As has been written ad nauseam, we’ve seen a lot of activity in the wild and wacky world of cryptocurrency of late, thanks primarily to the tech industry’s new obsession with Bitcoin. Depending on whom you ask, digital currency like Bitcoin will either be worth nothing in 10 years, or its value will make Warren Buffet weep. It’s a polarizing topic at its very essence, but one thing is for sure: So far, venture capitalists are loving this emerging market, and startups are beginning to follow suit.
In late May, we introduced you to the Bitcoin market’s latest growth milestone: The launch of BitAngels, the first multi-city angel network and incubator dedicated exclusively to digital currency startups. Appropriately given its focus, BitAngels is a distributed network of angel investors and entrepreneurs that came together over the course of a few days in the wake of the Bitcoin 2013 Conference.
At launch, some 60 angels had joined the network and had pooled together just under $7 million in Bitcoin, which the founders planned to invest in $20K chunks, or increments thereof. While BitAngels isn’t a formal fund per se (so the Bitcoins are soft-circled, not in escrow), all involved are accredited, experienced investors, many of whom have made themselves available as advisors.
Like Bitcoin itself (or not, depending on the day), the angel network and incubator is growing like crazy. One month removed from launch, BitAngels has doubled its number of investors to 120 and has added nearly $10 million in capital to its reserves, bringing its total to just under $18 million.
Behind this steady growth, the network announced that it is has officially completed its first investment. Its first $100K investment went to BlueSeed, the “seasteading venture” that incubates startups in international waters not far off the coast of Silicon Valley. Naturally, its offshore incubator has drawn a handful of Bitcoin companies, as they aren’t subject to any regulation from Uncle Sam during their seafaring incubation.
The angel network and incubator for cryptocurrency startups is the brainchild of Engine.co founder David A. Johnston and SocialRadius CEO/Marketwire founder Michael Terpin, along with four additional founding board members Gyft CEO Vinny Lingham, Memory Dealers CEO and “Bitcoin Jesus” Roger Ver, Tradehill CEO Jered Kenna and angel investor Sam Onat Yilmaz.
BitAngels also tells us that it is in the final stages of due diligence with three other Bitcoin startups and, although it can’t yet reveal their identities, the founders expect to fund one or more of them in the next 30 days.
For more, find BitAngels at home here.