After announcing a $600,000 round of financing in February this year, Safello is at it again. This time, they’ve raised $250,000 from the Bitcoin Opportunity Corp. Started by SecondMarket Founder Barry Silbert, the Corporation has invested in over 30 other crypto-currency operations, including BitPay, CoinBase, Ripple Labs, Circle, Xapo and BitPesa. Barry Silbert, CEO and Founder of Bitcoin Opportunity Corp, expressed his excitement in a press release: "In a very short period of time, the Safello team has created a leading European platform for buying, storing and selling bitcoin. Their user and transaction growth is accelerating and I’m thrilled to join a group of fantastic investors to help support Safello’s rapid growth and ambitious product plans."
Frank Schuil, CEO and Co-founder of Safello highlights that this recent investment is part of their expansion: "We are on a mission to change the way people spend and perceive money. To accomplish this on a global scale we need to be best in class. This applies to our product, team, network and investors. Safello is honoured to have Bitcoin Opportunity Corp. on board and work with Barry Silbert who has the deep market knowledge and network required to help us pull this off."
This latest investment comes on the heels of Safello’s announcement in April that they had enabled the payment network/option SOFORT, allowing their customers to pay for their Bitcoins directly from a number of European banks by direct transfer. This meant that would-be purchasers could buy Bitcoins through Safello from Poland, Spain, Italy, Austria – most of the European Union (for a full list, see here).
The Stockholm-based startup, started in July 2013, also recently incorporated the American service Jumio into its identity recognition process. Jumio, which operates a network of Bitcoin-operators called Bitcoin Identity Security Integration Network, or BISON, as well as Netverify, uses computer vision technology to collect and validate customer personal data. What this has meant in practice is that Safello’s customers can hold up their identity document to a device camera for a quick and easy ID verification process. Moreover, the BISON network shares fraud trend information, helping Safello (and other Bitcoin sellers) avoid potential mishaps.
Overall, it looks like the big picture for Safello is that they’re emphasising transparency and security in their transactions. Schuil noted in an earlier press release that this meant both offering a more secure way to purchase Bitcoins, as well as secure storage for Bitcoins: “We have seen an increasing amount of people who no longer want to store their bitcoins at exchanges after the Mt Gox debacle,” he said. “Safello’s customers have full control over their funds at any time as orders get executed directly to the market and bitcoins are sent to the preferred bitcoin address of the customer. We think it is the safer choice for the consumer; and for Safello that's priority one.”
A PhD student and voracious reader based in Stockholm, Claire Ingram is interested in open innovation, co-creation, start-up funding, public policy and pictures of puppies on Reddit. You can contact her on Twitter @Claire_EBI.