Blockchain Intelligence Firm Chainalysis Raises $30 Million From Accel, Others

… had grown threefold since April 2018, when it raised $16 million from Benchmark Capital to increase the number of cryptocurrencies it monitors.

New York-based blockchain intelligence firm Chainalysis has raised $30 million in a Series B funding round led by venture capital giant Accel, the company confirmed in a post on Feb. 12.

The fresh funding will reportedly be used to expand Chainalysis’ corporate operations, which include a proprietary Know Your Customer (KYC) product that allows financial institutions and digital asset trading platforms to vet and verify the identity of their clients.

The firm reports that the latest funding round was led by Accel, “with participation from existing investors.”

Chainalysis reports that it also plans to open an office devoted to research and development in London, with Accel partner Philippe Botteri set to join the firm’s board of directors.

In an interview with American business magazine Fortune, Chainalysis CEO Michael Gronager revealed that whereas 90 percent of the firm’s revenue formerly came from clients in the law enforcement sector — who used Chainalysis’ blockchain analytics tools to track illicit use of cryptocurrencies — corporate clients now comprise the lion’s share of the business, at 60 percent.

Aside from diversifying research and products, Gronager told Fortune that Chainalysis was benefiting from the momentum of the burgeoning stablecoin sector. As previously reported, 2018 saw the proliferatingissuance and adoption of new stablecoins — a type of crypto asset designed to experience less price volatility — either by being notionally fiat-collateralized or via an algorithmic peg.

Chainalysis’ CEO remarked:

“Born out of the ashes of [the crypto bear market and Initial Coin Offering downturn] was the stablecoin as another way to easily and safely create tokens. This ability to trade U.S. dollars against crypto is very powerful.”

While not disclosing financial specifics, Gronager told Fortune that Chainalysis’ revenue had grown threefold since April 2018, when it raised $16 million from Benchmark Capital to increase the number of cryptocurrencies it monitors. However, the company is yet to become profitable, he noted.

As reported, Chainalysis also conducts research into the blockchain sector. This January, a report from the firm argued that two — likely still active — organized hacker groups have reportedly stolen $1 billion in cryptocurrency, accounting for the majority of funds lost in crypto-related scams.

Chainalysis’ co-founder and COO, Jonathan Levin, notably declined to comment as to whether the firm had contributed to the U.S. Department of Justice investigation into the alleged use of Bitcoin (BTC) to fund purported interference in the U.S. 2016 presidential elections. In connection with said allegations, twelve Russian intelligence officers were indicted in July 2018.

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India: Accel India Invests $1 Million in Blockchain-Based Loan Facilitating Startup

Prayank Swaroop, a principal at Accel Partners, said that although the VC firm has been eyeing the Indian blockchain sector “for the longest time,” it …
Reading Time: 2minutesbyonFebruary 1, 2019&nbspAdoption, Blockchain, Business, Finance, Investment, News

According to a report by VCCircle published on January 31, 2019, venture capital firm Accel India has invested $1 million in startup StreamSource, a blockchain-based marketplace for unsecured personal loans.

Blockchain Finds Use Case in Anonymous Loan Market

An increasing number of blockchain-based companies are trying to find their footing in India. Being one of the fastest growing economies, the Indian market is an alluring one for startups looking to breakeven in a short period of time.

Per sources close to the matter, StreamSource is Accel India’s first investment in the Indian blockchain sector.

StreamSource was founded in May 2018 by co-founders Mayank Tewari and Prerit Srivastava. The DLT-powered platform enables lenders to work in unison without divulging any confidential information. The veil of anonymity also covers borrowers as they seek funds from lenders without having to provide any critical information about themselves.

Mayank Tewari, co-founder of Streamsource shared his thoughts on the firm’s process model. He said:

“Both parties are completely private and do not share confidential information with each other. Both sides are protecting their data, while still transacting with each other.”

StreamSource is headquartered in New York and has a branch in India in the city of Gurugram. The firm is said to be in talks with mid-size lenders in the U.S. However, it did not disclose the names of these lenders.

With regard to the utilization of funds, the company stated that it will use the capital to further develop its offering. The firm added that it also has plans to expand its sales team in the U.S. and hire local talent in developed markets like the UK and Australia.

Prayank Swaroop, a principal at Accel Partners, said that although the VC firm has been eyeing the Indian blockchain sector “for the longest time,” it wasn’t sold on any of the ideas presented to it. StreamSource’s business model gave the firm the confidence required to finally invest in them.

