‘PayPal for crypto’ wannabe Ramp raises $52.7M Series A round led by Balderton Capital
In the same way that PayPal and Stripe radically changed online payments by allowing any online service to embed payments, the race is on to have the same impact on crypto assets. To this end, players such as Wyre (raised $29.1 million) and MoonPay (raised $555 million) have risen to the fore. But in the summer of this year, a similar, U.K.-based startup called Ramp (not to be confused with U.S. “trad-fi” startup Ramp) de-cloaked like a Klingon battleship in space, with a $10.1 million seed round, and even had hard-won approval from the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) under its belt.
The company is now clearly on a roll.
Ramp has now raised a $52.7 million Series A round led by Balderton Capital. Existing investors NFX, Galaxy Digital, Seedcamp and Firstminute Capital also participated, alongside angel investors including Taavet Hinrikus (Wise) and Francesco Simoneschi (TrueLayer), and the investment will see Balderton’s General Partner Rana Yared join the Ramp board. The startup has now raised a total of $63 million.
Founded in 2017 by Szymon Sypniewicz (CEO) and Przemek Kowalczyk (CTO, CPO), Ramp has a non-custodial, full-stack payment infrastructure. The idea here is to open up digital assets to more businesses and users by making it possible to send or receive crypto without having to go through an exchange like Coinbase, for instance.
Ramp allows anyone that wants to offer crypto-enabled services to do so via its SDK in a few hours, without the need to set up their own on-ramping stack to an exchange, an extremely time-consuming and potentially costly business.
This is, of course, very advantageous to Ramp, because it forces users to move between Ramp-powered services without having to jump through multiple verification hoops. Faster for the users, but also great for Ramp.
In part because of this ease of use, it’s managed to partner up with more than 400 developers, including Mozilla, Browser and Dapper Labs and DeFi apps like Aave, Argent, Trust Wallet and Zerion. It is also the exclusive on-ramping partner for Sorare, the blockchain-based, global sports video game, and Flow, the blockchain which specializes in NFT marketplaces and digital assets.
Furthermore, users of the Opera browser can top-up crypto wallets from within the app, or Sorare NFT game players can buy and sell virtual players via Ethereum. In addition, the NFT-based game Axie Infinity used Ramp to shorten its onboarding process from two hours to minutes.
The ultimate vision is to facilitate crypto transactions for banks’ or other financial institutions’ end-users within their banking apps. This would be where TradFi meets DeFi.
Ramp has also recently received regulatory approval from U.S. FinCen — the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, which enables the company to operate legally in the U.S. And in Poland, it has become the first on-ramping company to receive an open banking license from The Polish Financial Supervision Authority (KNF) in 2020.
Szymon Sypniewicz, Ramp co-founder and CEO, said: “There is so much potential in unlocking cryptocurrency and digital assets beyond today’s narrow and restrictive use cases. We’re on a mission to provide instant access to cryptocurrencies through a provider they can trust.”
On its competitive position against Wyre and MoonPay, a spokesperson said Ramp is focusing on transaction transparency and regulatory approval, hence the FCA and FinCen stuff: “While several competitors prefer to embed some of their fees in conversion rates, Ramp prides itself on showing its fees up-front so that consumers know exactly what they are paying for.”