Crypto Fintech & e-commerce

Tiger Global, Coatue Lead Bitso’s $250M Series C As Company Gains Unicorn Status

Five months after announcing a $62 million Series B, Mexico City-based Bitso is back with a significant raise to push the cryptocurrency platform into unicorn territory.

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The company raised a $250 million Series C that boosts its valuation to $2.2 billion, making it the first billion-dollar crypto company in Latin America, according to Daniel Vogel, co-founder and CEO of Bitso.

“We’ve seen incredible growth in Mexico and Argentina, and we just launched in Brazil last week,” Vogel told Crunchbase News. “It took us six-and-a-half years to get the first 1 million customers, but now we have 2 million, and the use cases have exploded. We are excited about the opportunity and now the chance to scale with new investors.”

Tiger Global and Coatue co-led the round and were joined by new investors Paradigm, BOND and Valor Capital Group, as well as existing investors QED Investors, Pantera Capital and Kaszek, which were repeat investors from the Series B in December. The new funding gives Bitso a total known funding amount of $316.4 million, according to Crunchbase data.

Vogel said he saw demand for crypto assets and crypto-enabled financial products increase, especially when popular companies, such as Tesla and others not only bought crypto, but also accept it as payment.

“Along with companies going public, it helped the industry gain a big, strong push of legitimacy,” he added. “When we raised back in December, we were not counting on all of that. We thought there were things happening, but were surprised to see it happen at a large scale so quickly.”

A growing industry

This new funding is the first time Bitso has announced its valuation, Vogel said. He decided to do so to show how fast the industry is growing and how big it is.

Cryptocurrency market capitalization hit $2 trillion in April and continues to grow as of May 4, according to digital currency price platform CoinGecko. Some milestones were also set within cryptocurrency this year, including cryptocurrency trading platform Coinbase entering the public markets via IPO last month. Shares of the company were trading at approximately $280 as of Tuesday. In addition, Bitcoin rose to its highest amount, at one point topping $63,000 in April before falling back to around $54,000.

At the time Coinbase went public, Roger Lee, general partner at Battery Ventures and company investor since 2017, said the IPO would touch off a “wave of innovation” in the cryptocurrency space.

“People are starting to look at cryptocurrency differently,” Vogel said. “Over the last year, education has been a key component. I started as a skeptic and, when someone told me about bitcoin, the more I learned the more it became fascinating. We want more people to go through that transformation.”

Next steps

Bitso’s minimum buy is about $2.50, or 50 Mexican Pesos, and most customers own a fraction of cryptocurrency, Vogel said.

He expects to use the cash infusion to increase access to crypto across Latin America with a focus on building on top of open-source financial services running on decentralized blockchains.

Brazil will continue to be a big focus in the short-term. The company recently received approval from Colombian authorities to operate in the country, and Vogel expects other countries to follow.

Meanwhile, Matt Burton, partner at QED Investors, said Bitso is a special investment for the boutique venture capital firm based in Alexandria, Virginia. The firm invests in fintech, but crypto was a new category when he joined in 2018.

“Being the first fintech unicorn in Mexico is an amazing milestone,” he said in an interview. “We’ve seen their growth accelerate and, for the space in general, it is validation that Latin America is a great market for crypto and banking. Their mission is to make cryptocurrency useful, and with their cross-border remittance products, simple products the average person can understand and best-in-class compliance, they are at a unique cross section.”

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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