(Bloomberg) -- Blockchain security firm Halborn has raised $90 million, the company told Bloomberg News. The deal is an outlier in a climate where venture capital investing in crypto startups has slowed and digital currency prices have nosedived.
Summit Partners led the Series A financing for Miami-based Halborn, which also included Castle Island Ventures, Digital Currency Group and Brevan Howard. The three-year-old startup declined to disclose its valuation.
Many crypto-adjacent companies have recently looked to raise money at lower valuations and have laid off employees as the prices of currencies like Bitcoin and Ether plummet. But Halborn Chief Executive Officer Rob Behnke says the startup’s focus on cybersecurity gives it some immunity to the chill of the crypto winter.
“The price of crypto has nothing to do with our business,” he said in an interview. “What really matters is that the entire industry is growing.”
And, critically, people keep trying to steal cryptocurrency. Halborn has seen demand for the company’s services increase over the past year as high-profile hacks have rocked the industry, Behnke said. The more than 100-person startup aims to prevent these exploits, such as a $620 million attack in March involving nonfungible token game Axie Infinity, by assessing the code underpinning blockchain platforms for vulnerabilities and developing security measures.
The startup even spotted a flaw in the popular MetaMask crypto wallet that was announced last month. “We've held onto that for like almost a year until they had it fixed,” Halborn co-founder and Chief Information Security Officer Steve Walbroehl said in an interview.
The company works with Coinbase Global Inc., the Solana blockchain and Ava Labs, developer of the Avalanche blockchain. It even educates non-crypto companies like Amazon.com Inc., BNY Mellon and Nike Inc. on how to use and secure crypto. Halborn also advises VC firms, family offices and banks on the risk level of crypto projects.
“They really want to make sure they don’t get hacked and lose all their money,” Behnke said.
When deciding whether to back Halborn, Matthew Hamilton, managing director at Summit Partners, said in an interview that the private equity firm believed that demand for the company’s security services would increase over time, since the crypto industry is still relatively young.
Halborn represents Summit’s first blockchain investment, and Hamilton even sees advantages to the industry’s current crypto winter: “It's a necessary separation of the good ideas from the bad,” he said.
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