OB1, the company behind decentralized marketplace OpenBazaar, has raised US$5 million in a Series A financing. OMERS Ventures, the venture investment arm of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, led the round. Chinese bitcoin miner Bitmain Technologies Ltd also backed the financing, joining the company’s existing investors, including Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures and BlueYard Capital. Launched in 2015, New York-based OB1 is developing technologies that help give users more control over their online trade, including making purchases with digital currencies.
OB1 Raises $5 million Series A Financing to Grow World’s Largest Decentralized Marketplace
OMERS Leads Group of Top-Tier Investors Expressing Confidence in Direction of Peer-to-Peer Platform
Washington, D.C. – March 13, 2018 – OB1, the company building OpenBazaar, today announced a series A round of $5 million. The funds will help capitalize on the explosive growth that OpenBazaar has seen as blockchain and cryptocurrencies have become mainstream. OpenBazaar is the only e-commerce marketplace that offers secure, commission-free trade for both buyers and sellers.
Since the launch of the updated 2.0 platform near the end of 2017, over 40,000 nodes globally have joined the OpenBazaar network. In early 2018 OpenBazaar enhanced its value to buyers and sellers by enabling purchases with Bitcoin Cash and Zcash.
The round represents a strong validation of OB1’s stewardship of the OpenBazaar network and is led by OMERS Ventures, the venture capital arm of the OMERS pension fund. Bitmain is also contributing to this round and joins existing investors Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures, BlueYard Capital, Digital Currency Group, and angel investor William Mougayar.
“OB1 allows individuals, living anywhere, to buy and sell as part of a truly global marketplace” said Jim Orlando, Managing Partner, OMERS Ventures. “We are excited about the potential represented by OpenBazaar’s decentralized peer-to-peer protocol, and are thrilled about the various implementation paths that Brian and the rest of his team are pursuing.”
OB1 will continue to lead development of OpenBazaar to give users more flexibility and control over how they buy and sell goods and services online. Their plans for this year include releasing web and mobile versions of the application as well as giving users new ways to trade with each other, such as making requests and buying and selling cryptocurrencies. OB1 is also expanding the services it offers to users on OpenBazaar, such as the Verified Moderators program, released this week.
OB1 CEO Brian Hoffman said, “We are pleased to be partnering with both OMERS Ventures and Bitmain, adding them to a powerhouse international team of investors that are helping our team continue to build the future of free trade on the Internet worldwide. Our goal is to see the OpenBazaar protocol and software empower business owners and consumers alike to shift away from the corporate-controlled legacy systems and engage in ecommerce in a free, fair and independent way.”
Users and fans can follow the progress of this open source project and join their community on Slack, Twitter, and Reddit and download the desktop application at OpenBazaar.org
Photo courtesy of Reuters/Dado Ruvic