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Since I started mentoring early stage startups, by far the most questions I got was around fundraising, especially about how much to raise and how to find a valuation. This article is an attempt to demystify the process.

How much to raise

Two schools of thought:

1. Raise as little as you need

  • To get to the next step / take away risk
  • Avoid dilution at early stage (you might want to prioritize Top-Angels over a mediocre VC Fund)

2. Raise as much as you can

  • More fire power to…

On the 26th of March 2021 I announced to the company that I will no longer be the CEO of Bitwala and will move to a chairman role.

I will become chairman of the board and our wonderful CPO, Kristina, will step up to the CEO position. As co-founder of Bitwala, I’ve been here since the beginning. In fact, I’ve been here since before the beginning! I’ve seen the company grow from three people with a dog and lots of big ideas to the 150 person scale-up that we are today.

So, when I announced that I was moving from…

Neobrokers have done remarkably in recent times.

RobinHood has reached decacorn status with European players like TradeRepublic receiving massive funding rounds off their explosive growth.

And why should that be a surprise? Millennials are on the receiving end of the biggest wealth transfer in history at a time when interest rates are zero. They’ve got to put their money somewhere and a zero-fee, mobile-first broker experience is certainly going to win out over the traditional brokerage that your Dad is using.

Today, young people are flocking to neobrokers (myself included) to start investing in stocks and ETFs.

Neobrokers have only disrupted the distribution, not the infrastructure

Neobrokers have been disruptive. There’s no denying that. But when…

My 30th birthday was in a week. For many young adults, this would be a time of mixed feelings. The excitement of a celebration with friends and family, but perhaps also the concerns of getting ‘old’ and maybe even a quarter life crisis.

In my case, I didn’t have time to think about such luxuries thanks to an unexpected birthday present: thyroid cancer.

I haven’t shared this story publicly before, but I wanted to write down what happened and how I reacted. I can’t promise to write the definitive guide for dealing with all medical conditions while running a company…

Bitwala is integrating a custody wallet alongside our non-custody wallet solution. We wanted to take the time to explain what is changing, why and how it will affect our customers.

What is changing

  • All users will get a custody wallet for bitcoin and ethereum as part of their Bitwala account.
  • Users will be able to use the custody wallets to trade, deposit and send, and use the Bitcoin Interest Account.
  • Trading will be cheaper and faster from the custody wallet as there is no on-chain transaction.
  • In the future, new functionality such as spending your bitcoin directly from your card…

TL;DR Decentralised Finance (DeFi) is the recreation of financial products (e.g. derivatives) and services (e.g. lending). DeFi will innovate far faster than traditional finance, but will be unable to break out of its niche without the trappings of modern FinTech.

What has FinTech achieved in the last decade?

I am extremely grateful for FinTech. Aside from providing me employment for the last years, the use of banking and financial services are far more enjoyable now than they were a decade ago. When I first moved to Berlin, getting a bank account was a bureaucratic nightmare of paperwork and bad German. …

For most of 2015 I had three full-time jobs.

Back then I suffered chronically from ‘saying yes to everything’ syndrome and had gotten myself into a position where my workload was simply unrealistic for a human being.

Job 1: CTO & Co-Founder of Bitwala

I was responsible for the tech and product of a very early Bitwala as well as all the demands of a 3 person co-founder team.

We were still entirely bootstrapped back then and we were not paying ourselves a cent.

This is how the majority of the codebase that got us to our seed round was written.

Job 2: Founder, CEO, CTO & just about everything else of MeteorFactory

To solve the problem of having zero income from Bitwala, I decided to start freelancing. The idea was to hedge my bets: I…

In a fast paced startup, you expect your job to change. In fact, some say that if you don’t give away your Legos and it isn’t radically different every 6 months, you’re doing something wrong.

In the half-decade I’ve been working with Bitwala, we’ve scaled from 3 guys and a dog to 70 people (and multiple dogs!). I’ve witnessed a dramatic shift in the work that we do and the way that we do it.

👨👨👨➕🐶 → 👨👩✖️7️0️ ➕🐶🐕🐩

It is, however, the role of Chief Technology Officer that changes the most dramatically.

My life as CTO: 3 Phases

Phase 1: The Jack of all trades

“What a surprise, your launch is delayed?”

Celebrating our app launch

I was recently told by an engineer we were trying to recruit that he had another job offer from a company he also liked. He was making up his mind and asked me “Why Bitwala?”

I started typing away a reply and here’s roughly how it went:

1. People are happy working here

We recently rolled out the first edition of our anonymous employee satisfaction survey.

What an incredible journey.

Running a startup is not easy and few of them actually make it. Bitwala’s journey is far from over, but today we can take a breath and celebrate an incredible milestone: our company’s Series A.

Bitwala has always been the bridge

When I first walked into a Berlin co-working space in 2013, Bitcoin was €60 and no-one had heard of it. In fact, we were the first German language Bitcoin blog.

6 years later, things couldn’t be more different as the blockchain economy and ecosystem have flourished and developed beyond recognition.

Bitwala started off as a humble shopping site that let you…

Ben Jones

Co-Founder & CEO/CTO @Bitwala

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