Swiss investment firm 21.co has raised $25 million in its latest funding round, valuing the company at $2 billion.
21.co is the parent company of 21Shares, arguably best known for its failed attempts to bring a Bitcoin spot ETF to the U.S. The company is highly successful when the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is not curbing its ambitions; the firm acquired over $650 million in new assets over the past year.
In May 2021 Cathie Wood, of Ark Investments, joined the board of Amun, the previous name for the parent company of 21Shares.
Swiss money pot
With another $25 million of working capital to play with, 21.co can now look ahead to building for the future and driving growth. The company is now “largest crypto unicorn” in Switzerland, and has the war chest to match.
“With this round of financing, 21.co will continue to drive rapid, targeted growth through first-of-their-kind products, key market expansions and strategic talent acquisitions,” said the company in a statement reported by Reuters.
21.co has made significant investment in talent since Sept of last year, with the company headcount growing by 75%. Major additions to the firm include Sherif El-Haddad, who leads the Middle East team from out of Dubai. With additional capital to play with the firm can now redouble its recruitment drive.
Collab+Currency, Quiet Ventures, ETFS Capital and Valor Equity Partners were among the investors who participated in the latest raise led by Marshall Wace.
21Shares ended 2021 with “nine-figure revenue run rate” that made the company extremely attractive to inward investment. Assets under management peaked in Nov 2021 at just over $3 billion.
Troubling times with SEC
21Shares has enjoyed a highly successful 12-month period, but it hasn’t all been clear sailing for the firm. In Feb, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rejected its proposal for a Bitcoin spot ETF which it made in collaboration with Cathie Wood’s Ark Investments.
The SEC cited a lack of adequate investor protection as the reason for its rejection.
The 21Shares/Ark Investment ETF finds itself in good company. The SEC has also rejected BTC spot ETFs for WisdomTree, One River Asset Management, VanEck, NYDIG, and Fidelity.
Hestor Pierce, former counsel to the SEC Commissioner Hester Pierce, summed up the situation succinctly in an episode of the Unchained Podcast in May when he said, “It’s a source of great frustration for folks in the industry and for me personally.”
In March, Grayscale CEO Michael Sonnenshein went further, suggesting he may yet bring a lawsuit against the SEC should ETF rejections continue.
Swiss crypto hub
21.co is now at the vanguard of the Swiss cryptocurrency industry, which itself is one of the major global hubs for the sector.
In Feb 2021 the country passed a blockchain law with the aim of providing a clear regulatory framework for the industry. It is estimated there are around 960 crypto start-ups in the country, with almost half of those located in the picturesque town of Zug – dubbed “Crypto Valley.”
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