Australian private investors together with VC firm Blackbird Ventures have made the country’s first major Bitcoin investment by backing startup CoinJar
CoinJar, a consumer Bitcoin exchange and digital wallet provider has announced its seed funding from several prominent Australian technology investors.
Led by Niki Scevak of Blackbird Ventures, the round is joined by other investors including entrepreneur Torsten Homan; RetailMeNot founders: Guy King and Bevan Clark; game developer, Rob Murray; and serial technology investor Chris Hitchen. The combined investment is reportedly in the region of AUD$500,000.
Blackbird Ventures is Australia’s latest AU$30 million (US$31.1 million) venture capital fund. Founded in August last year, Blackbird aims to fill the Series A funding rounds in the Australia startup scene. Some of its partners include Startmate and Southern Cross Venture Partners, and the founders of successful Australian companies including Atlassian, Campaign Monitor and Aconex. Silicon Valley venture capitalists Bill Tai and Dave McClure are also backing the newly set fund.
Founded by Melbourne based Asher Tan and Ryan Zhou, CoinJar allows users to buy, sell and transact in Bitcoin. It also provides merchant services for those looking to accept Bitcoin as a medium of payment. Online businesses are charged a one per cent merchant fee, which is two to four times less than what PayPal charges.
It claims to currently have close to 10,000 Australian users, and is looking to expand globally.
Chris Hitchen, the investor in the company said that, “Bitcoin is a game-changer, but the process of buying, selling and using Bitcoin is still relatively hard. CoinJar changes that by making Bitcoin more accessible and, eventually much more useful. Their approach of offering a secure consumer wallet and merchant payment capability for Bitcoin in addition to a liquid exchange is what makes them interesting. As consumer and business adoption of Bitcoin becomes more mainstream, CoinJar is well-placed to be a significant participant. The team, product and vision are all strong and I’m excited to be involved.”
Other than the growing number of customers, CoinJar has already seen partnerships with a wide-range of goods and services providers including Australian utility vehicle producer Tomcar and crowd funding website, Pozible.
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