Today, California-based blockchain platform provider Gem closed a $7.1 million Series A funding round led by Pelion Venture Partners with participation from KEC Ventures, Blockchain Capital, Digital Currency Group, RRE Ventures and more. The company raised $10.4 million in total funding.
Scott Kriz, CEO of Bitium, has been appointed to Gem’s Board of Directors along with Ben Dahl, a partner at Pelion Venture Partners who led the funding round. As Mr. Dahl shared, “We have been monitoring the blockchain industry looking for a company that could bridge the divide between enabling developers and their projects while also advancing blockchain use cases in larger enterprises. After spending time with Gem team and their customers, we became convinced they have the foresight, traction and leadership necessary to connect the enterprise with the efficiencies and benefits of blockchain.”
“It was obvious to us immediately (that) the Pelion team shared our vision for the future of blockchains and what would be required to get there,” said Gem Founder and CEO, Micah Winkelspecht. “We’re excited to have Ben and Pelion join the team and help us do something special,” he added.
Micah Winkelspecht, CEO and founder of Gem commented in the official press release, “We believe blockchain technology will transform how people and companies interact. It will underpin entire industries and one day produce a blockchain economy that will form the underlying architecture of our daily lives.”
Founded by blockchain thought leader, open-source contributor and community organizer Micah Winkelspecht, Gem was launched in 2014 at TCDisrupt SF's Startup Battlefield. After launching a multisignature API for developers, Gem is promoting the integration of blockchain technology in finance, healthcare and other data-reliant industries.
The blockchain and bitcoin ecosystem received nearly $1 billion in funding since 2013, according to investment bank Magister Advisors. Moreover, the number is expected to increase by another $1 billion in 2017. Gem became the first blockchain company this year to announce a round of funding. The company’s fully customizable platform that refines blockchain technology into a data management application that can be applied cross-industry is what investors found attractive and worth putting funds into.
Jeff Parkinson, Partner of KEC Ventures, expressed his excitement about the technology: “I’m really excited about blockchain ledger systems, and Gem is a great example of a company that’s fully leveraging the potential of that technology to transform the services industry.”
In 2015, blockchain technology attracted massive attention across industries that discovered a wide range of financial and non-financial use cases. Investment in Gem signifies a continuing interest in FinTech startups working with the technology. Financial institutions have been actively exploring blockchain in various ways and 2016 may become a year when they start active implementation. In fact, the last day of 2015 was a historical one for blockchain as NASDAQ claimed that its blockchain ledger technology, Linq, was able to successfully complete and record a private securities transaction—the first of its kind using blockchain technology. No doubt, successful implementation of the technology by financial industry giants will speed up the process working from top to bottom.
Earlier the same month, MIT Media Lab’s blockchain-based encrypted data marketplace, Enigma, unveiled that it is going to launch its beta version soon. Enigma will allow untrusted and anonymous participants to securely share sensitive data with a third party.
The last month of 2015 was also the time when 12 new banks joined the blockchain consortium led by startup R3 CEV. The consortium now has 42 banks. The consortium is focused on establishing protocols and standards for using blockchain technologies in financial services. As a reminder, nine banks collaborated (mid-September) to develop common standards of blockchain technology by backing a blockchain startup called R3 CEV.
The list of blockchain initiatives that took place last year can be continued, but 2016 will certainly bring even more exciting news on blockchain adoption across industries.