When we started building Valora, we were inspired by the idea that anyone, regardless of geography or socioeconomic status, should have access to financial tools. The pandemic highlighted the desire for many people to participate in parts of the financial system that have not typically been available to them, and we couldn’t have imagined just how quickly the need for access to these solutions would grow. So our guiding question became: What if we could build an easy-to-use, mobile-first product that helps democratize access to financial tools for people around the world? We believe crypto and decentralized finance can empower people to take control of their financial futures. As our team has grown and our product has developed in recent months, so has my confidence in Valora’s unique ability to make our vision a reality.
Today, we’ve arrived at an important milestone on our journey. I’m proud to announce that Valora has raised a $20 million Series A from some of the world’s best investors, including Andreessen Horowitz, Polychain, SV Angel, Valor Capital, NFX, and Nima Capital, among others, and in the process, Valora has become an independent company. As a founding member of the team that launched Valora, I’m honored to now step into the role of CEO, leading a world-class team that brings expertise in blockchain technology, consumer apps, fintech, and international go-to-market strategy.
My passion for financial inclusion is deeply personal. Growing up as an immigrant in the United States, I recognized at an early age the differences in opportunity and access that I had in the U.S., and the importance of supporting family members back home. As an adult, I started my career in tech during the defining era when the internet (and later mobile) transformed almost every aspect of our lives. I learned how technology could connect the world and provide greater access to information and opportunity. It was truly fascinating! I focused my career on introducing new technologies to people in every corner of the world. Over the years, working for Google, Twitter, and Spotify, I lived in six countries on three continents, and saw first hand how the power of technology could be adopted by many cultures so rapidly, and connect the world like never before.
Now, working in blockchain affords me a similar opportunity to introduce this transformative technology to people around the world. And I believe that crypto and decentralized finance is the best way to bring new economic opportunities to those who have historically been underserved by the traditional financial system.
Our challenge is significant: less than 50% of the global population is financially literate, and only 1% currently use blockchain technology. As a product marketer by training, I see this daunting challenge as a major opportunity to make cryptocurrency useful and approachable. That’s what we’re doing at Valora.
Today, you can use Valora to easily send crypto to anyone in the world in seconds for near-zero fees. In addition, you can protect your money in a high-inflation environment by saving stablecoins in Valora and even earn rewards. We’ve worked hard to make Valora work on any smartphone, even with low internet connectivity.
Already, Valora is making an impact in the day-to-day lives of people around the world—we’ve grown rapidly to 53,000 monthly active users (and counting!) in over 100 countries, many of whom are first-time crypto users. We’re seeing Valora used to transfer money globally between friends and families, to deliver instant payments to digital workers in emerging markets, and as an efficient way to provide international relief aid to thousands.
But this is just the beginning. As I write this letter, our team is focused on reducing the friction commonly associated with cryptocurrencies to make this technology more accessible to the people who need it most. Our mission will continue to guide our decisions; our values will keep us together along the way; and our passion will keep us moving ahead.