Bitcoin, the controversial crypto-currency, is seeing investor interest accelerate based on Q2 2014 tallies. In fact, Q2 2014 saw almost as much funding flow to bitcoin startups as all of 2013 with funding in the quarter coming in at $76.8M across 18 deals, up 19% and 29% respectively quarter-over-quarter. Interestingly, within Fin Tech, bitcoin is one of the most frequent areas of investment by unicorn VCs.
The quarterly funding climb was led by trio of Series A financings including bitcoin payment software company BitPay ($30M), bitcoin mining company BitFury Group ($20M), and secure bitcoin wallet provider BitGo ($12M). Other notable financings in 2014 (Q1) include Circle Internet Financial’s $17M Series B, and bitcoin secure storage and wallet company Xapo’s $20M Series A.
As both total funding and number of deals have grown over the past few quarters, the cumulative number of unique investors (angels, VCs, corporates, etc.) investing in the space has also exploded highlighting the burgeoning group of investors now paying attention to the space. CB Insights tracked 87 disclosed investors at the end of Q4’13 and within just two quarters, the number has grown to 138, a 59% uptick.
While the media hype around bitcoin has likely resulted in greater awareness of the crypto-currency, the fact that smart money is continuing to invest in the space is also likely helping legitimize and provide confidence to new investors. As one example, Coinbase was the first bitcoin company to raise a Series B round of financing (at this point, the latest stage for any bitcoin startup) when it raised a $25M Series B in December 2013 from unicorn VCs Union Square Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz as well as top micro VC Red Swan Ventures.
At this point the number of unique Bitcoin investors sits at over 130, but with a variety of angels showing interest, and an AngelList syndicate led by Brock Pierce dedicated to Bitcoin startups with $786K committed across 57 backers, this number should continue to grow rapidly.