Berlin-based peer-to-peer bitcoin lending platform Bitbond – which enables users to secure a personal or small business loan without a bank account from anywhere in the world – has sealed seed funding worth €200,000. The round is being led by early-stage VC Point Nine Capital, with BillPay CEO Nelson Holzner also contributing.
Bitbond will use the money to build a team of programmers, improve the functionality of its platform and ramp up its marketing activities.
The platform works by first rigorously examining small business owners seeking financing to determine their creditworthiness. Once they have been approved, borrowers are listed on the site and can apply for either short- or long-term loans from individual lenders.
This direct connection between borrowers and lenders cuts out the middleman in the shape of a bank making it financially more attractive for both, and using bitcoin makes the process easier on a global level as well – and users only need an Internet connection, rather than requiring a bank account.
“This seed funding round will help us reach our goal of making financing and investing in businesses globally accessible and independent of the banking system,” said Bitbond CEO and founder Radoslav Albrecht. “We are looking forward to having Point Nine Capital and Nelson Holzner on board as both have extensive experience in the fintech space.”
Earlier this year, Albrecht spoke with Silicon Allee ahead of his talk at re:publica and insisted that the concept of a virtual currency could win over the masses. He said: “Just from the pure facts, using P2P lending either as a borrower or as a lender, this is by far better than being a customer of your bank.”
That’s a view shared at Point Nine, which has made Bitbond its first investment in a bitcoin-related startup. Pawel Chudzinski, co-founder and managing partner of the fund, said: “Our investment in Bitbond is a great fit for our strategy to invest in marketplace models and fintech startups. We are excited to see bitcoin being applied to create an international loan marketplace. The founding team has strong expertise in bitcoin, tech and finance, which played a crucial role in our investment decision.”
Having been founded in January 2013, Bitbond has already facilitated nearly 200 loans since it launched as a product 13 months ago, with users in more than 100 countries.