SAN FRANCISCO, July 27, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Celo, an open-source blockchain ecosystem focused on making decentralized financial (DeFi) systems and tools accessible to anyone with a smartphone, today announced that Valora, a mobile-first digital wallet native to the Celo Platform, which allows you to save, send, and spend crypto as easily as sending a text, will operate as an independent company. The news comes amidst the close of a $20 million Series A round from world-class investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Polychain Capital, SV Angel, Nima Capital, NFX, and Valor Capital, among others. Jackie Bona, who most recently served as Head of Consumer Growth of cLabs, Inc. (cLabs), will assume the role as Chief Executive Officer of Valora as a standalone entity.
Since its public launch in February 2021, Valora has experienced promising growth. Today, Valora has more than 200K users with a balance, and 53K monthly active users in over 100 countries that use the app to pay, send funds globally, and save.
"I am humbled that cLabs was able to play a role in developing Valora into what it is today. We look forward to Valora continuing to be an important member of the Celo ecosystem," said Rene Reinsberg, co-founder of cLabs. "The growth that Valora has experienced in such a short time frame is truly remarkable, and I'm more confident than ever that Valora will continue to flourish as an independent company under Jackie Bona's leadership. Jackie led the launch and was on the founding team that developed Valora, creating financial opportunities for many people who need them."
Valora combines the power of Celo's blockchain with an intuitive user interface to solve long-standing challenges that permeate the crypto market. By fully using Celo's unique features, Valora makes crypto accessible for real people around the globe, giving them the ability to:
- Send funds to virtually any mobile phone number in the world (replacing the 42-character-long public key)
- Use any smartphone, even with low internet connectivity (eliminating the reliance on a computer, the latest iPhone, or high-speed internet)
- Pay for transaction fees with the same stable token (instead of needing to hold 2 separate digital assets and give up valuable crypto to pay fees)
- Participate without a traditional bank account
- Have full control over their funds (instead of trusting a central institution or other middleman)
No other application in the crypto space offers this level of simplicity. Valora's innovative technology and intuitive UX makes it possible for anyone new to crypto and DeFi to participate in this growing ecosystem.
Valora will use the newly raised funds to further develop its user-friendly product and the educational content necessary to get more people comfortable using cryptocurrencies as a better way to save, send, and spend.
"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," said Arianna Simpson, General Partner, a16z crypto. "We look forward to continuing to partner with the exceptional team at Valora as crypto becomes more mainstream and continues to scale around the world."
The Valora team came from cLabs, the organization that initially shaped Celo and the native asset CELO, which trades on 20+ exchanges around the world. Valora's diverse global team has unique expertise in blockchain, consumer apps, and the fintech space. The team also has extensive experience launching products in international markets, and shares a passion for inclusion and global impact using the power of cryptocurrencies. CEO Jackie Bona brings 15 years of experience in international go-to-market strategy and product marketing at high-growth internet tech companies including senior positions at Spotify, Twitter, and Google.
"I am delighted to be leading Valora at such a dynamic time in this important evolution, both as an independent company and in the cryptocurrency world at large," said Ms. Bona. "Consumer awareness of crypto has never been higher, and yet many people remain on the sidelines, either due to skepticism or lack of access. 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."
The Valora app has been actively deployed by businesses around the world. Recent adopters include:
- Grameen Foundation used Valora to safely and efficiently deliver aid to 3,500 female entrepreneurs in the Philippines during the COVID-19 pandemic. This emergency relief program provided digital access to groceries, medicine, and other vital goods to sustain their homes and businesses.
- Impact Market uses Valora to facilitate the global distribution of aid via one of the largest private UBI programs in the world. In recent months, they've processed over $4M to 18K beneficiaries in nearly 20 of the most vulnerable countries including Brazil, Ghana, Philippines, and Zimbabwe.
- Corsali uses Valora to pay wages in emerging markets earned from digital microwork. Valora often serves as the workers' first bank account and first experience with crypto. Workers quickly grow to trust the new tool and start utilizing other features like saving and investing.
These examples show how Valora provides real utility for real people around the world, many of whom were first-time crypto users and are now exploring the power of DeFi.
Valora is a mobile-first crypto wallet native to the Celo Platform, available on both iOS and Android devices. Valora makes blockchain useful and accessible even on the most basic smartphones, enabling 6 billion smartphone users worldwide to reliably save, send, and spend crypto as easily as sending a text message. Download Valora on the App Store or Play Store. Visit valoraapp.com to learn more.
Celo is a mobile-first open source ecosystem of technologies, organizations and individuals that share a common mission of building a financial system to create the conditions for prosperity for everyone. The Celo ecosystem includes a decentralized, proof-of-stake blockchain technology stack (Celo Platform), a native asset (CELO), two stablecoins (cUSD and cEUR) and the Celo Foundation's Alliance for Prosperity, with more than 130 organizations including Andreessen Horowitz, Anchorage, Coinbase, GSMA, Mercy Corps, Grameen Foundation, Prosegur, Abra, and cLabs, a service organization dedicated to growing and developing the Celo ecosystem. For more information on Celo, please visit celo.org.