Is it a Bitpanda, is it the first Austrian unicorn? Peter Thiel’s Valar leads $170 million Series B round

robin@tech.eu

If Bitpanda raising $52 million last September raised a few eyebrows here and there, then some people are going to need to sit down for this one.

The Vienna, Austria-based fintech scale-up, which provides a brokering/exchange platform for trading digital assets such as cryptocurrencies and precious metals, last week closed a Series B round of $170 million, giving it a ‘unicorn’ valuation of $1.2 billion.

Early investor Valar Ventures, co-founded by Peter Thiel and a prolific investor in European fintech companies, led the round. Partner of investment firm DST Global also chipped in, but it’s unclear who else participated in this round.

Be that as it may, the boom in cryptocurrency awareness – and digital asset trading in general – in recent months have resulted in the first registered unicorn sighting over in Austria.

When the 7-year-old company closed its Series A round six months ago, it had 1.3 million users; it now boasts 2 million. In the first two months of this year, the self-described ‘neobroker’ generated the equivalent of revenue clocked in all of 2020.

The growth is impressive, but it has sadly also led the company to release statements like the fact that it “plans to continue fearlessly entering new European markets and scaling its offering sustainably.”

Fearlessly and sustainably, Bitpanda CEO Eric Demuth, said: “Becoming Austria’s first unicorn is a great achievement, and I’m incredibly proud of the team for everything we have accomplished over the past few years. It is yet another endorsement in our vision to give everyone more access and greater control over their financial future, on their terms, no matter their financial means.”

Sustainably and fearlessly, Valar Ventures founding partner James Fitzgerald, added: “Since we joined the board last September, we have continued to be impressed with the work that Eric, Paul and the team are doing. One of the positive changes caused by the pandemic was an increased interest in personal finance, and Bitpanda’s broad offer and commitment to demystifying investing for a new breed of retail investors means it is perfectly positioned to take advantage of the trend. With over 700,000 new users in just 6 months, we know that people want access to the platform, and we’re excited to bring Bitpanda to every investor in Europe.”

Bitpanda already (fearlessly) expanded into France, Spain, Turkey, Italy and Poland last year, and plans to enter additional European markets throughout 2021 and beyond.

In December 2020, the company fearlessly established a tech innovation hub in Krakow, Poland, with the objective of doubling the workforce, and it is eyeballing places like Madrid, Barcelona, London, Paris and Berlin for additional future hubs.

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