Ripple Labs has raised $28 million in a Series A round backed by major China-based investors.
Leading the round were IDG Capital Partners and the venture arms of CME Group and data storage company Seagate Technology. New investors include Jerry Yang’s AME Cloud Ventures, ChinaRock Capital Management, China Growth Capital and Wicklow Capital. Other investors include Bitcoin Opportunity Corp., Core Innovation Capital, Route 66 Ventures, RRE Ventures, Vast Ventures and Venture 51.
The investment will be used by Ripple to support its envisioned expansion to Asia, particularly China. One of the lead investors, IDG, also led Circle’s recent $50 million funding round which is going towards the startup’s China expansion plans. In both cases, investors see a very different future for money and payments, and believe that Asia is going to be a major part of it. Said Li Feng, partner at IDG Capital Partners, about Ripple’s plans:
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“Growing their influence in key regions like Asia will help activate new markets, further accelerating the use of Ripple as a real-time settlement protocol by the world’s leading financial institutions.”
The investor mix carries a noticeable FinTech flavor with its inclusion of venture capital firms, technology companies and financial service providers. The leading role of CME Group, one of the largest options and futures exchanges globally, is also telling. Its participation is reminiscent of NYSE Euronext’s role in Coinbase’s $75 million round. Rumi Morales, Executive Director of CME’s Strategic Investment Group, commented:
“Ripple is transforming global settlement architecture, and its momentum in payments will give way to an expanding portfolio of use cases in the financial markets. Joining this funding round is another example of how we are investing in technologies that impact our industry.”
The investment is one of the largest in the crypto industry year to date. Overall, there have been fewer deals in 2015, but the amounts invested have been much larger than in the past. Investments in Coinbase, 21 Inc and Circle rank as the biggest ever.