After years of resistance, mainstream investors are opening up to cryptocurrency startups as bitcoin reaches unexplored heights.
One of these startups took advantage of the boom to become Austria’s very first unicorn.
Neocourtier Bitpanda reached a valuation of $ 1.2 billion following a $ 170 million Series B led by Valar Ventures, with the support of partners of World Daylight Saving Time. The round is a significant increase in funding size for the startup, which raised $ 52 million in September from investors, including Speedinvest. It’s also coming out of an impressive growth spurt, with Bitpanda seeing the same revenue in the first two months of this year as it did for all of 2020.
Cryptocurrency surged in 2021, with bitcoin hitting a record high of over $ 60,000 on Saturday. The rally was sparked in part by a series of endorsements from institutional investors and Silicon Valley heavyweights, including Twitterit’s Jack Dorsey and Elon Musk.
“Even in September [with Bitpanda’s Series A], we noticed that traditional investors were still cautious about crypto, ”said Tom Lesche, director at Speedinvest.“ But over the past two months, now with the boom and increased interest from institutions , this is becoming more common. “
Cryptocurrency startups are profiting from its standardization. Last month, the digital currency exchange Coinbase has filed a direct listing request that could value it at over $ 100 billion. Soon after, the cryptocurrency lender BlockFi got a $ 350 million Series D led by Bain Capital Ventures; the company’s valuation jumped to $ 3 billion from $ 435 million in August.
As of March 16, industry startups had already raised $ 1.8 billion, more than half of total venture capital funding for 2020, according to PitchBook data. The adoption of blockchain and cryptocurrency is accelerating, and with more established players like banks giving it legitimacy, there will be more investment opportunities in the space, Lesche said.
But it’s not just access to cryptocurrencies that attracts traditional VCs.
“The space between fintech and crypto is getting more and more blurry, and that’s what makes it more common,” Lesche said. “In the case of Bitpanda, their vision is to be a neo-broker across all asset classes. They are much more in the fintech space than the crypto space, which excites traditional investors like Valar.”