As it slowly emerges from stealth mode today, Circle Internet Financial has announced that it has closed a Series B $17 million financing round. The investment follows a $9 million A round last October. Following its first investment round, Circle was quiet about its plans, but appeared headed to be creating consumer tools for owning and handling bitcoins. Circle CEO, Jeremy Allaire also participated in a joint statement from leading digital currency firm leaders following the demise of MtGox, indicating that his firm’s products would be in-line with items being offered by fellow statement signees Coinbase, Blockchain.info, and Kraken.
Although secretive on its planned products, Circle generated a buzz when it announced its initial funding due to the investment at the time being the largest announced deal in the bitcoin space.
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Initial investors included Jim Breyer, Accel Partners, and General Catalyst Partners, that had participated in funding Allaire’s previous firm, Brightcove. Leading this round is Oak Investment Partners, and are being joined by Barry Silbert’s Bitcoin Oppurtunity Fund, and Pantera Capital. Also investing were individuals from the payment and financial space including former SWIFT CEO Leonard H. Schrank, Circle board member M. Michele Burns, Fenway Summers, and Raj Date.
Simultaneous with the funding announcement, Circle has begun to release its consumer product to a limited group of users, with its wide-scale general launch expected later this year. Although limiting information about the release, in its public statement, Circle commented “The company’s forthcoming products, which entered limited availability release today, promise to allow consumers and businesses to use digital currency easily, reducing much of the friction and risk that is currently associated with Bitcoin.”
Commenting on the news, Allaire stated “We are thrilled to have such a strong showing of support and vote of confidence from world-class investors and strategic individuals as we move into the commercial phase of Circle. With accelerating consumer and business interest in digital currency all around the world, it’s critical that we have the capital and leadership team to execute on our vision for consumer finance and global payments built on Bitcoin.”