|By Business Wire||
|October 30, 2013 11:02 PM EDT||
A new startup founded by Jeremy Allaire will seek to drive mainstream adoption of digital currency such as Bitcoin by bringing payment acceptance tools to merchants, and easy to use services to consumers. The company announced today it has raised a $9 million Series A from Jim Breyer, Accel Partners and General Catalyst Partners.
Jim Breyer will join the Board of Directors of Circle, as will David Orfao of General Catalyst Partners. Jim Breyer, Accel and General Catalyst were investors in Allaire’s previous company, Brightcove, the industry-leading online video platform which had a successful IPO in 2012, and where Jeremy still serves as the company’s Chairman. Allaire also was a co-founder of Allaire Corp., whose ColdFusion product pioneered the Web application development market and led to a successful IPO in 1999. Allaire Corp. was then acquired by Macromedia in 2001, where Allaire became CTO, and helped spearhead the strategy to create an application platform built around Flash.
“Bitcoin and digital currency represent a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shape the future of the Internet and global commerce,” said Jeremy Allaire, founder and chief executive officer of Circle Internet Financial, Inc. “There’s a tremendous opportunity to make payments easier, more secure and less costly for consumers and businesses. Digital currency can dramatically reduce the friction and costs currently experienced in the world by merchants and consumers.”
Circle launches amid surging interest in the promise of new global digital currencies such as Bitcoin, which can enable nearly instant payments and money transfers globally at almost no cost and with greater security and privacy than existing electronic payment methods. Like prior Internet-led disruptions of the media, communications and retail industries, Bitcoin’s disruption of payments and finance builds on open source and open standards to create resilient technology platforms that innovators can build upon.
Like the early years of the commercial Internet, digital currency today is often perceived as fringe, difficult to use, unregulated and therefore unsafe for mainstream acceptance or adoption. But like the birth of leading commercial Internet software and online service companies in the mid 1990s, Circle aims to build on the open foundations of Bitcoin to deliver exceptional consumer and merchant products that can facilitate mainstream adoption.
Founded and led by Internet entrepreneur Jeremy Allaire, and backed by world leading venture investors, Circle brings decades of technology and management leadership to the nascent but fast-growing global digital currency ecosystem.
“It is rare to find a world-class entrepreneur embarking on a path to bring innovation to the global financial marketplace,” said Jim Breyer, Partner, Accel Partners. “The dramatic global growth in mobile, social and online commerce is creating the need and potential for a real global digital currency. With Jeremy’s vision for Circle and track record as an Internet pioneer, the opportunity here is to potentially build a significant global company. I’m very pleased to be working with Jeremy again.”
Circle’s forthcoming products will include online services for both consumers and merchants seeking to adopt and use Bitcoin and digital currency for payments and money transfers.
For consumers, Circle will provide an easy-to-use service to exchange, store, send and receive digital currency. The company is building a secure architecture that will increase consumer privacy protection and provide tools for making payments and sending and receiving digital currency.
For businesses and charities, Circle will provide a suite of tools and services that allow them to accept payments in digital currency with no transaction fees. These payment tools will integrate into both online and in-person payments, lowering costs while reducing the risks of fraud and chargebacks often associated with credit and debit cards.
Circle is regulated by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”), a bureau of the U.S. Department of Treasury, as a money transmitter and is seeking appropriate state licenses. Circle also recently hired John Beccia as General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer. Beccia, former Chief Regulatory Counsel for the Financial Services Roundtable in Washington, D.C. brings decades of operating experience in banking, compliance and risk management. Circle is committed to working with key government agencies and policymakers worldwide.
Circle Internet Financial is a privately held digital currency company based in Boston and with international operations headquartered in Dublin, Ireland. The company was founded in 2013 by Internet pioneer and serial entrepreneur Jeremy Allaire. Circle is backed by venture capital leaders Jim Breyer, Accel Partners and General Catalyst Partners. For more information, please visit www.circle.com.