Gem, a Venice-based Bitcoin startup, today announced the completion of a $2 million seed round of funding to accelerate the growth of its recently launched full-stack API that provides developers with a complete solution, eliminating the pain of building Bitcoin security infrastructure into their apps.
The seed funding round was led by First Round Capital and Tekton Ventures. Other investors are comprised of a strategically wide range of connected global contributors, from early stage investors and Bitcoin companies to traditional venture funds. They include: RRE Ventures, MESA+, Amplify.LA, Birchmere Labs, Idealab, ECEG, Partners, Baroda Ventures, Wavemaker Labs, Bitcoin Shop, Inc. (OTCQB: BTCS), Crypto Currency Partners, QED Associates, and Angel investor James Joaquin.
"Gem's approach to the Bitcoin world, building a previously non-existent security platform for developers and others to integrate into any solution, was game-changing to us for the industry. We really feel they are positioned to become a leader as Bitcoin disrupts banking and payments," said Howard Morgan, Partner at First Round Capital, who co-led the round for Gem.
"The secure solution Gem has built is the sort of disruptive innovation that has been lacking in the payments industry for a long time now," added Jim Robinson, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at RRE Ventures. "And now we've added Ken to the team, a guy who was one of the original pioneers for making our credit cards safe to use online. This is a team with strong security chops building key Bitcoin infrastructure."
Recently launched in private beta at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2014, Gem offers a simple, yet powerful platform for securing Bitcoin and other digital currencies. "We're excited to get significant early-stage funding to expand and become the all-in-one platform to develop Bitcoin apps, as we've received tremendous feedback from Bitcoin developers since our launch, from just emerging companies and developers building on their ideas to the industry's more successful services," said Micah Winkelspecht, CEO and Founder of Gem. "There are currently over 16,500 Bitcoin apps in development on GitHub. Our goal is to help every developer focus on their overall product vision and user experience, without the need for expertise in cryptography, security and the underlying Bitcoin protocol."
Winkelspecht added: "Each investor has contributed not just their capital and vast network access, but also deep strategic advice. With this funding, our team is well-positioned to continue building the world's most highly scalable and security-focused API, and continue to add key talent to the team."
"The potential for an all-in-one Bitcoin development platform and the rise of new and exciting Bitcoin apps opens the door to new, innovative ways of managing not only Bitcoin funds securely, but eventually any digital asset, and that was a technical and financial services revolution I wanted to help drive," said Ken Miller, newly-appointed COO of Gem. For Gem's first live demo at TechCrunch Disrupt, the team developed a robust, market-ready Android wallet through their own API in just a few weeks' time. "The future success of the Bitcoin ecosystem absolutely depends on developers," added Miller. "Gem's platform will allow them to drive mainstream user adoption of Bitcoin with the next generation of great apps, using a highly secure solution from us that requires literally less than ten lines of code. It's going to change the game."
Jai Choi, Founder and Managing Director at Tekton Ventures was an early supporter of Gem and a co-lead of the recently closed round. "We saw in Gem the elusive combination of an industry ripe for disruption, a tremendous vision, and a truly special team. We're thrilled to be involved and watch their success."