New blockchain tech venture firm Block26 has invested $450,000 in digital wallet platform Airbitz Inc, while leading a $1.25 million seed round for Airbitz that is expected to close later this summer.
The backing of Airbitz marks the first investment for Block26, led by Co-Founders Ni’coel Stark and Pedram Hasid, in the Bitcoin technology space. Airbitz was awarded first place at the 2015 Inside Bitcoin NYC startup competition and was named one of AlwaysOn OnhFinance’s 50 Companies to Watch in 2015.
Airbitz’s decentralized and open source platform is being positioned as more usable, secure and private than most current generation bitcoin wallets. The digital wallet software features a unique first one-touch 2-factor authentication and does not allow any third party from accessing user funds or data, including Airbitz itself. Available for iOS and Android, Airbitz automatically encrypts, secures and backs up user data without requiring user prompts. The decentralized server architecture apparently ensures that Airbitz wallets are functional even if company servers are disabled.
Block26 Co-Founder and Managing Principal Ni’coel Stark said:
Block26 is making its first investment in Airbitz because not only is it the best digital wallet for consumers, it is far more than a wallet. Airbitz technology enables a multifaceted financial tool, an extraordinary implementation on edge security, and a whole new contribution to the Internet of Things. Block26 is excited to empower Airbitz solutions in revolutionizing transaction, authentication and security processes.
Airbitz is led by CEO and Co-Founder Paul Puey, a former Nvidia senior engineer and a prominent leader of Bitcoin advocacy in Southern California. The Airbitz leadership team also includes CTO and Co-Founder Tim Horton, the former CTO of startup Breadcrumbs Inc.,; VP Design and Co-Founder Damian Cutillo, formerly Co-Founder at Breadcrumbs Inc.; Chief Architect and Co-Founder William Swanson, the core developer of Libbitcoin; and COO Rick “Henri” Chan, Co-Founder of AlphaPoint with 15 years experience at finance and technology firms including Robertson Stephens, Deutsche Bank and UBS Financial Services.
Airbitz CEO and Co-Founder Paul Puey commented:
Airbitz is tremendously honored to have Block26 as our partner and lead investor. Their core focus on bitcoin, blockchain, and decentralized technologies is perfectly inline with the DNA of Airbitz founders. Block26 brings incredible experience in building highly tuned team dynamics and they see the value in people, companies, and industries that aren’t afraid to disrupt the status quo. We look forward to building a decentralized world with their passion and support at our side.
Airbitz COO Rick “Henri” Chan added:
Block26 is more than an investor to Airbitz; they are an integral partner in our rapid development. We look forward to closely working with Block26 as partners in building a company that thrives as it grows. Block26’s unique financial model allows for a flexible investment strategy that could provide Airbitz and other portfolio companies with early stage capital, with the capacity to provide bridge funding as well. For these reasons and many more, we greatly look forward to Block26 joining our Board.
Although Airbitz is Block26’s first investment, the VC firm plans to make aggressive investments in the blockchain tech space. Backed by Lakeshore Capital and other angel investors, Block26 intends to provide capital, talent, and other resources to incubate a portfolio of blockchain startups. The founders Stark and Hasid have combined experience in entertainment and technology industries.