Abra, a startup developing a peer-to-peer (P2P) remittance app powered by bitcoin, has recently raised $12 million in Series A financing. Investors in the round include Arbor Ventures, RRE Ventures and First Round Capital. Till date, the company has raised $14 million including the new round.
Other investors in the company include Blockchain Capital, Carthona Capital, Cyanotype, Digital Currency Group, Future Perfect Ventures, Haystack, Jungle Ventures, The Launch Fund, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Liberty City Ventures, NYCA and Pantera Capital.
Founded in 2014, Abra provides person-to-person money transfers through an app. The app lets users store digital cash (valued in any currency) directly on their mobile device by using a debit card or through an “Abra Teller.” The user is not required to have a bank account to use the service. The user can send funds instantly to anyone with a smartphone. The recipient withdraws cash from the app via a teller as well.
Bitcoin is used as back-end infrastructure by the company, but funds are denominated in US dollars that pass through the system.
The Abra app, which the company plans to launch within 45 days in selected markets, is available in iOS and Android versions to download but is not in functional yet.
According to the company, till date, pre-registrations for consumers and tellers have come from over 80 countries. Wei Hopeman of Arbor Ventures commented in the press release, “Arbor sees huge potential for the Abra business model globally, but especially in China and Southeast Asia, which are traditionally large cash economies but leapfrogging into mobile payments and bypassing traditional banking and card infrastructure at an accelerating rate. Making cash mobile will unlock a lot of opportunities in these markets and across the region.”
RRE Ventures Managing Partner and Abra Co-Founder Jim Robinson is looking forward to coming up with the app and disrupt the global money transfer market. He said, “As early proponents of Blockchain technology, we believe that Abra is one of the companies that’s fully leveraging the potential of the technology by reducing friction in financial services. It’s not about bitcoin for the sake of bitcoin—it’s about how the technology can solve problems for consumers worldwide, even if they don’t know what the blockchain is.”