Today Ramp, the startup making crypto more useful, accessible and open through its “PayPal for crypto” service, has raised around €8.3 million to bring its next-level payment infrastructure to even more people globally.
The seed round was led by NfX with Galaxy Digital. It also saw participation from returning investors Seedcamp, firstminute capital and Fabric Ventures, as well as Mozilla, plus notable business angels associated with Coinbase (Balaji S. Srinivasan), Wise (Taavet Hinrikus), Dapper Labs (Roham Gharegozlou), IKEA (Bartek Pucek) and more entrepreneurs and executives from fintech and crypto industries*.
Ramp was founded in 2017 by Szymon Sypniewicz (CEO) and Przemek Kowalczyk (CTO, CPO) to open up digital assets to more businesses and users. Until now, cryptocurrencies have largely been the reserve of enthusiasts, not everyday people, and have centred around crypto exchanges – the likes of Coinbase, eToro et al.
These services let customers exchange fiat money (EUR, GBP, USD etc.) to cryptocurrencies and other crypto assets. However, all of them are built for users who want to speculate on the prices of crypto assets and buy, hold and sell coins. As the startup states, this is an extremely narrow remit that fails to address the potential and power of crypto justice.
To solve this, Ramp has built a non-custodial, full-stack payment infrastructure that unlocks the potential to use crypto for mainstream users. Through its SDK, any brand or partner who wants to offer crypto-enabled services as part of their business model can do so easily and securely. All while not requiring their own certifications and licences, as it is Ramp that facilitates the transaction for the end users. In the same way PayPal revolutionised e-commerce and online payments by allowing any website, app or service to embed payment infrastructure into their existing systems, Ramp is set to have the same impact for crypto assets.
With Ramp, any brand that wants to offer a crypto-enabled app or service can embed the startup’s payment infrastructure within their existing systems. Ramp’s platform – which is registered with the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as a cryptoasset business and is registered as an open banking business with The Polish Financial Supervision Authority (KNF) – can then be used for myriad crypto use cases. As Ramp expands into more regions, it will be announcing new registrations and licences.
These use cases today range from enabling users of Opera browser to top-up crypto wallets from within the app, up to players being able to play the Sorare NFT game and buy and sell virtual players via Ethereum. In the future, Ramp could help facilitate crypto transactions for banks’ or other financial institutions’ end-users within their banking apps, and could enable completely new use cases that until recently were impossible to take to the mainstream.
The company has already partnered with more than 200 developers, including Mozilla, Opera Labs, Dapper Labs (the company behind NBA Top Shot and the new Flow blockchain), Sorare and top crypto and DeFi apps like Aave, Argent and Zerion. It will use the funding to further expand this network of bigger and better partners; reach more brands and make crypto less niche and exclusive. This includes tripling the team by the end of 2021, setting up headquarters in new regions, and developing the platform further.
“Few things are as impactful on economic growth, the human effort, and technological innovation as financial services. If we’re to continue to grow as a society, we need to make sure our financial systems are following suit. Crypto is one of the most promising technological frontiers for advancing finance and payments. For years however, the industry was focused on speculation, creating products like crypto exchanges. Unlocking crypto’s use cases seemed like an afterthought. Now we feel it’s time for the industry to start delivering useful applications and Ramp is here to make the mainstream transition to crypto much easier,” said Ramp co-founder and CEO Szymon Sypniewicz.
“It’s a matter of when, not if, non-crypto-native users are going to use crypto-native products. The question of “when” depends on usability. To date, crypto products have had a high barrier to entry – you have to basically go through a Rube Goldberg machine to use many products. Mainstream users are not going to do this. That’s what excited us about Ramp. Ramp dramatically reduces the crypto barrier to entry for both non-crypto-native users and non-crypto native developers. We see Ramp, therefore, helping to meaningfully accelerate crypto adoption through enabling mainstream use cases”, said Morgan Beller, General Partner at NfX.
“We’re excited about Ramp because we view it as a new-generation crypto business, a solution to first-generation problems that brilliantly leverages the unique properties of crypto. Ramp lets developers onboard their users into a crypto app in a way that feels native to the app, and we’re convinced this is what the future of on-ramping looks like. We’re active users of crypto-based apps and it was our own experience that showed us that apps using Ramp offered a game changing improvement to the user experience,” said Jon Kol, who co-leads Galaxy’s Venture investments
Ramp previously raised €1 million in 2018 in a pre-seed round, from a collective of funds and business angels. These included Fabric Ventures, firstminute capital, Seedcamp and MakerDAO. Over the past two years, Ramp has been acquiring both partners implementing Ramp in their apps and wallets, and individual users, as well as working with Alior Bank to learn the ropes of cooperating with a major bank.