Newly established venture capital firm Block26 has made its first dive into the Bitcoin space with a US$450K investment in Bitcoin wallet Airbitz. The investment is part of an ongoing US$1.25 million investment round for the mobile wallet, which Block26 led, according to forex industry news portal Leap Rate.
Block26 is a Los Angeles-based blockchain and digital currency venture platform, launched on June 22. Led by Principals and Co-Founders Ni’coel Stark and Pedram Hasid, and backed by Lakeshore Capital, Block26 set out to provide capital, experts and other resources to incubate a portfolio of startups in the Bitcoin space. The investment in Airbitz is Block26's first big announcement. The venture capital firm also joins the board of Airbitz.
Speaking to Cointelegraph, Stark explained why her firm invested in Airbitz:
“Block26 wants to remain open to discover and be surprised by companies. We are not limited by a strict vertical, but instead we are interested in companies developing brilliant software for variety of applications including security and the Internet of Things.”
San Diego based AirBitz launched its mobile Bitcoin wallet in October 2014, and was awarded first place at the 2015 Inside Bitcoin NYC startup competition in April of this year. The Airbitz wallet offers several innovative solutions, such as one-touch 2-factor authentification, Bluetooth payments, and an in-app merchant register. Additionally, the wallet is decentralized, as it doesn't merely rely on Airbitz severs, and the company cannot access users' funds or data.
Speaking on the latest investment from Block26, Airbitz CEO and Co-Founder Paul Puey told LeapRate:
“Airbitz is tremendously honored to have Block26 as our partner and lead investor. Their core focus on bitcoin, blockchain, and decentralized technologies is perfectly inline with the DNA of Airbitz founders. Block26 brings incredible experience in building highly tuned team dynamics and they see the value in people, companies, and industries that aren’t afraid to disrupt the status quo. We look forward to building a decentralized world with their passion and support at our side.”
Furthermore, speaking to Cointelegraph on the invested funds, Puey said:
“Airbitz will be utilizing new funds for continued improvement of the edge-security platform and to include value added services to our mobile app such as integrated bitcoin buy/sell functionality, purchasing of discounted giftcards and mobile minutes, and integrating ironclad, vault caliber security via multi-signature protocols.”
Update July 15: Article has been updated to include comments from Stark and Puey.