Draper Esprit leads an oversubscribed Series B round, with Draper Venture Network funds, FirstMark Capital, Cathay Innovation, Korelya Capital, and existing investors
Paris,18-Jan-2018 – Cryptocurrency and blockchain security company, Ledger, today announces a USD 75 million (EUR 61 million) Series B round, led by Draper Esprit. The investment will enable the company to significantly scale up its operations as demand for their products increases at pace.
The USD 75 million round was led by Draper Esprit, with additional funding from Draper Venture Network funds, including Draper Associates, Draper Dragon and Boost VC, as well as FirstMark Capital, Cathay Innovation, and Korelya Capital. The round is one of the largest traditional series B investment into blockchain and cryptocurrency related technologies to date (excluding ICOs). Existing investors, CapHorn Invest, GDTRE and Digital Currency Group, also participated in the round. Seed and Series A investor Xange remains at the capital.
As cryptocurrency participation has increased, so have associated security challenges. Cryptocurrency investors face a nascent landscape of exchanges, brokers and wallet providers. In this context, there are substantial opportunities to improve security and trust for participants.
Ledger was founded in 2014 by an ambitious team of eight entrepreneurs who saw the potential of blockchain technology to advance the way we live and that security would be the cornerstone of its long term success. The company has been growing at a fast pace since then and now employ 82 people in San Francisco, Paris and Vierzon.
The company, which is already profitable, has sold over a million cryptocurrency hardware wallets across 165 countries. They are also launching a new solution for financial institutions, the Ledger Vault, enabling banks, hedge funds and family offices to manage their crypto assets.
All these products are underpinned by a unique technology: an Operating System (OS) specifically designed to run on any secure hardware and to support any cryptocurrency. This technology enables security for blockchain applications and will eventually accelerate advancement in a wide variety of industries, from the internet of things to driverless cars, where security prevents widespread adoption.
Eric Larchevêque, CEO at Ledger, explained: “We initially designed our Ledger hardware wallet as an enabler for the blockchain revolution. Three years later and with this Series B, we are reaching a significant milestone in our path to build a technological giant in the promising space of cryptocurrencies. These funds will be used to keep investing significantly in R&D while scaling our operations and deploying our teams globally. I am delighted to bring on board Draper Esprit and a truly global group of investors who will support the company as it grows rapidly.”
Pascal Gauthier, President at Ledger and former COO at Criteo, added: “It has been a pleasure working with Ledger, initially as seed investor and now as President. The size of the opportunity in a growing, fascinating market and the team of truly extraordinary individuals persuaded me to leave life as an investor and to re-join the corporate world. Growing this team with additional talents will be one of our main goals in the next few years.”
Simon Cook, CEO at Draper Esprit, commented: “Blockchain, as evidenced by crypto assets, is a truly revolutionary technology. Security will be paramount to its success and we believe that Ledger has built the world’s best security platform to manage private keys for all blockchain and crypto asset applications. This is a global company for a global industry and we have built an international syndicate through the Draper Network to support the team in their huge ambition. We look forward to partnering with Eric, Pascal and the talented team at Ledger.”
Tim Draper, Founder of DFJ, the Draper Network, and one the largest owner of Bitcoin, commented: “Ledger creates security for cryptocurrency far beyond what I get from my bank. This is where people store money now. Ledger lets me take control of my currency rather than having to ask my bank. We’re seeing digital currency blossom across every continent and so several of the Draper Network funds, from Silicon Valley, Europe and Asia have come together to fund Ledger and help them expand globally.”
The executive board is now composed of Simon Cook at Draper Esprit, Fleur Pellerin at Korelya Capital, Cyril Bertrand at Xange as well as Nicolas Bacca, Pascal Gauthier, and Eric Larchevêque, respectively CTO, President and CEO at Ledger. Matt Turck at FirstMark Capital and Ming-Po Cai at Cathay Innovation are also joining as board observers.
