Santander InnoVentures, the $100 million fintech venture capital fund of Santander Group, in partnership with Onevest, a leader in the startup ecosystem operating CoFoundersLab and 1000 Angels, today announced Cambridge Blockchain as the winner of its Distributed Ledger (DL) Challenge. Massachusetts based Cambridge Blockchain was among five finalists, selected from more than 100 applications, to pitch directly to the judging panel at the Challenge final in New York on 27th January.
The Cambridge Blockchain team will now receive a $15,000 cash prize to help it take its ideas forward in preparation for potential angel investment. They will also be given access to market and technology experts at Santander InnoVentures and its parent, the Santander Group, while Onevest will provide mentorship and guidance before presenting the winner to its 1000 Angels private investor community to pitch for ongoing funding.
“Winning is a huge endorsement for all our ideas and hard work,” commented Matthew Commons, Chief Executive Officer at Cambridge Blockchain. “The deep knowledge of the judging panel and the quality of the other finalists was amazing. We are really excited to now be working with Santander and Onevest to help us move our business to the next level.”
To ensure each applicant was reviewed carefully and that the most innovative were selected as finalists, entries were considered by a judging panel of industry experts. The panel, headed by Managing Partner at Santander InnoVentures Mariano Belinky, included Santander executives Julio Faura and Juan Jimenez Zaballos, as well as proven DL and blockchain entrepreneurs James Smith (Elliptic), Greg Schvey (TradeBlock), Peter Smith (Blockchain), Chris Larsen (Ripple) and Pascal Bouvier (experienced fintech VC and Venture Partner at Santander InnoVentures).
“We were extremely impressed by the quality of applicants entering the DL Challenge,” observed Chris Larsen, founder and CEO of Ripple and a member of the judging panel. “With Santander InnoVentures as one of our recent investors, I can say with complete confidence that Mariano and the team not only deeply understand DL technology, but also how to practically apply it to solve real world use cases today – Cambridge Blockchain should make the most of the expertise and technology now available to them.”
The DL Challenge finalists were, second placed Midasium – a real estate property management solution, third placed Ribbit.me – a loyalty and rewards solution, Coinprism – a clearing and settlement solution and ExiVest – a marketplace for private stock equity transactions.
“DL technology is a hugely exciting space in financial services currently – we’re thrilled to see so much innovation happening at startup level,” explained Mariano Belinky, Managing Partner at Santander InnoVentures. “The technology has great potential across various use cases, and we hope to ultimately adopt these to the benefit of Santander’s customers. We’re very excited to see how Cambridge Blockchain progresses and to offer guidance along the way.”
The DL Challenge is an open competition to encourage and support early stage startups using distributed ledger technologies in the financial services industry, aimed at startups worldwide. The Challenge seeks to identify and support innovative applications for using DL and blockchain technologies to improve the processes and operation of the banking industry.