Blockchain Investment Continues to Rise in India

India’s government push towards digitization of the country reflects in the booming technology industry in the country. The government and private organizations have shown immense faith in blockchain technology in recent times.

As previously written by BTCManager on January 24, 2019, RBI’s R&D division, named The Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT), unveiled a blueprint for the deployment of DLT in India’s long-untouched banking sector.

On a more recent note, a consortium comprised of 11 Indian banks and financial institutions launched a blockchain-based funding network to help small and middle-level enterprises secure funds in a transparent manner.

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Eller alum discusses how students can build a “startup ecosystem”

Then he changed his career to venture capital and became the general partner at Accel, formerly Accel Partners, in Silicon Valley.

Successful investors in Tucson shared their experiences and opinions with business students and community members at the University of Arizona Student Union Memorial Center North Ballroom on Tuesday, Jan. 29.

The Eller College of Management held the Dean’s Speaker Series “Building a Startup Ecosystem” with three guest speakers: Mara Aspinall from BlueStone Venture Partners, Fletcher McCusker from UAVenture Capital and keynote Andrew Braccia from Accel Partners. Braccia and McCusker are UA alumni.

RELATED: McGuirre Center introduces new Entrepreneurship and Innovation minor

Eller encouraged its students to come as well as the public.

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“Our major invited everybody to attend this event,” said Michelle Mendoza, a senior double majoring in marketing and entrepreneurship. “I also have been to a previous [Dean’s] Speaker Series, and I thought it was really fascinating. So I was really excited to come to this event as well.”

According to Eller’s assistant director of special events, Jamie Odom, about 550 people registered to the event: 250 students and 200 members from the Tucson community. She said the guest speakers had experience in multiple industries, including healthcare and social media fields, which attracted such a large number of people to the event.

“I think it’s a really good opportunity for [students] to hear from the alumnus who started from the bottom and built his way up in venture capitalism,” Odom said. “I hope the students are inspired and kind of are able to apply his tips that he shares throughout the night to their own moves, whatever they want to do next.”

The event consisted of three parts: The participants first gathered and enjoyed conversations and food. Then Dean of Eller Paulo Goes conducted a question and answer session with Braccia. Finally, all the guests took part in a round table discussion.

Braccia worked at Yahoo in several executive roles for approximately 10 years after graduating with a bachelor’s of science in business administration in marketing in 1998. Then he changed his career to venture capital and became the general partner at Accel, formerly Accel Partners, in Silicon Valley.

Accel has invested in many big technology companies such as Dropbox and Slack during their early stage for 35 years. It was also the earliest investor in Facebook, according to Fortune.com.

Braccia said that the nature of technology and its open-source ethos have been changing the business situation in the technological industry. The center of technology used to be Silicon Valley, but now individuals can access and connect from everywhere. It means people can start technology companies anywhere in the U.S.

Building an ecosystem is helpful when starting a company, Braccia said.

In this context, ecosystem refers to the connection among people, including mentorship. They may find new opportunities, ideas or customers via ecosystem.

“Starting a company is a really lonely thing to do. It’s a really hard thing to do,” Braccia said. “So, the more that you have the network and community of people that embolden you and help you along the way, the more likely it is that you’re gonna be successful.”

RELATED: New entrepreneurship director brings startup experience to Eller

When people get help from mentors and become successful, they tend to have the desire to mentor others to give back to the community. This generation-to-generation network is the ecosystem, and the community around universities is a great environment, according to Braccia.

The ECM will publish the video of this event on YouTube within the next few weeks.


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This Australian HR Startup Raises $22.5 million After 17 years of Bootstrapping

… attracted interest of Accel-KKR, which began as a partnership between venture capital royalty Accel Partners and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts in 2000.
January 30, 2019 3 min read

Sydney-based human resource (HR) tech startup Humanforce has raised $22.5 million in its first round of funding, after 17 years of bootstrapping the business. The funding, which was led by Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm Accel-KKR, will be used for expansion in Europe, Asia and North America.

Founded in 2002, the workforce management firm helps employees manage hours, rostering, and payroll data through its Software as a Service (SaaS)-based workforce management tool. The startup is founded by Bruce Mackenzie, who is also the managing director of the firm. According to Mackenzie, what differentiates Humanforce from other HR tech startups is their focus on gig workers and flexible workforce.

Flexible Workforce

The single-handedly founded company by Mackenzie went through several highs and lows in its incredible journey of 17 years. In its first three-four years, the startups achieved its 40 per cent revenue growth year-on-year. Seeing the trend of gig workers picking up in Australia, the startup cashed in on the idea of working on flexible workforce and pivoted to be more focused on the gig workers.

