One time-tested measurement of an industry’s promise is the amount of investment capital flowing into new ventures in the space, and now angel investor group BitAngels has closed a new fund that highlights the bright future of digital currencies and decentralised applications.
Billed as the world’s first “distributed veteran entrepreneur and angel investor group,” BitAngels has been an active organization in the bitcoin community, having invested $7m into digital currency startups since its inception in 2013.
BitAngels co-founders Michael Terpin and David Johnston sat down with CoinDesk at Inside Bitcoins NYC to talk about their new fund – the BitAngels Fund I.
Speaking on BitAngel’s focus for investments with the newly closed fund, managing director David Johnston said:
“We want this to be the first fund that focuses solely on decentralised applications of the bitcoin protocol. We’re only investing in open-source companies and we want to see this fund really go beyond just currency and payment protocols to other applications.”
Terpin and Johnston revealed that the BitAngels Fund I officially closed with just over 10,000 BTC raised in total. At a valuation of $4.6m at press time, BitAngels’s new fund has collected a substantial amount of capital – all of which will be invested in companies working with the technology of the bitcoin protocol and block chain.
One company that Terpin has personally invested in is the CryptexCard, which recently launched as the world’s first Anti-Money Laundering and Know Your Customer (AML/KYC) compliant bitcoin ATM and debit card.
Another startup that has caught the attention of BitAngels is MaidSafe, a company that calls itself “the new decentralised internet.” While the angel group has not made any investments in MaidSafe, they are interested in purchasing MaidSafeCoins.
“When we look at all of the possibilities for building applications on the protocol, it’s all about technology verticals for us. There are so many different use cases, and we want to invest in companies that explore these.”
In just under one year, BitAngels has grown its membership to more than 400 angel investors who live all around the world. Terpin explained that he and Johnston came up with the idea for the angel group during their very first meeting, and that the response from investors interested in joining the group was immediate:
“We officially went live and announced a meet-up for potential investors that may be interested in joining the group. We expected six or seven people to show up to that meeting. More than 35 people showed up, just one day after we went live.”
Terpin credits the growing interest from credible venture capital firms as one factor that helped grow BitAngels’ membership. The group has quickly become one of the largest angel groups across any industry, and has joined the likes of BoostVC and Andreessen Horowitz with their focus on the digital currency industry.
“Credibility begets credibility. I see serious players in the technology industry showing a lot of interest in bitcoin, and I think to myself ‘well if Marc Andreessen is all in, then I’m all in.'”
BitAngels’ focus on early stage companies helps the angel group build an infrastructure to help their companies “from the cradle to the IPO, so to speak,” Terpin said. BitAngels provides resources from companies in their “garage stage” all the way to full liquidity, and their network of veteran entrepreneurs all over the globe can offer guidance to companies that are based in almost any country.
As the digital currency industry continues to grow and more entrepreneurs begin to explore the possible applications of this new technology, groups like BitAngels help ensure that innovation flourishes by providing resources for companies to help turn their meaningful ideas into reality.
Seed funding image via Shutterstock