SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - Oct 20, 2014) - Bitnet Technologies (https://www.bitnet.io/), which provides a digital commerce platform designed to enable enterprise-scale merchants to accept bitcoin payments, today announced it has closed a $14.5 million Series A funding round led by Highland Capital Partners. In addition to Highland, new investors include Rakuten, the largest ecommerce site in Japan and one of the world's largest by sales. The funding comes as Bitnet launches its platform and builds teams for sales, marketing and customer support. Bitnet, currently with offices in San Francisco, California and Belfast, Northern Ireland, also plans to expand its physical presence into continental Europe and Asia. As part of the funding round, Peter Bell, Partner at Highland Capital Partners, will join Bitnet's board of directors.
Founded in January 2014 by John McDonnell (CEO) and Stephen Mc Namara (CTO), Bitnet is comprised of 27 payments industry veterans with extensive technical and executive backgrounds at CyberSource and Visa. Bitnet's engineering, product, and business development team helped build and manage the world's largest payment gateway, CyberSource, which was sold to the world's largest payment network, Visa, for $2 billion in 2010.
The promise of bitcoin interested Bitnet's founders as a universal payment network and currency designed for global ecommerce. In a world with credit card transaction fees hitting merchants' bottom lines and cross-border fees creating barriers to commerce, distributed trust systems like Bitcoin have the potential to disrupt established payment systems and offer significant benefits for merchants and consumers. Bitcoin is open-source and decentralized, with no issuing authority or centralized control, operating peer-to-peer through cash-like push transactions with no intermediary or clearing house required. For a low transaction fee (under 1%), Bitnet will provide merchants with guaranteed payment, instant global reach with no cross-border fees, no price volatility, and no fraud, risk or chargebacks.
"John, Stephen, and the team they have assembled are the epitome of what we mean when we talk about partnering with innovative entrepreneurs who have the ambition to build disruptive, market-leading companies," said Peter Bell of Highland Capital Partners. "Bitnet is breaking down the barriers of digital currency transactions and has the potential to transform the way we exchange goods and services around the world."
Bitnet differentiates itself among digital commerce platforms with a deep understanding, gained by the team over their years at CyberSource, of the needs of enterprise merchants, developers and partners, and by providing the technology that delivers the level of reliability and functionality they require. Businesses dealing with a high volume of payment transactions and complex back-end financial applications need a bitcoin payment platform that they can trust and depend on. Large retailers have already demonstrated demand for Bitnet's solution, which allows for the acceptance of bitcoin at scale with 99.999% reliability and without risk -- and is built to interface with the systems the retailers already have in place.
"We are listening to the world's largest merchants," said John McDonnell, Co-Founder & CEO, Bitnet. "Many of these bigger companies have looked at existing solutions and have remained on the sidelines -- until now. With Bitnet, we're building the integrations, systems and technologies that multi-national retailers and travel companies need in order to accept bitcoin. Being scalable and integrating with existing payment systems and commerce platforms are what's important to them. Uptime is critical, as are integrated reporting and reconciliation capabilities. Bitnet removes the risk of accepting bitcoin, allowing merchants to take payments with zero liability -- no fraud, no chargebacks, and no false declines. Bitcoin is digital cash, and it's the first payment system specifically developed for the Internet. Merchants appreciate that, and they're understandably very excited."
Bitnet's platform includes developer-focused RESTful hypermedia APIs and SDKs, an easy to implement hosted Checkout product and prebuilt integrations to key third party software systems. Bitnet will also offer advanced analytics with programmatic access to reports designed to help automate merchant reconciliation within their accounting and ERP systems.
In addition to large retailers, Bitnet is working with financial institutions, payment service providers, international trade organizations and airlines to provide Bitnet's reliable, high-volume bitcoin payment acceptance solution.
Along with Rakuten, co-investors in this Series A round include FinTech and crypto-currency experts: Webb Investment Network, founded by Maynard Webb (board member of Yahoo and Visa); Bitcoin Opportunity Corp. (Barry Silbert); Stephens Investment Management (Bart and Brad Stephens); Commerce Ventures (Dan Rosen); Buchanan Capital Management (Tad Buchanan); venture capitalist Stuart Peterson; Bill McKiernan, Bitnet chairman and founder of CyberSource; Carl Pascarella, former CEO of Visa; and Jack McDonnell, founder of TNS.
Bitnet provides a digital commerce platform enabling enterprise-scale merchants to accept bitcoin payments. Bitnet's engineering, product, and business development team helped build and manage the world's largest payment gateway, CyberSource, which was sold to the world's largest payment network, Visa, for $2 billion in 2010. Bitnet has offices in San Francisco, California and Belfast, Northern Ireland. For more information visit https://www.bitnet.io.
About Highland Capital Partners
Founded in 1988, Highland Capital Partners is a global venture capital firm focused on putting the entrepreneur first. With offices in Silicon Valley, Boston and Shanghai, Highland has raised over $3 billion in committed capital and invested in more than 225 companies, resulting in category-defining businesses across consumer and enterprise technology. Investments include 2U, Ask Jeeves, Bromium, Gigamon, Leap Motion, LevelUp, Lycos, MapQuest, Nebula, QD Vision, Qihoo 360, Quattro Wireless, RentJuice, Rent the Runway, Starent Networks, Sybase, Violin Memory, VistaPrint and WePay.