Blythe Masters’ Startup Digital Asset Holdings Struggles to Close Funding

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by Polina Chernykh · 3 min read
Blythe Masters’ Startup Digital Asset Holdings Struggles to Close Funding
Digital Asset Holdings CEO Blythe Masters speaks about Blockchain Technology at Exponential Finance 2015 conference hosted by Singularity University. Photo: Xfinance/Flickr

Former JPMorgan’s executive Blythe Masters is reportedly facing problems while trying to raise funds for her blockchain focused startup Digital Asset Holdings.

Digital Asset Holdings, the blockchain startup run by Blythe Masters, has been having issues with securing funding as some investors refused to make a deal.

According to The New York Times, such banks as Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and Citigroup have declined to provide financing after discovering that JPMorgan was proposed better terms than other investors. Such financial services providers as Markit and Nasdaq are reluctant as well.

JPMorgan has promised Masters to become the leading investor in the round, providing $7.5 million. She is planning to raise about $35-45 million during the investment round, what will escalate the firm’s value to $100 million.

Launched this spring, the fundraising was planned to be fulfilled by the fall. None of the potential investors provided comments on the situation. Digital Asset Holdings’ chief marketing officer, Beth Shah, said information on challenges in collecting funds was incorrect but refused to give any details.

The problem is that many investors now consider there is too much hype around the tech industry. They are convinced new startups are being overpriced.

Besides, there is a number of other startups working on the development of similar services, while it is unknown whether they will succeed or not. Some argue it could require years for the blockchain technology to reach widespread adoption by banks.

The market for syndicated loans is one of the spheres Masters intends to change. She believes the use of blockchain will improve loans trading by significantly accelerating the whole process which usually takes weeks to complete.

In case with Digital Asset Holdings, investors are not sure the startup will be able to enhance the loans market. “The deal would need to improve materially for us to get involved,” said one company that planned to invest into Masters’s startup. “It’s not supercompelling.”

Masters was appointed as a head of Digital Asset Holdings earlier this year. At first, the company planned to develop financial services connected to bitcoin, among others is a sliver of a bitcoin that would track the value of a dollar. However, shortly after the Masters appointment, the startup commenced working on creating software that is not tied to bitcoin.

The company projects to develop blockchain-based software for financial organizations to trade financial assets. Besides, the startup is in plans to create instruments for converting traditional securities into digitized form.

Masters had worked for JPMorgan for 27 years, after leaving the bank last year. In March 2015, it was announced that she declined an offer to join Barclays’ investment bank in order to work at Digital Asset Holdings.

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