Caliza, a startup offering banks and fintechs an API that lets their customers save and transact in US dollars, has launched in Brazil with $5.3 million in seed funding.
Better Tomorrow Ventures and Abstract Ventures led the round, with participation from Fontes by QED, Quona Capital and Valor Capital Group.
Caliza says that financial institutions outside of America don't make US dollar accounts widely available to individuals or small businesses because of cost and complexity.
This means that Brazilian companies and individuals pay a premium for access to international merchants and services ranging from Amazon Web Services and Slack to Walmart and Apple.
Caliza is looking to change this by becoming the first company to build infrastructure for a suite of compliance, banking, and payment services through USD Coin.
Firms can embed its API infrastructure to offer digital dollar accounts, real-time cross-border payments, and fiat-to-crypto on and off ramps.
After Brazil, Caliza plans to launch in Mexico early next year and has its sights set on Africa and Southeast Asia.
The funding will be used to grow the team and build additional financial services such as access to US Treasury bills with on-demand liquidation capability and international credit cards.
Caliza is the brainchild of Ezra Kebrab, who says he was inspired while working at Visa, leading the company’s accelerator programme designed to help fintechs launch payment solutions globally.
This, he says, showed him how difficult it is for companies to break into other markets, primarily due to a lack of access to global accounts with banking credentials tied to the
world's reserve currency.
Says Kebrab: "National payment systems are improving rapidly with Central Banks launching real-time payment systems like Pix (Brazil), SPEI (Mexico), and UPI (India), among others, but there is still a large void in cross-border payments and banking.
"Caliza is looking to solve this problem so that everyone can thrive in a global economy."