Circle Completes SeedInvest Purchase, Paving the Way for Tokenized Equities

Cryptocurrency exchange startup Circle has closed its acquisition of equity crowdfunding platform SeedInvest.

AccessTimeIconMar 4, 2019 at 7:10 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 8:57 a.m. UTC

Crypto startup Circle has closed its acquisition of the equity crowdfunding platform SeedInvest, paving the way for the company to tokenize securities in the future.

The deal, announced in October, is now officially completed after Circle obtained approval from the self-regulatory organization FINRA, the company's co-founders Sean Neville and Jeremy Allaire announced Monday in a blog post.

"The acquisition is a further step toward realizing our vision of a more open, global, connected, and inclusive financial system," they wrote. "Today [SeedInvest] are at the forefront of enabling startups to raise capital directly from investors over the internet — creating new capital formation options for startups and growth companies, and giving average retail investors the opportunity to invest directly into innovative private companies."

Although in the near term, it'll be business as usual at SeedInvest, over time "we will also explore future opportunities enabled by tokenization," Neville and Allaire wrote, explaining:

We believe that the tokenization of financial assets will ultimately unlock capital for growing companies and investment opportunities for people everywhere. Over time, more functions of private equity will be tokenized — including voting and governance, dividend payouts, and other economic features. Tokenization will also create new opportunities for businesses to build better relationships with their customers by leveraging tokens linked to ecosystem behaviors.

Dry powder

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. The entire SeedInvest team joined Circle, including the two co-founders, chief executive officer Ryan M. Feit and chief operating officer James Han. They also published a joint post on SeedInvest's webpage, emphasizing that after the acquisition, the company will keep working as usual, "focused on democratizing startup investing, just with greater resources."

Those resources would include the $250 million Circle is reportedly seeking to raise, on top of the $246 million it has cumulatively raised from investors like Goldman Sachs, IDG Capital, Accel, CICC, General Catalyst, Bitmain and Jim Breyer.

"We are confident that we can achieve significantly more and at a higher velocity with Circle," SeedInvest's co-founders wrote.

SeedInvest was founded in 2012 by Han and Feit, alumni of Morgan Stanley and Lehman Brothers, to help smaller U.S. companies raise capital. Over the seven years of its existence, the company led more than 220 fundraising campaigns with an average investment of $500,000, according to SeedInvest. The company was featured last year in Inc. Magazine's 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in the U.S., placed in the 117th position.

Circle made its previous large acquisition one year ago, purchasing the cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex for about $400 million.

Image of Circle's booth at Consensus Singapore 2018 via CoinDesk archives


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