Cryptocurrencies, blockchain, NFT and new trends

Bitcoin services startup River Financial secures $35 million from Peter Thiel, others

Companies • May 16, 2023, 9:55AM EDT

Quick Take

  • Bitcoin-focused financial services startup River Financial raised $35 million in a Series B round led by Kingsway Capital.
  • The news comes amid a bitcoin resurgence triggered, in part, by successive banking crises in the U.S.

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River Financial, a startup offering a range of Bitcoin-linked financial services, raised $35 million in a Series B round.

The fundraise was led by Kingsway Capital, with billionaire investor Peter Thiel, Cygni, Goldcrest and Valor Equity Partners all participating, according to an announcement. River did not disclose a valuation. It last raised capital in March 2021, when it secured $12 million in a round led by Goldcrest.

Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, River offers a range of Bitcoin-related services, including a brokerage with zero-fee recurring orders, custody, mining and a wallet that supports on-chain and Lightning Network transactions. It also has an enterprise API that helps companies plug into the Lightning Network — a service relied on by El Salvador’s Chivo Wallet, among others.

“We’re seeing another wave of Bitcoin interest, largely driven by business and institutional adoption,” Alex Leishman, River’s CEO, said in the statement. “It’s not hype this time. This year’s bank failures and bailouts have been a wake-up call, revealing the cracks of the traditional financial system and reminding us why Bitcoin is so important — it’s a secure path to a stronger and more transparent global economy.”

Banks in crisis

A string of bank crises in the U.S. earlier this year — among them the collapse of crypto-friendly outfits like Signature Bank, Silvergate Bank and Silicon Valley Bank — has contributed to a resurgence in the price of bitcoin. Bitcoin has risen from $16,500 at the start of the year to around $27,000 today, according to CoinGecko data.

River today employs 45 people full-time. The startup plans to use the funding injection to expand its consumer offering, as well as its Bitcoin banking solutions, Leishman said in an email. It will also continue to invest in its mining and Lightning infrastructure products.

“By focusing on Bitcoin, we are able to go deep into things like mining and Lightning that multi-coin crypto companies cannot,” he added.