Open-source blockchain payments outfit Celo is spinning out Valora, its native digital wallet, into an independent company that has already closed a $20 million Series A funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz.
Celo is building an ecosystem focused on financial services DeFi systems and tools accessible to anyone with a smartphone. It launched Valora publicly in February with the promise of letting users save, send, and spend crypto as easily as sending a text.
The app can be used to send money to virtually any mobile phone number in the world and works with any smartphone, even with low internet connectivity. Users do not need a bank account and pay for transaction fees with the same stable token.
All of these features are giving the app traction in emerging markets. Celo has also partnered the Grameen Foundation to use Valora to distribute aid to more than 3500 women entrepreneurs impacted by Covid-19 across the Philippines, while Impact Market uses Valora to facilitate the global distribution of aid via one of the largest private UBI programmes in the world.
The app currently has more than 200,000 users with a balance, and 53,000 monthly active users in over 100 countries. Now, as an independent company with $20 million behind it, the unit wants to accelerate its growth.
Jackie Bona, CEO Valora, says: "Valora is lowering the barrier to entry into crypto and DeFi. We believe in a world in which each individual has access to the wealth and opportunity created by this new global financial system, and Valora will strive to continue to provide greater access and build bridges to a better and more inclusive future."
Arianna Simpson, general partner, a16z crypto, adds: "Valora is tackling many of the friction points that have hindered the broader adoption of crypto and DeFi. It's truly becoming the global gateway to crypto."