We’re at an exciting moment in the history of crypto because as the industry matures and adoption accelerates, entrepreneurs from all backgrounds are flooding into the space, bringing new perspectives, skill sets, and experiences to the ecosystem. Jackie Bona, CEO of Valora, is one such leader. We got to know Jackie through her work at another a16z crypto portfolio company, Celo Labs, where she was Head of Consumer Growth and on the founding team that developed Valora, a mobile-first crypto wallet, enabling borderless payments in seconds with near-zero fees.
One of the earliest use-cases so many of us got excited about in crypto is borderless payments and financial services for underserved communities in regions around the world. Existing options — for everything from P2P and merchant payments, to earning and saving, to trading and investing — can be expensive, slow, and limited by region. This reality has locked billions of people out of economic opportunities. At the same time, the rise of stablecoin markets and a growing number of fiat on/off ramps around the world has created the right environment to offer a great digital wallet in these regions not previously possible in crypto.
Since its public launch in February 2021, Valora has experienced tremendous growth and engagement with more than 200K users with a balance, and 53K monthly active users in over 100 countries (according to the company’s internal metrics). Part of what has driven this growth is the team’s focus on creating a simple, mobile-first product experience that makes saving, sending, and spending crypto as easy as sending a text. All around the world, Valora is already having an incredible impact on communities. For example, the Grameen Foundation used Valora to safely and efficiently deliver aid to 3,500 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.
Jackie’s experience at consumer internet companies like Spotify, Twitter, and Google has clearly been an asset to the development of a product experience that is meeting the moment, rapidly introducing people around the world to the benefits of crypto in a simple and approachable way. She’s joined by an impressive team that comes with a unique blend of expertise spanning blockchain, consumer tech, financial services, and extensive experience bringing products to market internationally. Valora enables easy access to crypto and DeFi experiences, global P2P payments, and has quickly become known as the crypto wallet “for the people” used by the emerging microwork industry, and the largest private UBI program in the world. The power of Valora is already being recognized by thousands of people around the world, many of whom are first-time crypto users.
Today, Valora is announcing it will operate as an independent, standalone company and we are very pleased to lead a $20 million Series A with participation from an outstanding group of investors, operators and founders, including Alex Roetter, April Underwood, Ruzwana Bashir, and many others. We’re excited to support the team as they continue to develop the product and give even more people around the world access to crypto.
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