In just less than two months, after getting our first crypto exchange unicorn–Coin DCX– Bengaluru-based CoinSwitch Kuber became the latest entrant in the crypto-based unicorn club. On Wednesday, it announced a Series C funding round of over $260 million at a valuation of $1.9 billion led by US venture capital firm a16z (Andreesen Horowitz) and Coinbase Ventures.
With this investment, CoinSwitch becomes the 30th unicorn startup in India touching the valuation of $1.9 billion, even CoinDCX valuation concluded at $1.1 billion as per the announcement in August.
Existing investors Paradigm, Ribbit Capital, Sequoia Capital and Tiger Global also participated in CoinSwitch’s funding round.
Founded in 2017 by Ashish Singhal, Vimal Sagar Tiwari, and Govind Soni, Coinswitch Kuber came into being on June 1, 2020 after the honourable Supreme Court Of India abolished the RBI’s circular banning the banks from facilitating cryptocurrency transactions. CoinSwitch Kuber is an app-based platform that exclusively serves India, with a primary motive of simplifying crypto trading.
In India, there is no clear law on trading on Cryptocurrencies, it is neither legal nor vice-versa. In August, El Salvador became the first country in the world to accept Bitcoin as legal tender.
According to Singhal, the proceeds from the funds will be channelised in building up new asset classes.
“These would be standard asset classes that you see in the market, not related to crypto,” he said. “A lot of people who invest with us are under the age of 28 and are first-time investors who haven’t invested in assets other than crypto. These users will want to grow with us as a platform, de-risk themselves from the volatility of crypto, and eventually have a portfolio that is balanced on the volatility end.”
Investors will not be able to buy traditional assets using bitcoin under the new asset classes. Instead, it will work in tandem with the existing crypto market, allowing customers to utilise fiat currency. Plans to develop this aspect of the business, according to Singhal, are now in the works. The firm expects that its new goods and services would help it expand its user base from the current 10 million to 50 million users.
The company also wants to focus on hiring talents. Singhal said that other than leadership hiring, there is a need for the company to hire experts in engineering, product, data and even compliance, so as to deal with the current regulatory landscape. He said the company might hire from overseas for talent too.
“The tonality of the finance minister and other folks who regulate crypto has really changed. They’re sending clear statements, saying they won’t shut down crypto. We have also seen policymakers ask experts about how to go about regulating the crypto space. This funding, because it involves investors like a16z, who have never really invested in India before, will also build confidence among regulators,” he said.
“The first agenda is to identify companies that are solving issues for India using blockchain,” he said. The newly acquired funds will be directed to build crypto awareness and make strategic investments that will help the platform to build its own business