SA bitcoin exchange VALR raises $3.4m Series A funding for new products, expansion

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South African bitcoin exchange VALR, which is the largest in the country by trading volume, has raised ZAR57 million (US$3.4 million) in Series A funding to help it roll out new products and launch in additional markets.

Disrupt Africa reported early last year the Johannesburg-based VALR had launched its digital asset trading platform after securing US$1.5 million in a funding round led by the US-based Bittrex and former FNB chief executive officer (CEO) Michael Jordaan’s Montegray Capital.

VALR, which allows customers to buy, sell, store and transfer more than 50 cryptocurrencies seamlessly and securely, now has over 40,000 customers and has seen over 13,000 bitcoin traded over the last month.

It is now set for further expansion, both from a product and a geographic perspective, after raising a Series A round worth ZAR57 million (US$3.4 million). The round was led by 100x Ventures, the investment arm of 100x Group, with participation from the South Africa-based 4Di Capital and continued support from Bittrex and Jordaan.

VALR will use the proceeds from the capital raise to build new products and services, expand into new territories, and continue to build its team of professionals, particularly in the technology, regulatory and compliance, and client service domains.  

“I am very grateful that despite the challenging global COVID-19 pandemic that has adversely affected many businesses around the world, VALR has been able to grow at a phenomenal pace and we’ve been able to raise funds and partner with a set of world-class investors, adding to our already distinguished group of shareholders,” said Farzam Ehsani, VALR’s CEO and co-founder.

Arthur Hayes, CEO and co-founder of 100x Group, said South Africa had an “incredibly exciting and fast-growing” cryptocurrency ecosystem, and that he believes VALR is well-placed to capitalise on future growth of bitcoin trading. 

“In VALR we’re backing not only a successful early-stage business, but a management team with the ability to scale operations significantly,” he said.

Justin Stanford, co-founding general partner at 4Di Capital, said his company had been looking for an appropriate investment in the cryptocurrency sector for some years, and was “delighted” to be backing what he described as “such a high quality business and management team”. 

“VALR has shown great integrity and leadership coupled with impressive growth, and delivers a mature, institutional grade offering to the local market,” he said. 

“This is becoming a necessary component in all markets the world over, as the crypto asset ecosystem becomes increasingly more accepted and integrated into the global financial system.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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