ARCHIVE

 
 

Evonetix Raises $12.3 Million USD (£9 Million GBP) to Advance Development of Its Highly Novel Gene Synthesis Platform

Posted by Isabella Cookson, 30 Jan 2018
 

Series A round co-led by Silicon Valley investor DCVC and London-based Draper Esprit

CAMBRIDGE, England--(BUSINESS WIRE)--EVONETIX LTD (‘Evonetix’), the Cambridge-based company pioneering an innovative approach to enable scalable and high-fidelity gene synthesis, announced today that it has completed a $12.3 million (£9 million) financing to advance the development of its technology. The financing was co-led by DCVC (Data Collective) of Palo Alto, CA and European-based Draper Esprit, and included the Morningside group, alongside existing investors Providence Investment Company (Jersey), Cambridge Consultants Ltd (Cambridge, UK), Rising Tide Fund (San Francisco, CA) and Civilization Ventures (San Francisco, CA). Evonetix was founded in 2016 to develop technology that enables the parallel synthesis of DNA on silicon arrays, to facilitate the fast-emerging field of synthetic biology, where there is increasing demand for high-throughput and highly accurate DNA synthesis. The company’s platform uses an addressable silicon array to direct the synthesis of DNA at many sites in parallel, followed by an error-detection process to allow the assembly of high-fidelity DNA at scale. Matt Ocko, Managing Partner of DCVC, said: ‘This is a truly novel approach to gene synthesis that can deliver massive parallelisation with an extremely low error-rate for high-complexity RNA and DNA constructs.’ He continued, ‘We are excited to back a team and technology that can materially reduce costs and improve innovation in our own portfolio companies and multiple global industries.’ Vishal Gulati, Venture Partner at Draper Esprit, added: ‘Evonetix’s platform offers the prospect of synthesising DNA sequences accurately without limitation of size. This is the superpower that could transform the world of synthetic biology and allow us to engineer next-generation medicines and better versions of products we use every day’. Hermann Hauser, the Cambridge-based scientist and entrepreneur, commented: ‘Synthetic biology will unquestionably be the next frontier in the life sciences and provides the opportunity to fundamentally change the way in which our planet’s resources are managed, but this brings a requirement for very large amounts of DNA synthesised with high accuracy. Evonetix is developing a solution to this problem through its highly parallel and high-fidelity approach to synthesis’. Tim Brears, Evonetix CEO, said: ‘We are delighted to be supported by such high-quality investors who have a deep understanding of the requirements of synthetic biology and are committed to this important, emerging area of science, and we look forward to working with them through the next stage of the company’s development’.



 

Draper Esprit leads USD 75 million round in Ledger, the cryptoassets security company

Posted by Isabella Cookson, 18 Jan 2018
 

Draper Esprit leads an oversubscribed Series B round, with Draper Venture Network funds, FirstMark Capital, Cathay Innovation, Korelya Capital, and existing investors. Paris,18-Jan-2018 – Cryptocurrency and blockchain security company, Ledger, today announces a USD 75 million (EUR 61 million) Series B round, led by Draper Esprit. The investment will enable the company to significantly scale up its operations as demand for their products increases at pace. The USD 75 million round was led by Draper Esprit, with additional funding from Draper Venture Network funds, including Draper Associates, Draper Dragon and Boost VC, as well as FirstMark Capital, Cathay Innovation, and Korelya Capital. The round is one of the largest traditional series B investment into blockchain and cryptocurrency related technologies to date (excluding ICOs). Existing investors, CapHorn Invest, GDTRE and Digital Currency Group, also participated in the round. Seed and Series A investor Xange remains at the capital. As cryptocurrency participation has increased, so have associated security challenges. Cryptocurrency investors face a nascent landscape of exchanges, brokers and wallet providers. In this context, there are substantial opportunities to improve security and trust for participants. Ledger was founded in 2014 by an ambitious team of eight entrepreneurs who saw the potential of blockchain technology to advance the way we live and that security would be the cornerstone of its long term success. The company has been growing at a fast pace since then and now employ 82 people in San Francisco, Paris and Vierzon. The company, which is already profitable, has sold over a million cryptocurrency hardware wallets across 165 countries. They are also launching a new solution for financial institutions, the Ledger Vault, enabling banks, hedge funds and family offices to manage their crypto assets. All these products are underpinned by a unique technology: an Operating System (OS) specifically designed to run on any secure hardware and to support any cryptocurrency. This technology enables security for blockchain applications and will eventually accelerate advancement in a wide variety of industries, from the internet of things to driverless cars, where security prevents widespread adoption. Eric Larchevêque, CEO at Ledger, explained: “We initially designed our Ledger hardware wallet as an enabler for the blockchain revolution. Three years later and with this Series B, we are reaching a significant milestone in our path to build a technological giant in the promising space of cryptocurrencies. These funds will be used to keep investing significantly in R&D while scaling our operations and deploying our teams globally. I am delighted to bring on board Draper Esprit and a truly global group of investors who will support the company as it grows rapidly.” Pascal Gauthier, President at Ledger and former COO at Criteo, added: “It has been a pleasure working with Ledger, initially as seed investor and now as President. The size of the opportunity in a growing, fascinating market and the team of truly extraordinary individuals persuaded me to leave life as an investor and to re-join the corporate world. Growing this team with additional talents will be one of our main goals in the next few years.” Simon Cook, CEO at Draper Esprit, commented: “Blockchain, as evidenced by crypto assets, is a truly revolutionary technology. Security will be paramount to its success and we believe that Ledger has built the world’s best security platform to manage private keys for all blockchain and crypto asset applications. This is a global company for a global industry and we have built an international syndicate through the Draper Network to support the team in their huge ambition. We look forward to partnering with Eric, Pascal and the talented team at Ledger.” Tim Draper, Founder of DFJ, the Draper Network, and one the largest owner of Bitcoin, commented: “Ledger creates security for cryptocurrency far beyond what I get from my bank. This is where people store money now. Ledger lets me take control of my currency rather than having to ask my bank. We’re seeing digital currency blossom across every continent and so several of the Draper Network funds, from Silicon Valley, Europe and Asia have come together to fund Ledger and help them expand globally.” The executive board is now composed of Simon Cook at Draper Esprit, Fleur Pellerin at Korelya Capital, Cyril Bertrand at Xange as well as Nicolas Bacca, Pascal Gauthier, and Eric Larchevêque, respectively CTO, President and CEO at Ledger. Matt Turck at FirstMark Capital and Ming-Po Cai at Cathay Innovation are also joining as board observers. Matt Turck, Managing Director at FirstMark Capital, added: “While the price of individual digital currencies and tokens may be subject to volatility, the general crypto and blockchain space has emerged as a fundamental new paradigm that will only continue to increase in importance. Considering the massive amounts of money flowing into the ecosystem, there is no more pressing need at this stage than a bulletproof security infrastructure. Ledger has rapidly emerged as the global security leader in the crypto space for both individuals and now institutions, and has an enormous market opportunity to seize, as evidenced by its explosive growth over the last 12 months. We are thrilled to partner with such an incredible company and team.” Ledger announced a few months ago technology partnerships with established technology leaders including Intel and Gemalto, aiming at delivering high-assurance security infrastructure for crypto assets applications.