With the rise of blockchain and mobile applications, the nature of financial transactions has changed drastically, and the traditional ways of handling money are slowly being phased out. The latest deals continue a streak of funding for the industry, which has recently witnessed large rounds of capital being funneled into a fairly small pool of companies.
Here's a look at the four startups changing the way you move your money around:
AnchorageVisa and Andreessen Horowitz, two backers of Facebook's controversial Libra cryptocurrency project, have participated in a $40 million Series B for Anchorage, the developer of a secure platform for institutional investors to manage their cryptocurrency. Blockchain Capital led the round for the San Francisco-based startup. It's a timely fundraise, given bitcoin's recent resurgence into the five-digit range.
Founded in 2017, Anchorage is itself a founding member of the Libra project. The startup raised a reported $17 million from backers including Andreessen Horowitz, Khosla Ventures and various individual angel investors last year, before officially launching in January. Anchorage's technology requires approval from multiple employees before transactions can be completed, similar to the famed "two-man rule" put in place to safeguard the launch of nuclear weapons in the United States.
RemitlySeattle-based international money-transfer startup Remitly has raised $220 million, consisting of $135 million in Series E equity funding led by Al Gore's Generation Investment Management, and an additional $85 million in debt financing. Other participants in the equity portion include Owl Rock Capital, Princeville Global, Prudential Financial and Stripes Group. Founded in 2011, the company was previously valued at $480 million after a $115 million Series D led by PayU in February 2018.
Unlike many other traditional digital remittance companies, Remitly provides cheap or free money transfers by managing the entire process and eliminating the need for hindrances such as fees, codes and agents. Over the past year, the company's services have expanded to include 16 countries where money can be sent and 44 countries where funds can be received.
OPayFounded in 2018, Nigerian mobile payments startup OPay has raised $50 million from IDG Capital, Sequoia China, Source Code Capital, Meituan-Dianping, GSR Ventures and Opera Limited, which will be used in part to help with the company's plans to expand into other African markets.
OPay's strong funding ties to China aren't a coincidence and in fact may be part of a larger trend of Chinese funding being funneled into sub-Saharan Africa. OPay's Chairman and CEO is Chinese billionaire Yahui Zhou, who is also CEO of OPay's incubator, Norwegian software company Opera.
In 2018, Opera launched both ORide, the provider of an on-demand platform for motorbike sharing, and food delivery service OFood; both are now linked to OPay. Opera recently reported 119 million active African users of its products.
CreditasCreditas, the São Paulo-based provider of a digital lending platform, has received $23.5 million from Vostok Emerging Finance. The funding is an extension of a SoftBank-led $231 million Series D, which also saw participation from Vostok and other investors including Amadeus Capital Partners and Santander InnoVentures.
Founded in 2012, Creditas was reportedly created in response to founder and CEO Sergio Furio's wife mentioning Brazil's exorbitant interest rates, which are said to reach upward of 200% in some cases. The company uses investors and financial institutions to fund auto and home equity loans in a more cost-efficient manner.
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