BitPagos: Boost’s Latin American Bitcoin Bet

We introduced Argentine startup BitPagos, Latin America’s first bitcoin payment gateway, to our readers back in May. Just two months later, the company has no signs of slowing down. The only Latin American startup accepted to be accelerated by Boost, BitPagos is now headed to San Francisco.

Boost is the creation of Adam Draper, the fourth generation of one of the most influential families in venture capital in the United States, having backed Skype, Hotmail and Path.

Founded in 2012, the accelerator offers mentoring and seed capital as part of its three-month program. BitPagos will participate in its second edition. “In our eyes, the selection is sound in terms of product diversity. There’s no overlap, and no company competes directly with another,” remarked Sebastián Serrano, BitPagos CEO.

Each Boost startup is assigned one or two mentors, who follow the project throughout the program. Every week, the companies receive speakers from Draper University. Teams reside together in Boost-provided housing, meaning that they are, essentially, never apart.

“Each startup receives between 10 and 15 thousand dollars at the start of the program, with a 50-thousand-dollar follow-on option at the end, much like YC. The program comes to a close with a demo day, and as there is a focus on bitcoin in this group, many investors who are concentrating on that market will be present,” Serrano explained.

In this second Boost batch, seven of the 17 startups selected belong to the growing bitcoin market. Coincidence? Context? A bit of both. Draper is convinced that he can provide startups most value with a vertical focus, and bitcoin seems to be his sector of choice.

Bitcoin, Adam Draper’s Obsession

Nine months ago, Draper invested in Coinbase – something that apparently awakened his interest in the market and inspired research. Serrano affirmed, “Part of Adam’s thesis is that the 2008 financial crisis demonstrated that we live in a truly global world, but there’s no global currency. Thus, there is a huge opportunity for bitcoin to produce a disruptive transformation in currencies.”

As a cycle that feeds into itself, many investors have funded bitcoin endeavors because financing is necessary to render the currency easy to use and massive, in turn increasing its value.

Let’s not forget that a cloud of doubt remains among users, governments and private entities regarding the function and regulation of virtual currency – something that holds back many startups, investors and entrepreneurs from producing bitcoin-based products, services and tools.

Draper recently wrote that the climate surrounding the bitcoin phenomenon reminds him of the “Wild West” days of peer-to-peer sharing started by Napster. Bitcoin fever has the potential to render virtual currency commonplace. If and when that moment arrives, Boost is poised to play a central role in creating the related ecosystem.

Want to learn more about BitPagos and the potential of the bitcoin market? Check out this PulsoSocial interview (in Spanish).

This text has been adapted and translated into English by Emily Stewart from its original Spanish publication