Bitcoin Broker LibertyX Raises $400k for Hiring Push
LibertyX has raised more than $400,000 in funding from early-stage VC firm Project 11 as part of a seed round and its first public fundraising.
Previously operating under the name Liberty Teller, LibertyX formally rebranded this December. The name change coincided with a shift in the company’s services, from operating a small fleet of bitcoin ATMs in the greater Boston area to adding an in-person bitcoin buying network supported by 2,500 US merchants.
Co-founder Chris Yim explained that the capital will be used to grow the LibertyX team, which today consists of just three employees, while expanding its presence in the US.
Yim told CoinDesk:
"We've bootstrapped everything to-date and I am proud of what we've accomplished with just the three of us. This round will allow us to add staff to help address the growth we are experiencing across the board."
LibertyX has already put the funding to use since it was completed on 22nd December, hiring a dedicated CTO to the team. Yim said additional staff will be added in 2015.
The company is formally registered under the name Moon, and an SEC filing for the deal reveals the total funding received was $404,104.
With the move, LibertyX joins additional Project 11 portfolio companies including online catering company Phoodeez, location analytics company Locately and electronic tipping startup DigJar.
Capturing market interest
Operational for roughly one year, LibertyX has also arguably benefited from its early and timely entrance into the bitcoin market.
As Liberty Teller, for example, the group launched what is considered to be the second bitcoin ATM ever installed in the US in Boston’s South Station last February. A Lamassu model that debuted in a cigar bar in New Mexico, and was later removed, is believed to be the first.
Controversy aside, the group has remained relevant, strategically placing machines in high-profile locations near the tech-friendly campus of MIT at a time when bitcoin activity on the campus has been of international interest.
The company has also struck key partnerships both as a graduate of the MassChallenge startup accelerator and a partner of transaction processing specialist Qpay, which enables it to reach an extensive network of retail partners in its home market.
Opportunity for ATM operators
As LibertyX has quickly expanded beyond owning and operating four bitcoin ATMs, Yim expects that the move is a sign that other ATM owners may begin to announce more ambitious plans.
“Most operators today manage few machines where external funding is not necessary. But, I believe it's only a matter of time,” Yim said, alluding to new funding rounds that could occur in 2015.
Though he sees much opportunity in the space, Yim also suggested that this window of opportunity could be limited, as he predicted increased VC interest would coincide with a consolidation of market participants.
First introduced in late 2013, the bitcoin ATM sector experienced an impressive year of growth in 2014, expanding from just a few units to hundreds around the globe.
More data regarding bitcoin ATMs can be found in CoinDesk's "State of Bitcoin 2015" report.
Hiring image via Shutterstock
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