BitAngels has announced three winners of its global startup competition, the top two of which are set to showcase at the forthcoming Money 20/20 conference in an event called CoinDebut.
India-based pre-launch mobile bitcoin wallet ZebPay received first place and best presentation; Austin, TX-based Factom, a ‘proof of existence’ technology for tracking and auditing documents through the block chain, placed second and was recognized for being the best pre-launch company; and Mountain View, California-based Rivetz, a developer of hardware-based security products for bitcoin and other protocols placed third.
CoinAgenda is a conference for bitcoin and cryptocurrency investors that takes place annually in Las Vegas close to Bitcoin Week Las Vegas, which this year included the Hashers United mining conference and Inside Bitcoins international trade show.
This year the competition, arranged in conjunction with the bitcoin angel investor group, took place on 8th–9th October. Contestants were evaluated by a judge panel that included venture capitalists Matt Roszak of Tally Capital, William Quigley from Clearstone Ventures and Pantera Capital’s Stephen Waterhouse.
Michael Terpin, CoinAgenda producer and BitAngels co-founder, said of the winners:
“We were blown away by the quality of the companies who presented. The VC panel was also quite impressed, calling it one of the best selections of early-stage bitcoin companies they’ve seen anywhere.”
Terpin said that many VCs look at the quality of the competing teams, size of the market opportunity they present and the level of defensible innovation they bring, and that all of the winners met each criterion.
He explained that the panelists appreciated the credibility that ZebPay brought to the competition.
“In the case of ZebPay, [the panelists] liked that the founding team had built successful companies before, including the largest bitcoin exchange in India,” he said.
Factom provides distributed, immutable ledgers to track transactions and claims to be able to secure thousands of transactions in a single hash and eliminate block chain ‘bloat’. In September, the company told CoinDesk that Factom was in the process of rebranding from the NotaryChains Project.
“With Factom, it was the sheer potential of being able to tie all the world’s data to the block chain in a compressed, yet searchable, format that has extensive real-world applications. From medical records to real estate, combined with a team featuring some of the top veterans of the nascent bitcoin 2.0 space.”
Finally, he said that Rivetz showed the “factors of a giant market opportunity”. The company provides wallet vendors with the first Trusted Execution Environment-secured bitcoin keys, thereby allowing users of smart phones, tablets, computers and any other devices that use the trusted computing standard to make safe transactions tied to their identity across multiple channels.
BitAngels is the first global incubator that exclusively focuses on early-stage bitcoin-related startups and the digital currency ecosystem, giving them the resources, funding and guidance by mentors in its worldwide network to begin their business and see it through fruition.
Since its inception in May 2013, it has attracted such bitcoin heavyweights as Roger Ver, Brock Pierce, Gyft CEO Vinny Lingham and Tradehill CEO Jered Kenna. At the beginning of this year it reported it had invested $7m total in 12 startups, including CoinTerra and GoCoin.
In April, it closed a 10,000 BTC fund, then valued at $4.6m, dedicated to companies working on decentralized platforms that utilize bitcoin’s block chain technology.
Images via CoinAgenda, Shutterstock