At the end of 2013, Yuzo Kano, a former Goldman Sachs employee, left his job as a derivatives trader with the goal of setting up his own bitcoin related company. In June last year, he announced that the company – BitFlyer – has successfully secured $1.6 million from domestic venture capitalists to fund the launching of a new Japan-based bitcoin exchange. The goal, to fill the void left by the collapse of Mt Gox.
In September last year, the company announced that it had launched the first Japanese bitcoin crowdfunding platform as an add-on to BitFlyer – the aptly named FundFlyer. Shortly after the announcement came a further announcement that Barry Silbert Of Bitcoin Opportunity Corp had provided BitFlyer with $236,000 growth funding – the first time BOC had invested in the Japanese company.
Why are we telling you this? Because the company has yet again secured considerable funding to fuel further expansion. Led by the aforementioned Barry Silbert, this third round of funding drew just over 130 million Japanese yen – approximately US$1.1 million at current rates. While led by Silbert, the majority of investment came from Japanese investors – primarily Recruit Strategic Partners, a subsidiary of Japan-based company Recruit, and GMO Venture Partners, the VC arm of GMO Internet Group.
So what’s next for BitFlyer? The company has revealed that it intends to use the new capital to expand both its customer and revenue base, but it is not all about the money. The new relationships forged through the latest investment round offer the company a chance to leverage the networks of these investors – a network through which other digital currency-based companies have already drawn benefit.
It’s good to see that investment is still flowing into the digital currency space – regardless of current price points. Who’s next? Let us know what you think!
Images from BitFlyer.