Eric Demuth is the founding CEO of Bitpanda, an Austrian-based ‘neobroker’ that aims to strip away the complications of investing in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and open it up to ordinary people. Established in 2014, it recently made history when it became the first Austrian company to reach Unicorn status after picking up $170 million in funding on a valuation of $1.2 billion. Find out more about the man behind Bitpanda’s success with these ten things you didn’t know about Eric Demuth.
1. He’s got qualifications to spare
If there’s one thing Demuth isn’t lacking, it’s qualifications. Before settling into his career, Demuth studied extensively across a clutch of universities. After leaving high school, he enrolled in the Chinese Studies program at Universität Wien. From there, he continued his academic adventures with a degree in Business Administration and Management at the Vienna University of Economics and Business. Somewhere along the line, he also managed to fit in studying International Finance at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).
2. He’s traveled the world
Before settling down into the rigors of running a bitcoin company, Demuth flirted with several different career options. As he rarely gives interviews on anything other than bitcoin, not much is known about his early years. However, thanks to coinmarketcap.com, we know he spent a brief period traveling the world on container ships while working as a mechanic.
3. Bitpanda isn’t his first startup
The success of Bitpanda has propelled Demuth into the limelight, but it’s not his first entrepreneurial effort. While not a great deal is known about Demuth’s early career, we do know that following his tour of the world as a ship’s mechanic, he became active in the financial industry in London and Vienna. In 2009, he set the tone for his future when he established his first start-up.
4. He established Bitpanda in 2014
In the first few years of the 2010s, Demuth was getting increasingly frustrated with how complicated the process of buying and selling cryptocurrencies like bitcoin was. But unlike the rest of us who prefer to moan about their frustrations than do anything about them, Demuth was determined to take action. So he did. In 2014, he teamed up with Paul Klanschek and Christian Trummer to found Bitpanda, a ‘neobroker’ with a mission to simplify and decentralize the unnecessarily obscure world of investing. The company aims to remove the barriers that stop millions of potential users from investing in crypto by utilizing blockchain technology and digitized assets. At the time of its inception, Bitpanda laid out its mission statement: to empower users to shape their financial futures on their own terms. Considering it now has a customer base of over 1 million users, it seems to have succeeded in doing just that.
5. He thinks bitcoin will be an essential asset by 2025
Over the last few years, bitcoin has become increasingly mainstream. According to Demuth, the trend will continue as usability continues to improve and increased regulation helps boost the currency’s credibility. Speaking to eu.startups.com, he explained how he believes that within the next 5 years, bitcoin will become an essential asset in every investor’s portfolio, regardless of how small or large that portfolio is. “Access to those assets will be very easy and straight-forward,” he explained, adding “Bitcoin will be a must-have asset in every investor’s portfolio in 2025.”
6. He’s just made history
In March 2021, Demuth became the first Austrian start-up founder to take their company to Unicorn status. The achievement came after Bitpanda picked up $170 million in Series B funding. The round pushes the company’s valuation to $1.2 billion. Bitpanda, which is headquartered in Vienna, Austria, is the first start-up in the country to pass the $1 billion valuation mark.
7. He’s shifting Bitpanda’s focus
Bitpanda may have started life as a crypto broker but Demuth doesn’t plan on stopping there. Following the announcement that the company had reached a $1.2 billion valuation after their latest funding round, he spoke to TechCrunch about how he hopes to use the cash injection to take Bitpanda’s trading platform beyond the limitations of crypto. “We are shifting to become a pan-investment platform, not just a crypto broker,” he explained. Having already gone live in Austria, Turkey, Italy, France, Spain, and Poland, Demuth now plans to expand into Madrid, London, Paris, Barcelona, and Berlin. From April, the company plans on offering new investment options to allow people to invest smaller amounts of money in ETFs and other stocks.
8. He thinks a good business model is crucial to success
If there’s one piece of advice Demuth could offer fellow entrepreneurs, it would be to ensure their business model is sound. Speaking to eu-startups.com, he explained how, in his opinion, a good business model is vital to every successful organization, regardless of whether it’s a new venture or an established business. “As simple as it is, the main reason why founders and companies fail is that they run into the problem of there being little to no market for the product they’ve built,” he says.
9. He’s worth $300 million
Bitpanda may only have been around for 6 years, but no one can deny it’s become seriously hot property. According to the Financial Times, the company’s success has had a very positive impact on Demuth’s bank balance. Although he’s declined to confirm the exact percentage of Bitpanda he owns, it’s believed that he and fellow co-founder Paul Klanschek own the majority of the company between them. If that’s the case, it would put their respective net worths at around $300 million, at least on paper.
10. He’s committed to diversity
Fintech has long been seen as a male domain. As someone who believes that diversity is vital in encouraging creativity and innovation, Demuth is committed to ensuring Bitpanda bucks the trend and fosters a working culture built around inclusion. Of the company’s 240+ employees, around 40% are currently women. Although he recognizes there’s still work to do, he’s optimistic about making inroads into fintech’s historical diversity and inclusion problem.