International peer-to-peer bitcoin lending platform Bitbond today announced its seed funding round led by prominent European early-stage VC Point Nine Capital.
Nelson Holzner, CEO of BillPay, also contributed to the €200,000 (close to £160,000) funding round as an angel investor.
Based in Berlin, Bitbond's peer-to-peer bitcoin lending platform lowers the barriers for small businesses to receive financing. Bitbond will use the seed funding round to build a team of programmers, enhance the functionality of its platform and intensify its marketing activities.
Radoslav Albrecht, founder and CEO of Bitbond, said: "This seed funding round will help us reach our goal of making financing and investing in businesses globally accessible and independent of the banking system. The additional resources will be used to ramp-up our team and to improve the customer experience. We are looking forward to having Point Nine Capital and Nelson Holzner on board as both have extensive experience in the fintech space."
The funding round marks Point Nine Capital's first investment in a bitcoin startup and its confidence in the world's largest crypto-currency. The Berlin-based VC specialises in investing in SaaS startups and digital marketplaces.
Pawel Chudzinski, cofounder and Managing Partner at Point Nine Capital, said: "Our investment in Bitbond is a great fit for our strategy to invest in marketplace models and fintech startups. We are excited to see bitcoin being applied to create an international loan marketplace. The founding team has strong expertise in bitcoin, tech and finance, which played a crucial role in our investment decision."
Small business owners seeking financing are first rigorously examined by the Bitbond team and technology to determine their creditworthiness. Once approved, borrowers can list on the site and apply for either short or long-term loans from individual lenders.
By bypassing the banking system, Bitbond users gain two major advantages. Firstly, rather than requiring a bank account, users only need an internet connection to make a transaction. Secondly,, by connecting borrowers and lenders directly, borrowers receive loans at affordable interest rates, while lenders gain higher interest rates compared to other fixed income asset classes.
Launched in 2011, Point Nine Capital and its partners have invested in companies from across Europe and the US, including Zendesk, DocPlanner, Vend, Contactually, Delivery Hero, ShiftPlanning, Mambu and Algolia. The VC firm recently increased its US presence with the hire of Silicon Valley serial entrepreneur and business angel Michael Wolfe as an advisor.