‘Blockchain Revolution’ Co-Author Tapscott Plans IPO for VC Firm

  • NextBlock Global has invested in blockchain startups like Aion
  • Listing is planned for 2017 on Toronto Stock Exchange

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NextBlock Global Ltd., the venture-capital firm that invests in blockchain startups, plans to raise $50 million in an initial public offering this year on the Toronto Stock Exchange, Chief Executive Officer Alex Tapscott said.

If successful, the offering will make NextBlock an easy way for regular folks to invest in blockchain technology, which has been making waves and could revolutionize fields ranging from finance to supply chain management. Today, small investors are mostly limited to buying related digital currencies, like bitcoin, to gain exposure to blockchain.

Tapscott is a co-author, together with his father, of “Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World.” The duo has championed the technology as a way to increase transparency and speed up transactions in finance and other industries.

Started in May, Toronto-based NextBlock has already raised $20 million from institutional and high net worth investors, including bankers from Merrill Lynch and a former chairman of one of the world’s largest banks, according to Tapscott, who declined to provide names in a phone interview. The company has invested in several ventures focused on developing blockchain technology, such as Aion, Cosmos and Icon, and eventually plans to hold 10 to 20 investments at any given time, he said.

NextBlock helps entrepreneurs find partners and markets, as well as to go through initial coin offerings, which have become a popular -- if controversial -- way for startups to raise money. NextBlock has four full-time employees and plans to grow to more than 10 within a year, Tapscott said.

NextBlock is close to selecting bankers -- likely a Canadian bank -- to take it public, Tapscott said. The IPO is expected before the end of 2017, he said.

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