture investments and a crowd sale of shares. “The Roobee product is designed in such a way that even smaller investors could diversify risks and compile a portfolio of various market instruments (venture, stock, loans, etc.) in one click,” co-rounder Artem Popov said in press announcement. “At the same time, we will make the interface easy to use for any type of investor and credible investment return statistics ensured through the use of blockchain.”