Sunday, 05 July 2020

Crypto start-up Bakkt lands $300m Series B from Microsoft and PayU

Bakkt, a digital asset services start-up, has landed an impressive $300 million Series B with backing from big names such as Microsoft’s venture capital arm M12 and Netherlands-headquartered fintech PayU.

Other investors in its funding round include Boston Consulting Group, Goldfinch Partners, CMT Digital, Pantera Capital and Bakkt’s parent firm Intercontinental Exchange (ICE).

The funding round was closed last Friday, the same day bitcoin experienced a multi-month low of $3,916, according to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Launched just two years ago, Bakkt initially focused on bitcoin futures and options contracts with parent firm ICE. But as of October, the company announced its desire to target retail clients through a consumer-facing app.

Most importantly, the app will not be blockchain-based

The start-up’s app, set to be released this summer, can convert cryptocurrencies and digital assets into cash through its e-wallet, as well as offering crypto trading, on-demand liquidity, and a banking account with which users can pay in crypto. Most importantly, the app will not be blockchain-based.

Last month, ICE announced it had agreed to acquire Bridge2 Solutions, a SaaS platform for merchant and consumer loyalty solutions. It was anticipated that the purchase would be funded by Bakkt’s Series B funding round.

ICE CEO Jeffrey Sprecher said during a February earnings call that the deal could open up Bakkt to an asset class worth $1 trillion.

Bakkt CEO Mike Blandina reiterated this figure in a blog post this week: “I’m excited at our potential to unlock nearly $1 trillion of digital assets when the Bakkt app launches this summer.”

Blandina says the Bridge2 Solutions acquisition will make Bakkt a team of 350 employees, and give it access to “seven of the top ten financial institutions” the Software as a Service (SaaS) firm currently serves in the US, as well as 4,500 loyalty and incentive programmes which include “two of the largest US airlines”.

Bakkt has now raised more than $482 million in total, following a $182.5 million capital raise in late December 2018.


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