Crypto isn’t going anywhere. It’s become a universal currency and there are few markets where it’s not becoming a normalised financial option. Januar, based in Copenhagen, wants to meet the European appetite for crypto and facilitate its use.
Raising one of Denmark’s largest seed rounds ever, the young startup has just bagged €6 million in a round led by Element Ventures, with participation from Angular Ventures, Outward VC, and early pre-seed backers byFounders. The round also includes well-renowned angel investors including Nicolas Julia, co-founder and CEO of Sorare, Charlie Songhurst, former Head of Strategy at Microsoft, Pierre-Antoine Pierre, CEO and Founder IBanFirst, Jørgen Horwitz, former Director of Finansrådet as well as Einar Braathen from CoinFund.
Founded in 2021 by ex-Chainalysis compliance experts, crypto entrepreneurs, and fintech veterans, Januar is on a mission to support a more open and collaborative financial system based on decentralized technology by offering fiat-to-crypto rails as a service. The company is aiming to meet the growing demand in Europe for such a service.
Simon Ousager, CEO and co-founder of Januar explained: “We are building financial infrastructure that will help crypto companies gain the stable foundation they need to innovate and serve their customers with peace of mind. For years, legacy financial service providers have failed to serve these new digital asset businesses, leaving them at risk of being shut down with days’ notice. It’s time we recognize that entrepreneurs building the future of our financial system deserve an IBAN account, like any other business.”
Digital assets and decentralized transactions are regarded as faster, better and cheaper -and they are shaking up the way value moves between people and businesses globally. But, Europe has been underserved compared to the US when it comes to making the crypto world easier to navigate. Januar meets this need, bridging the gap between the traditional centralized financial system and the new decentralized financial system.
Simon Ousager, CEO and co-founder of Januar continued: “Traditional banks are not ready for what is happening in the crypto markets right now. For many years they focused on the ‘technology’ while writing off the actual category of innovative digital assets – their ‘Blockchain not Bitcoin’ strategy did not align with the market. And while the value and usage of assets, like Bitcoin and Ethereum, multiplied many times over, the dismissive approach of most banks left them with little insights into crypto-specific compliance measurements and an inability to properly serve and support the industry. With Januar, we are here to close that gap now by providing financial services to crypto businesses and crypto services to financial institutions.”
With this fresh funding, Januar is launching crypto-friendly financial services for businesses across Europe; starting with payment accounts for crypto businesses. The fintech startup is well-positioned to do so after having obtained its first-of-its-kind Payment Service Provider license with the Danish FSA, including crypto-specific risk, compliance, and AML policies.
Steve Gibson, Partner at Element Ventures added: “We are delighted to back Januar in their mission to build this most critical piece of European financial services infrastructure – connecting old and new worlds. The market need is clear, Januar has the team, industry support and product offering to become a key component in Europe’s digital future.”