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BlockSpaces secures $5.75M for blockchain platform – St Pete Catalyst

Tampa-based blockchain firm BlockSpaces has closed a $5.75 million venture seed round. 
BlockSpaces, founded in 2017 and based out of Embarc Collective, provides a platform that eliminates barriers for companies integrating into blockchain networks and managing the complexities associated with blockchain in a business environment.
“We have been building the first layer of the platform with infrastructure components and now we will be expanding into the secondary layer-API integration,” BlockSpaces CEO and co-founder Rosa Shores said. “We had an extraordinary year and we will be doing a Series A round in 2022.” 
The seed round was led by San Francisco-based investor Leadout Capital, which has previously provided funding, with participation from GTMfund Tampa-based Druid Ventures and renowned tech investor Mark Pincus, founder of the mobile social gaming company Zynga. Brighter Capital, BlockFund Ventures and Tampa tech entrepreneur Tony DiBenedetto also participated in the round.
BlockSpaces also secured a major strategic investment from QED Investors’ seed fund, BOLT. QED is a leading global fintech venture capital firm that has backed more than 150 companies, including 20 unicorns. 
The seed round took place over four weeks. This is the company’s second financing announcement since its initial $1.25 million seed round in March 2021, which brings BlockSpaces’ total amount raised to just over $7.25 million. 
 In 2021, BlockSpaces experienced momentous growth in customer acquisition and market penetration, culminating in a 40-times increase in revenue and a 20-times increase in customers. 
“We are excited to continue to support the BlockSpaces team in building an infrastructure platform that will expand business access to blockchain-based [innovation],” Leadout General Partner Steve Brownlie said in a news release. “We believe their offering will unlock the value of blockchain projects deployed by businesses of all sizes with ease of participation in the rapid adoption and expansion of multiple use cases including decentralized finance (DeFi) and nonfungible tokens (NFT).”
As part of the funding round, Brownlie will join BlockSpaces’ Board of Directors. 
BlockSpaces’ solution allows companies and developers greater accessibility to both public and private blockchains by combining no/low code, drag-and-drop workflows, robust performance analytics, and managed blockchain infrastructure which further offers the ability to stake, scale, and deploy nodes with enterprise-grade security and monitoring, according to the release. 
“There’s a lot of excitement around Web3 right now, but there’s still a lot of work to be done,” Scott Barker, venture partner at the GTMfund, said in a release. “We believe organizations like BlockSpaces that can facilitate a bridge between the ‘old world’ and the new will have a huge impact on shaping the technology landscape over the next five to 10 years.”
With the additional funding, Shores said BlockSpaces will double its headcount over the next eight to 12 months. The firm currently has 20 employees. 
The additional 20 jobs will include positions in software engineering, DevOps engineering, customer service and sales. 
As BlockSpaces continues to grow in Tampa Bay, the firm says it will always be committed to its roots. 
“BlockSpaces has been on the ground floor of the blockchain community since around 2013. You’re seeing a lot of new companies coming here but it took a long time to see this – it may seem like it has happened overnight, but this talent has been here for a long time,” Shores said. 
She added that Cathie Wood’s ARK Invest firm relocating to St. Petersburg and the growth of other firms such as AgileThought, the Pocket Network and TrustLayer has garnered more interest in the region. 
“We are just happy to have been a part of the growth,” she said. “We will never leave Tampa Bay. For both my co-founder and I, this is where our roots are.”
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