Korbit, a Korean Bitcoin startup, has raised $400,000 (about 420 Bitcoins at today’s price) from an array of Silicon Valley investors.
It has never happened before that a Korean startup has been able to secure early stage funding from such a high profile Silicon Valley investor line-up. The news that Korbit has achieved this step heralds the start of a year that has already been billed as having the best potential ever, for Korean startups. While the value of the investment may seem small by Silicon Valley standards, it marks a landmark case for East-West investment, a trend that will accelerate from this point.
Investors in Korbit include prominent Bitcoin supporters Tim Draper (DFJ), Naval Ravikant (AngelList), David Lee (SV Angel), and Barry Silbert (Bitcoin Opportunity Fund).
The Bitcoin industry is starting to gain serious traction in Korea, and the support of these global investors demonstrate that Korean companies could be at the heart of Bitcoin’s expansion globally.
“Bitcoin’s growth in Korea is remarkable for the sophistication of the public dialog around its potential for innovation and wealth creation,” said Tim Draper, going on to say that “Korbit is setting a great example for Bitcoin companies around the world by laying a healthy foundation for digital currencies in the Korean economy. Korea can play a leading role in the future of global finance by capitalizing on innovations like Bitcoin.”
Michael Yang added, “Korea is looking for new growth engines in its push for a ‘creative economy,’ and in my view Bitcoin is a great candidate to fulfill this vision. Companies such as Korbit which combine technical expertise with customer loyalty can grow to become global players.”
The investment is also significant in that Korbit’s initial contact with the investors occurred through a Korean event, beGLOBAL in Silicon Valley last September. The event was sponsored by the Ministry for ICT & Future Planning, and Tim Draper was one of the judges brought in to access the Korean companies showcasing.
beGLOBAL itself was a groundbreaking event that brought together some of the most prominent figures in the Silicon Valley ecosystem, along with some of the top startups from Korea. “The support we received from our partners in Silicon Valley was phenomenal,” commented James Jung, CEO of beSUCCESS, who organized the event. He went on to say that “beGLOBAL, clearly demonstrated that to achieve big wins for entrepreneurship there must be stronger ties between East and West. Working together with the Korean government made it all possible from a financial perspective. All in all this is such a great story of collaboration and cross-border partnership” These words ring true more than ever today, on the announcement of Korobit’s historic investment from the Valley.
Korbit CEO Tony Lyu remarked, “Korbit has already reached profitability in less than a year of operations. In order to grow our lead and global competitiveness, however, we brought in strategic investors who can add critical value in addition to their investment dollars. We’ll be leveraging their expertise in order to realize Bitcoin’s full potential in the years ahead.”
This story originally appeared on betech.asia.