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London Stock Exchange Bets on Blockchain With New Investment

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Operator of a giant stock exchange, the London Stock Exchange Group has today announced that they have invested an unspecified amount in Nivaura, a startup that lets companies issue debt on blockchain as part of an investing round that brought the startup a total of USD 20 million.

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Other companies that participated in the round include Santander InnoVentures, the Spanish bank’s venture capital arm; major law firms Linklaters and Orrick, as well as Allen & Overy; Transamerica Ventures, part of pensions and asset management giant Aegon; MiddleGame Ventures; Digital Currency Group; and Spencer Lake, formerly head of global markets at HSBC.

London-based fintech Nivaura uses a blockchain platform for issuing and administering corporate bonds, loans and equity who was also behind the world’s first automated cryptocurrency-denominated bond issuance in November 2017. They are looking to automate the whole life cycle for the issuance of these financial instruments so that a corporate can do a self-service issuance.

“Nivaura’s platform streamlines and automates the entire end-to-end process of issuing financial instruments and their ongoing administration and lifecycle management. The technology has already been deployed across multiple asset classes including private placement vanilla bonds, more complex structured products and equity,” Nivaura’s CEO, Dr. Avtar Sehra, told news outlet Euromoney.

It is estimated that the investment will allow Nivaura to rapidly expand its leadership, business development and technical teams in order to accelerate growth. Technical market professional hires should enable Nivaura to move faster to complete product development and to ramp up expertise across machine learning and natural language processing, in line with clients’ increasingly complex automation needs. The company also plans to enter new jurisdictions and to cover new asset classes.

Sehra commented: “Our focus for 2019 is on conducting a series of high profile, large-scale projects with high calibre partners to demonstrate our platform as a valuable solution across the full spectrum of capital markets primary issuance activities. Working with such partners with their wealth of experience will underpin our next phase of growth.”

Nikhil Rathi, LSEG head of international development, told news outlet Reuters that LSEG was seeking to leverage technology to develop new products, boost efficiency and support growth. “The investment strengthens our existing relationship with Nivaura and underlines the Group’s partnership approach in innovating to support our clients in accessing global investment pools,” Rathi added in a press release.

Nivaura will also be welcoming new senior hires, including Richard Cohen, senior Debt Capital Markets lawyer who will be moving from Allen & Overy to the blockchain company. The company is also onboarding investment banking veteran Spencer Lake and LSEG’s Rathi as board members.