Matt Turck, Managing Director at FirstMark Capital, added: “While the price of individual digital currencies and tokens may be subject to volatility, the general crypto and blockchain space has emerged as a fundamental new paradigm that will only continue to increase in importance. Considering the massive amounts of money flowing into the ecosystem, there is no more pressing need at this stage than a bullet-proof security infrastructure. Ledger has rapidly emerged as the global security leader in the crypto space for both individuals and now institutions, and has an enormous market opportunity to seize, as evidenced by its explosive growth over the last 12 months. We are thrilled to partner with such an incredible company and team.”
The fundraising process of the Series B was handled by the management team — CEO, President and CTO, as well as Thomas France, VP Business Development, and Jean-Michel Pailhon, VP Corporate Development. Baker&McKenzie (Matt Grollemund, Hélène Parent) represented the Company. Ledger had already raised USD 8.3 million in a Series A back in March 2017.
Ledger announced a few months ago technology partnerships with established technology leaders including Intel and Gemalto, aiming at delivering high-assurance security infrastructure for crypto assets applications.
Founded in 2014, Ledger is a leader in security and infrastructure solutions for cryptocurrencies and blockchain applications. Headquartered in Paris and San Francisco, Ledger has a team of 82 professionals developing a variety of products and services to safeguard cryptocurrency assets for individuals and companies – including the Ledger hardware wallets line already sold in 165 countries. www.ledger.fr
ABOUT DRAPER ESPRIT
Draper Esprit is one of the most active venture capital firms in Europe, developing and investing in disruptive, high growth technology companies. We believe the best entrepreneurs in Europe are capable of building the global businesses of the future. We fuel their growth with long- term capital, access to international networks and decades of experience building businesses. We back ambitious teams including Trustpilot, Graze, Perkbox, PushDoctor and Graphcore. In order to provide entrepreneurs with a more flexible approach to funding and to back them for longer, we re-invented the traditional venture capital by ourselves going public in 2016. www.draperesprit.com
ABOUT DRAPER NETWORK
The Draper Venture Network (DVN) is an alliance of independent venture capital funds located in tech hubs across the globe. Formed in 1990 by renowned investor Tim Draper, DVN has been at the forefront of technology breakthroughs with standout investments such as Hotmail, Skype, Baidu, Tesla, and is now leading the cryptocurrency revolution with companies such as Coinbase and Ledger. The DVN portfolio includes over 500 companies located in 60 cities across the world. www.drapernetwork.com
ABOUT FIRSTMARK CAPITAL
FirstMark Capital is an early stage venture capital firm based in New York City. Our mission is to partner with exceptional entrepreneurs who are changing the world by solving meaningful problems. We have built a deeply engaged community among the extraordinary teams in our network to spread ideas and opportunities. We are privileged to work alongside the founders of remarkable businesses like Pinterest, Shopify, Riot Games, InVision, Airbnb, and dozens more. Visit us in New York City or online at firstmarkcap.com and @firstmarkcap.
ABOUT CATHAY INNOVATION
Cathay Innovation is a global venture capital fund, created in affiliation with Cathay Capital Private Equity. It was founded around the shared conviction that supporting digital entrepreneurs by providing them with a platform bridging 3 continents – North America, Europe and China – constitutes a particularly powerful value-creation strategy. As a multi-stage fund, Cathay Innovation partners with visionary entrepreneurs, committed to driving change through technology. Such transformation is accelerated by leveraging Cathay Capital Private Equity’s extensive network with corporates and solid experience in operational excellence. Cathay Innovation has offices in San Francisco, Paris, Beijing and Shanghai. www.cathayinnovation.com
ABOUT KORELYA CAPITAL
Founded and chaired by Fleur Pellerin, former Minister in charge of Digital Economy and former Minister of Culture, Korelya Capital is a VC fund with an investment capacity of €200 million. It supports French and European technology start-ups in their development with the ambition to create unicorns in Europe. It also offers them an opportunity to develop in Asia through the experience of NAVER and its subsidiary LINE. www.korelyacapital.com