Institutions need to keep their crypto assets somewhere. And they aren’t going to keep it on some random or consumer-grade crypto operation. This requires more sophisticated technology. Furthermore, being in the EU is going to be a key barrier to entry for many U.S. or Asia-based operations.
Thus it is that Berlin-based digital asset custody and financial services platform Finoa has closed a $22 million Series A funding round to do just that.
The round was led by Balderton Capital, alongside existing investors Coparion, Venture Stars and Signature Ventures, as well as an undisclosed investor.
Crucially, the Berlin-based startup works with Dapper Lab’s FLOW protocol, NEAR and Mina, which are fast becoming standards for crypto assets. They are going up against large players such as Anchorage, Coinbase Custody and Bitgo, exchanges like Binance and Kraken and self-custody solutions like Ledger.
Finoa says it now has more than 250 customers, including T-Systems, DeFi-natives like CoinList and financial institutions like Bankhaus Scheich.
The company says its plan to become a regulated platform for institutional investors and corporations to manage their digital assets and has received a preliminary crypto custody license and is supervised by the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin).
The company was founded in 2018 by Christopher May and Henrik Ebbing, but both had previously worked together at McKinsey and started working in blockchain in 2017.
May commented: “We are proud to have established Finoa as Europe’s leading gateway for institutional participation and incredibly excited to accelerate our growth even further. We look forward to supporting new exciting protocols and projects, empowering innovative corporate use cases, and adding additional (decentralized) financial products and services to our platform.”
Colin Hanna, principal at Balderton Capital, who leads most of Balderton's Crypto investments, said: “Chris, Henrik, and the entire Finoa team have built a deeply impressive business which bridges the highest levels of professionalism with radical innovation. As custodians of digital asset private keys, Finoa needs to be trusted both with the secure management of those keys and with the products and services that allow their clients to fully leverage the power of native digital assets. The team they have assembled is uniquely positioned to do just that.”
May added: “We identified a lack of sophisticated custody and asset servicing solutions for safeguarding and managing blockchain-based digital assets that successfully cover the needs of institutional investors. Finoa is bridging this gap by providing seamless, safe, and regulated access to the world of digital assets.
“Being in the European Union requires a fundamentally different organizational setup, and poses a very high entry to new incumbents and other players overseas. There are few that have managed to do what Finoa has done in a European context and hence why we now see ourselves in a leading position.”