coinswitch kuber funding: Andreessen Horowitz takes maiden India bet on CoinSwitch Kuber, crypto platform now valued at $1.9 billion
The fundraising was co-led by Silicon Valley-based venture fund Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) and Coinbase Ventures, the corporate venture arm of Nasdaq-listed Coinbase Inc. While a16z has pitched in $80 million, Coinbase Ventures has invested $150 million in the current round. The rest has come from existing investors Paradigm, Ribbit Capital, Sequoia Capital India and Tiger Global.
This is also the first investment from a16z — as the fund is popularly known — in an Indian startup, as
ET first reported on September 16. a16z has invested from their Growth Fund as well as its $2.2 billion
Crypto Fund III which it announced in June this year.
Post this funding, CoinSwitch Kuber’s valuation has surged nearly four times to $1.9 billion, compared to
around $500 million less than six months ago. Therefore, it has also become the 30th Indian unicorn this year as record capital continues to be pumped in the local startup economy.
CoinDCX, which counts Coinbase Ventures among its investors,
became India’s first crypto unicorn earlier this year after a $90-million funding.
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With this large capital fusion, Coinswitch Kuber wants to become the “next biggest fintech player in India” and diversify its product portfolio to include other financial products, besides cryptocurrencies, cofounder and chief executive Ashish Singhal told ET.
He said a16z has been behind some of the major startups in the world who have transitioned from being a startup to a company successfully.
“They have lessons on growing the company, growing the culture, hiring the best people, creating a multi billion dollar startup company,” he told ET. “.. Our investors have taken those risks early and have seen this industry grow, and believe in this industry so much. That’s the reason they feel that India could be the largest consumer as well as producer of new blockchain products and they don’t want to miss out on this opportunity.”
Domiciled in Singapore, this is the third time the four-year-old startup has raised funds this year, bringing the total in 2021 to over $300 million.
This funding is significant for more than one reason. It comes at a time when the regulatory landscape for the sector continues to be uncertain in India and yet marquee investors have taken an aggressive bet. a16z is also one of the largest global venture capital funds which previously backed Coinbase in the US and
it went public earlier this year. According to sources, a16z has been engaging with a few Indian startups and is keen to deploy more capital here.
“Obviously there’s uncertainty in the market and if you look at big companies across the world they have gone through similar cycles as well so you’re not alone in India to be going through the cycles of uncertainty. Although there is still no clarity from regulators, there is a path for regulation,” he added. Without giving details, Singhal said the industry continues to engage with the government through associations like IAMAI.
Based out of Menlo Park, a16z is one of the largest venture funds globally with over $19.2 billion in assets under management across multiple funds. This includes its crypto funds of about $3.1 billion, a $1.4 billion biotech and healthcare fund, and a cultural leadership fund.
Previously, it has invested in major US startups like Airbnb, Affirm, and Lyft which have gone public and continues to be an influential investor in the US. a16z’s cofounder and general partner Marc Andreessen was one of the early investors in Facebook and also sits on the social media major’s board. The venture fund started in 2009 invests in startups right from seed stage to late stages.
CoinSwitch Kuber was founded in 2017 by Singhal, Govind Soni and Vimal Sagar Tiwari as a global aggregator of cryptocurrency exchanges. The company launched its India-exclusive crypto platform, CoinSwitch Kuber, in June 2020. Since then, it has clocked an 1,800% jump in user sign ups, according to data the company shared with ET in June.
The platform has breached the 11 million registered user mark and claims to have 7 million active users all from India. It has been on a marketing overdrive to onboard new users here, including social media and broadcast advertisements during the Indian Premier League.
The startup will use the funds to scale its user base to 50 million by spending on educational initiatives and product development through aggressive hiring of tech talent.
The startup has also planned a plethora of initiatives including launching an ecosystem fund to invest in Indian crypto startups and facilitating institutional investments.
“We have to focus on the entire India, especially in Tier II and III cities. Creating education and amazing products, launching new asset classes, not just be a crypto platform but be a financial wellbeing platform for Indians. I think through education and tier two and tier three penetration, we should be able to achieve this,” Singhal said. “We don’t want to restrict ourselves to just crypto, we want to create a financial product. Be the solution for financial well being for the masses in India and that’s where we want to combine crypto with other asset classes, helping users with the opportunity across the board, not just in crypto.”
Singhal told ET they are on track to reach a $100 million annualised revenue run-rate by December this year.
“We are incredibly excited about the crypto market opportunity in India, and with its breakout growth, CoinSwitch has emerged as the leading retail platform in the country,” said David George, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz. “Ashish and the team have demonstrated strong execution abilities and the ambition to deliver an investment platform for the masses in India.”