Bitso, a regulated crypto exchange in Latin America, announced today that it has raised $ 250 million in a Series C funding round that valued the company at $ 2.2 billion.
Tiger Global and Coatue jointly led the round, which also included the participation of Paradigm, BOND & Valor Capital Group and existing supporters QED, Pantera Capital and Kaszek.
The news caught our attention for several reasons. For one, it comes just four months after the startup raised $ 62 million in a Series B round. Second, the company believes the funding will make it the most valuable crypto platform in Latin America. And finally, this makes the company one of the most highly valued fintechs in the region.
Last year was a good year for Bitso, which processed more than $ 1.2 billion in international payments – including wire transfers and inter-company payments – in 2020 alone. Bitso says it has also exceeded 2 million users. These two milestones, the company said, are evidence of the increasing use of crypto as an everyday financial instrument in the region.
Demand for crypto assets and crypto-enabled financial products has grown in popularity with both individuals and businesses in the region, according to Bitso, which aims to be the “most secure, transparent, and only regulatory platform” in Latin America. The company also says it is the only provider in the region that offers crypto insurance for its customers’ funds.
“The growth of the crypto ecosystem this year has been remarkable. It took Bitso six years to acquire its first million customers. Now – less than 10 months later – we have reached the 2 million mark, ”said Daniel Vogel, Co-Founder and CEO of Bitso. However, the metrics he’s most proud of are that Bitso has also more than doubled the assets on its platform in the past five months, and that its transaction volume in the first quarter of 2021 exceeded the transaction volume for all of 2020.
Bitso was founded in January 2014 and won its first customer in April of this year.
Bitso’s mission, put simply, is to build limitless next generation financial services for consumers and businesses alike. “Cryptocurrencies are the future of finance and Bitso provides the future today,” the company says.
“Bitso provides products and services for individuals and businesses to use crypto in their daily lives,” said Vogel. “In some parts of the world, crypto is linked to speculation. Bitso’s customers rely on the technology for everyday use, from wire transfers to international trade. “
Bitso says the “global” product offerings meet the needs of local customers in Mexico, Argentina and now Brazil, where the company has just opened its retail stores. The company plans to use its new capital to expand its capabilities and product offering. An expansion of activities in other Latin American countries is planned in the coming months. In January, Colombia’s financial regulator announced Bitso as one of the authorized companies in their sandbox and crypto pilot program.
Bitso’s upcoming products include a crypto derivatives platform and interest-bearing accounts for crypto.
“This is a critical moment for the future of finance in Latin America,” Vogel told TechCrunch. “We are seeing a significant part of the traditional financial infrastructure in the region being replaced by crypto. We plan to use these funds to continue this trend and expand our product offerings for individuals and businesses. “
Of course, Bitso’s investors are optimistic about the company’s potential.
QED Investors co-founder and managing partner Nigel Morris admits that he has been “a crypto denier” in the past.
“We haven’t seen how crypto fits in the longest. Until recently, it wasn’t clear that the use cases for crypto extended well beyond speculative trading. There are now a number of traditional banking products that we can wrap, ”Morris told TechCrunch.
Bitso’s mission is to “make crypto useful,” and QED believes the company will manage to do just that.
“Daniel and the entire Bitso team are thrilled to get the mystique out of crypto. Crypto won’t go away; It will be here for the future, ”said Morris. “By sitting at the interface between crypto and traditional financial institutions, Bitso promises to offer lower-cost, smoother financial services to entire populations of people who would otherwise be excluded – a laudable and unique mission.”
Bitso, he added, is learning from the crypto experience in the US and around the world.
“Not making the same mistakes and immersing yourself in the emerging regulatory landscape has been a competitive advantage for Bitso’s success in Mexico,” said Morris. “With Bitso growing in the regions, they certainly have a leg up and could even skip the US launch of crypto.”
“Crypto is rapidly gaining adoption in Latin America,” Tiger Global partner Scott Shleifer said in a written statement. “We are excited to be working with Bitso and believe that they have the right team and platform to increase their share in this growing market.”
Bitso was founded in 2014 and employs more than 300 people in 25 different countries. This corresponds to 116 employees in the last year at this point in time. In particular, growth in Brazil is increasing exponentially.
“We have switched from 1 to 26 Bitonauts, who are already stationed in Brazil, and many more are working from abroad. We plan to triple the number of our employees in Brazil by the end of the year,” said Vogel, who acknowledged that the The pandemic really had an impact on his company on the move to remote work. “As we expand our reach to new areas, it has become much easier to meet staffing needs when the requirements are based on geographic knowledge.”
Bitso is primarily headquartered in Mexico, but the company also has offices in Buenos Aires, São Paolo and Gibraltar.