21 is a startup in stealth mode that has raised $US116 million pre-launch to bring Bitcoin to the masses, WSJ reports. (21 is a play on the fact that that only 21 million bitcoins can be released. Coincidentally, the company was also founded 21 months ago.)
The startup is headed up by Balaji Srinivasan, a partner at one of Silicon Valley’s most respected venture capital firms, Andreessen Horowitz. He joined the firm after it led a $US25 million series B investment in 21 back in 2013. Matthew Pauker, who previously created Voltage Security and sold it to HP, is his co-founder.
Andreessen Horowitz and RRE Ventures led the round of financing for 21. Other participants include Khosla Ventures, the co-founders of eBay, PayPal, Dropbox and Zynga. Qualcomm also owns a chunk of 21, and Pauker suggests the partnership is integral to his startup’s success.
Even with its funding announced, 21 still isn’t ready to reveal its master plan for bitcoin. Investor Mar Andreessen tells WSJ that 21 is working on “core infrastructure for mainstreaming bitcoin.”
All Paulker says is to expect “interesting developments” from 21 in the upcoming months.