21 Inc., a secretive bitcoin start-up co-founded by Andreessen Horowitz partner Balaji Srinivasan, has raised $116 million in venture funding from a16z, RRE Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Data Collective, the Chinese PE firm Yuan Capital, and Qualcomm’s venture capital arm. The company also raised capital from an A-list group of angel investors, including Peter Thiel and Max Levchin of PayPal, Dropbox’s Drew Houston, and eBay co-founder Jeff Skoll. Despite market volatility, there continues to be enthusiasm among VCs for bitcoin, at least for select companies. Coinbase, a bitcoin wallet service, raised $75 million in January. Still, the funding of 21 Inc. marks the biggest raise by a bitcoin company ever. “Bitcoin is going to change the way that people and businesses and even machines interact with each other,” Srinivasan’s co-founder, Matthew Pauker, told The Wall Street Journal. “But for bitcoin to realize that vision we need mass adoption. It can’t just be for Silicon Valley.”
Do, a work and meeting productivity platform, is Nas’ latest foray into venture capital. The rapper, whose other investments include Coinbase, Rap Genius, and SeatGeek, was joined in the $2 million deal by New Enterprise Associates, Slow Ventures, Queensbridge Venture Partners, and Zynga founder Mark Pincus.
Mobile image recognition app Blippar has raised $45 million from an undisclosed group of investors. The company has previously raised money from Qualcomm Ventures and Landsowne Partners. Blippar counts Coca-Cola, General Mills, Procter & Gamble, Pepsi, and Heinz as clients, which use the platform to drive engagement with their own customers.
Westborough, Mass.-based SimpliVity, the company behind the IT infrastructure platform Omnicube, has secured $175 million in its most recent round of funding. Having now raised $276.5 million, the Series D reportedly values SimpliVity at over $1 billion. Accel Partners, Charles River Ventures, DFJ Growth, Kleiner Perkins, and Meritech Capital Partners came together to finance the deal. All five had been previous investors.