Bangalore, India-based Bitcoin exchange Unocoin has become the highest-funded digital currency startup in India. The company has announced it has raised $1.5 million in a Pre-Series A funding round.
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Funds Stem From International Investors and Strategic Indian Firms
During the announcement, Unocoin co-founder and president Sunny Ray said the team started the company to bring “Bitcoin to billions.” Ray said Unocoin presented an opportunity to build a platform that provides Indian citizens access to the cryptocurrency. The co-founder believes that, with the exchange’s latest capital funding, “Unocoin is strategically positioned to reach millions of people in the next few years.”
The Pre-Series funding round saw participation from international investors and top Indian venture firms. Backing came from Digital Currency Group, Boost VC, Bank to the Future, Indian Blume Ventures, Mumbai Angels, and ah! Ventures.
This funding round reportedly marks the highest total amount of capital raised for an Indian digital currency startup.
Unocoin co-founder and CEO, Sathvik Vishwanath stated during the announcement:
“We started from my small hometown called Tumkur near Bangalore and our goal from the beginning was to make it easy to get bitcoin in India. A few years later, we are now headquartered in Bangalore with 30+ employees, serving more than 100,000+ customers across the country and growing exponentially. Given our steep growth rate, we’re looking to serve millions more in the coming years.”
Indian Exchange Aims to ‘Bring a Frictionless Layer to Payments and Commerce’
Mumbai-based Blume Ventures played a significant role in the funding round. Founders Sanjay Nath and Karthik Reddy have helped early-stage technology focused startups blossom. They’ve provided seed financing for innovative companies and work with like-minded seed investors. Reddy said the Unocoin team has a “determination to educate all stakeholders, simplify Bitcoin’s usage, and bring another frictionless layer to payments and commerce.”
Vishwanath said Unocoin’s foundations are based on the belief that “money itself is being reinvented.” The CEO said that, over the past year, the company has built its infrastructure very quickly. Unocoin has launched an auto-selling feature for remittance users, a merchant point-of-sale (POS) app, mobile app, and systematic investment planning (SIP). The firm has also integrated with NETKI’s ‘simple Bitcoin addresses’ and launched an over the counter (OTC) desk for bigger traders.
Bitcoin and India’s Unbanked
Simon Dixon, CEO of Bank To The Future and fund manager of Bitcoin Capital, said Unocoin’s role in India is huge. Dixon explained at the seed round:
“In India, 95% of the people do not have credit cards and 50% are unbanked due to the country’s poor financial and payments infrastructure. We believe Bitcoin has a role to play in India in the long term and are happy to join the round of the leading bitcoin company in India.”
Unocoin’s new capital will help the company expand its services in India more rapidly than before. The company says it will succeed at bringing Bitcoin to billions, as India has a significant amount of the world’s computer and IT specialists. Alongside this, Unocoin and many others hope the cryptocurrency can flourish among the unbanked. The company plans on using the seed funds to continue working towards increasing Indian Bitcoin adoption.
What do you think about Unocoin’s seed round? Do you think the exchange can bring Bitcoin to mainstream India? Let us know in the comments below.
Source: Press Release
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Unocoin.
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