Diamond Standard Secures Strategic Investment From Protagonist to Accelerate Growth
Follow-On Raise from VC Fund Founded by Three Unicorn Founders Will Expand Production Capacity to $5 Billion
NEW YORK, January 30, 2023 -- Diamond Standard Inc., developer of the world’s only regulator-approved diamond commodities, today announced the closing of a strategic multi-million dollar investment by Protagonist, an early-stage investment firm founded by entrepreneurs and technologists who each founded “unicorns” – startups which achieved billion-dollar valuations or exits. Founded by George Bousis, George Ruan and Harry Hurst, Protagonist is focused on backing the most ambitious founders building the next generation of industry-leading technology companies across various sectors, including, blockchain, ai, consumer tech and software.
Protagonist's investment adds to a $30 million Series A raise for Diamond Standard in late 2022, which followed the successful launch of the Diamond Standard Fund, enabling investors to allocate to diamonds through shares, rather than holding physical diamonds directly. Last year it also announced agreements to develop diamond futures offered by MGEX™ via the CME Globex® platform, and options via MIAX™.
By positioning diamonds as a market-traded commodity, Diamond Standard unlocks a natural resource currently worth $1.2 trillion – more than all the world's silver and platinum combined. With the dual launches of the Diamond Standard Bar and Diamond Standard Fund, additional production capacity is needed to meet rapidly growing investor demand. The firm is growing its headcount and recently announced an expanded executive team to tap into growing institutional demand.
“Investors have discovered that diamonds are a newly accessible, uncorrelated asset that offers both downside protection and upside outperformance. Protagonist's investment enables us to increase our production capacity to satisfy rapidly increasing demand,” said Cormac Kinney, Founder and CEO at Diamond Standard.
"We are thrilled to welcome Protagonist as a strategic investor and look forward to a collaborative partnership as we execute our growth strategy and enter the next phase of our business development," said Greg Giannakopoulos, Managing Director and Head of Capital Markets at Diamond Standard.
The company is constructing a new diamond commodity assembly facility with $5 billion of annual capacity, in collaboration with the International Gemological Institute (IGI) in New York City. The firm's diamonds are graded by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and IGI, and company operations are internally audited by Deloitte.
“Diamond Standard is a breakthrough company founded by a visionary entrepreneur. They have unlocked one of the world’s most valuable natural resources through the commoditization of diamonds while leveraging blockchain technologies to tokenize the asset, making it immutable, transparent, and easily transferable. We're beyond excited to partner with Cormac Kinney and his exceptional team," said George Bousis, Managing Partner at Protagonist.
About Diamond Standard Inc.
Diamond Standard Inc. is the creator of the world's only regulator-approved diamond commodities. By unlocking diamonds as a market-traded asset, Diamond Standard helps investors to access a natural resource currently worth $1.2 trillion – more than all the world's silver and platinum combined. A breakthrough hard asset that can be transacted as a blockchain token, the diamond commodity provides diversification, potential inflation protection, and a new store of wealth for institutional and individual investors, while bringing transparency and efficiency to the diamond supply chain. To invest brilliantly, visit www.diamondstandard.co
Protagonist Management LLC is an early-stage investment firm focused on backing the most ambitious founders changing the paradigm. The firm incubates and invests in companies across software, artificial intelligence, fintech, consumer internet, and blockchain technologies. Protagonist manages approximately $100 million in assets across two funds. For more information, please visit www.protagonist.co.
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