Ledger, a French start developing bitcoin wallet hardware, has closed a seed round for €1.3 million from a group of French investors led by XAnge Capital. They plan to use the funding to develop security solutions for private keys.
Last year, Ledger designed a hardware wallet that protects users’ keys with a secure micro-processor. The wallet allows users to avoid storing private keys on their PCs, so that if the PC is compromised hackers cannot access the keys to steal the users’ bitcoins
Ledger Wallet Nano looks like a flash drive, with dimensions of 61mm x 12mm x 4mm, and plugs into a USB port. It is compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chrome OS and even comes with a free Google Chrome application. The price of the device on the company's website is €34.80 or 0.1645 BTC.
The funding in the seed round came from XAnge Capital and other French investors, including Pascal Gauthier (former Criteo COO), Hi-Pay (Hi-Media group), Fred Potter (NetAtmo), Thibaut Faurès Fustel de Coulanges (VP Rentabiliweb Group), and Alain Tingaud Innovations.
Although the price of bitcoin has fallen dramatically over the past year, investor interest in the industry shows no signs of abating, as several bitcoin startups, including Coinbase and Colu, have closed successful seed rounds in the last two months.
Ledger CEO Eric Larchevêque shared the company’s vision of the role of VC investors in the industry with Coinfox:
“Access to capital is extremely important for startups like ours, where investments in R&D are quite heavy. Investments in the Bitcoin industry will for sure be bigger and bigger. The more it will gain traction and disrupt the incumbent actors, the more capital we'll see pour in the industry. I'm pretty sure we'll see massive investments rounds and acquisitions in 2016.”
The company is now planning to develop its product line, focussing on customers’ needs. They are planning to add new features to the hardware wallet, including integrations with NFC and BLE technologies. Ledger also intends to expand worldwide and has already opened a subsidiary startup Ledger Technology Inc in San Francisco. The company sees security solutions as essential for the mass adoption of bitcoin.
When reached out to for comment, CEO Eric Larchevêque told Coinfox:
“Enterprise solutions based on hardware security modules are planned for 2016. Acting like a Nano on steroids, Ledger’s HSM solutions will be able to control, secure and sign hundreds of transactions per seconds for exchanges, wallet APIs and enterprise payments applications.”