Lightspeed Venture Partners and Wicklow Capital have led a $30m series-A round for York-based bitcoin business Blockchain, with co-investment from Richard Branson and other backers.
Mosaic Ventures, Prudence Holdings and business angels also participated in the funding round.
The funds will help the British company expand its operations – particularly in developing markets – hire new talent for its product and engineering teams, as well as tackle the major issue faced by all digital currency companies: making bitcoin mainstream.
According to reports, Lightspeed's Jeremy Liew will join Blockchain's board.
Blockchain claims to be the largest bitcoin wallet provider in the world, boasting 2.3 million accounts, compared to its nearest competitor, Coinbase, which has 1.7 million.
According to Lightspeed, Blockchain's growth also outstrips Coinbase's, having added 500,000 new accounts since July against Coinbase's 300,000.
However, Blockchain had not previously been the target of large VC investment, whereas its three main rivals have raised a total of nearly $100m in various funding rounds.
The investment comes not long after Scandinavia saw its first two VC investments in bitcoin-related businesses, with Creandum leading a $14m series-A in Swedish KnCMiner and Seed Capital backing Denmark's Coinify.
Bitcoin has been under pressure this year, with the price of bitcoin dropping steadily since a $1,100-high in December, recently dipping below $300.
Blockchain is the world's largest provider of bitcoin wallets – a storage service roughly equivalent to a bitcoin bank account – with 2.3 million clients.
Founded in August 2011, the York-based company has since reached a total transaction volume of around $26bn.
It employs 21 people across various global locations.
Partner Jeremy Liew represented Lightwing. Daniel Tierney and Stephen Schuler are the founders of Wicklow. Ben Reeves is the founder and CTO of Blockchain, while Peter Smith is the company's president, with Niicolas Cary its CEO.
This is the second deal inked by the GP via Wisequity V, which closed on its €260m hard-cap in July 2019
Pascal Meysson joins from Alcentra and has previous experience at Deutsche Bank and Charterhouse
Mirabaud is reportedly planning to invest via its Living Heritage private equity fund
HIG invested from its Growth Buyout Equity Fund III to acquire Vernacare from Palatine