“We realised that we were on to something incredibly big, and a real change agent with the contingent workforce,” says Mackenzie in a press release.

Commenting on its first external funding, Mackenzie says, “The contingent workforce is a global revolution in the way we live and work. Today’s mobile worker presents multiple challenges for employers when it comes to tracking, planning and payment.”

“This complexity has meant that traditional tech platforms in our industry simply aren’t fit for purpose, and ultimately leave both employer and worker frustrated. Partnering with Accel-KKR, we’re excited to rapidly expand Humanforce’s capacity to revolutionise the contingent workforce,” he adds.

How the Funding will help

According to Mackenzie, the primary focus in terms of expansion is on the US. With its already successful transition to the cloud and now SaaS, the company has seen sustained growth with an ever-increasing consumer base. The company’s incredible management has attracted interest of Accel-KKR, which began as a partnership between venture capital royalty Accel Partners and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts in 2000.

It also means that it is in the right place to push into new markets. Any such expansion will cost, hence the move to take money from Accel-KKR. This is unlikely to be just about the money. Expansion also requires an understanding of the markets you are moving into. So, Accel-KKR will be providing support through Joe Porten who now has a seat on the board.

The company’s flagship product TimeTarget is aimed at hospitality and retail businesses with large numbers of casual employees. It provides a tool that digitises onboarding, time and attendance, employee rostering and employee availability schedules.

But as well as providing a service to employers, for casual workers Humanforce provides tools including an app that lets them see what shifts are available with a variety of their employers, how long it will take them to get there and how much they will make from their shift factoring in expenses like public transport costs. It competes with the likes of $US1.5 billion company Kronos and Michigan-based player WorkForce Software.

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Stanza Living eyes 50x growth in inventory in 3 years

… Sequoia Capital, Accel Partners and Matrix Partners, is set to launch operations in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune and Ahmedabad markets.
Student co-living start-up Stanza Living is looking to expand its inventory to 1 lakh beds over the next 3 years across key property markets in India from the current 2,000 beds in five micro-markets of Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR) alone.

The company’s co-founder Sandeep Dalmia, earlier associated with Goldman Sachs and Boston Consulting Group, expects the company to add at least 10 more cities to its portfolio this year.

The Delhi-based start-up, which has raised a total of $12 million so far from Sequoia Capital, Accel Partners and Matrix Partners, is set to launch operations in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune and Ahmedabad markets.

Apart from eyeing nearly 50 times growth in its inventory in three years, the Delhi-based student co-living start-up is also expecting to turn profitable over the next year.

“We are already about to launch operations in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune and Ahmedabad, and are also exploring a few other cities. So, we would be adding at least 10 more cities this year,” Dalmia told ET.

Stanza’s catchment areas are the education hubs in India where there is a high demand for student housing. Stanza prefers operating on long-term leases with landlords as it also invests substantial amounts of capital to transform and refurbish the assets to match international quality student residences.

“We also offer a range of value-added services like professional developments programs, events and activities, partnerships with local shops, restaurants, etc., which are then available to the students who are part of the Stanza community,” said Anindya Dutta, co-founder of Stanza Living.

According to industry reports, with an 11 million migratory student population, India’s student housing market is expected to be a $45 billion market by 2025. Interestingly, the student co-living market in India is much bigger than the larger co-living market which is pegged at around $10 billion.

“There was always this gap between demand and supply. Traditionally it has been a highly unorganised market with shoddy semi-furnished rooms on offer whereas what we bring to the market is quality living,” Anindya said.

The company believes the total funds raised worth $12 million so far ae likely to be sufficient for it to support its planned growth over the next 2-3 years. According to Anindya, while all the properties are profitable at unit level in the company’s third year of operation, the company expects to turn profitable at a corporate level in the next 12 months.

Since its inception in April 2017, Stanza Living has received two rounds of funding with the first round of $2 million in late 2017 from Matrix and Accel Partners. In the second round of funding, it raised $10 million in September 2018 led by Sequoia Capital with participation from existing investors Matrix and Accel Partners.

The company has grown from 100-bed in one micro-market last year to over 2,000 beds in five micro-markets in NCR. It is a tech-enabled student housing concept that offers organized serviced-housing to students, to begin with NCR, by transforming them into an experience product, in line with evolved hospitality sectors like serviced apartment and hotels.

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