Coinapult, a Bitcoin wallet startup based in Panama, has raised $775,000 in venture capital with backing from FirstMark and plans to use the funds to reach new markets.
Coinapult will focus on marketing its Locks product, which links the value of a user's bitcoin to a stable asset, said Ira Miller, Coinapult's CEO, in an interview. Major countries in Latin America, including Argentina and Venezuela, and smaller markets in the Caribbean are on Coinapult's radar for expansion.
"In the developing world something like 7% of people have credit cards," said Miller. He sees this as a more important measure of Bitcoin's opportunity than the banked vs. unbanked ratio, because credit cards are specifically for spending. "Bitcoin is more competing with credit cards than bank accounts," he said.
Coinapult will participate in next year's Bit Drop on March 14, which will send bitcoin via text message to every resident of the Caribbean commonwealth Dominica. Miller said Coinapult plans on sending $10 to Dominica's more than 70,000 residents.
"This is a very exciting time for the Bitcoin industry as it approaches a critical mass, and Coinapult is in a very strong position," said Lawrence D. Lenihan, founder and managing director of FirstMark, in an Oct. 1 press release. "Their industry expertise, cutting-edge technology and vision for delivering Bitcoin to the masses will catalyze mainstream adoption and capture the emerging global market."
FirstMark is a mainstream venture capital firm with a portfolio that includes companies such as Pinterest, Shopify and Riot Games, the developer of League of Legends. Other investors in the round include the Bitcoin Opportunity Corp. led by Bitcoin enthusiast Barry Silbert; and Roger Ver, an angel investor known as Bitcoin Jesus.
Coinapult is the only Bitcoin company FirstMark has invested in so far. "It's not a statement about their belief in the [Bitcoin] space but more a statement about their belief in our team," Miller said.
Coinapult Locks launched at the end of July. The service enables users to lock the value of a sum of bitcoin to gold, silver and a range of national currencies.
The company is working on improving the user interface of Locks and developing new plugins for online and mobile wallet providers. It launched a plugin with Electrum today, allowing the desktop wallet's users to access Locks from the native Electrum wallet.
Coinapult recently partnered with Payza to offer the online global payment processor's customers Bitcoin services without leaving their Payza account.