Mar 30, 2023
Crypto Wallet Maker Ledger Locks In Bulk of €100 Million Funding Round
(Bloomberg) -- Ledger, a startup making hardware “wallets” for crypto investors to store their digital assets, has raised the bulk of its €100 million ($109 million) funding round at first close as it benefits from turmoil elsewhere in the industry.
That values Ledger at €1.3 billion, roughly the same price tag it was given by investors through its last raise in June 2021, the Paris-based company said. A second closing is due in mid-April and a third will likely follow due to high investor interest, it said.
The demise of crypto exchanges like FTX as well as numerous large-scale hacks last year made users jittery about leaving their funds and assets on online platforms, leading to an outflow from centralized venues.
That’s a boon for companies like Ledger. Unlike digital wallets, the devices they make enable users to store their private keys — the passwords giving access to their blockchain assets — on secure hardware.
“Suddenly people were like ‘wow, to leave crypto on an exchange is actually dangerous,”’ Pascal Gauthier, Ledger’s Chief Executive Officer, said in an interview in the French capital. “And 2023 is even better for us because now you can’t even leave money at a Swiss bank.”
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The company will use the cash to grow the business by expanding its network of distributors, boosting production and developing its products, Gauthier said.
Ledger had its best month for sales in November, setting daily records in the week after FTX’s collapse, Gauthier said. Revenue for Ledger Live, the firm’s app to buy and sell crypto, have grown 200% year-on-year. Ledger says it now stores more than 20% of the world’s cryptocurrencies and 30% of the world’s non-fungible tokens.
As it pushes to expand as a consumer brand, the company has partnered with luxury houses including Fendi and Hublot, launched a platform for artists and brands to release their NFTs, and unveiled a new version of its hardware wallet designed by Tony Fadell, builder of the iPod, iPhone, and co-founder of Nest.
“The Internet was this revolution of information, and now it’s given birth to this revolution of value,” said Ian Rogers, former chief digital officer at luxury conglomerate LVMH and Ledger’s chief experience officer since January 2021. “From the speculation, to NFTs, to digital collectibles, digital tickets, digital memberships and ultimately digital identity.”
The company’s new investors include True Global Ventures, Cité Gestion SPV, Digital Finance Group, and VaynerFund. They join existing backers like 10T, Cap Horn, Morgan Creek and Cathay Innovation. Goldman Sachs Bank Europe SE acted as sole placement agent, with Jones Day as legal advisors.
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