Wirex, the leading payments platform taking the fintech and cryptocurrency industries by storm, announced their first crowdfunding. Aiming to raise £1 million, the company will give customers and fintech fans the opportunity to invest before they scale-up in the coming months.
From 21st September, individuals can pre-register to invest in the company. It is expected to be one of the largest and most successful campaigns carried out by renowned equity crowdfunding platform, Crowdcube, who have already taken many start-ups to new levels of success.
Since its inception in 2014, Wirex has become the go-to crypto-enabled payments solution for people seeking an alternative to conventional finance. Wirex’s vision is for a digital economy accessible to everyone globally – empowering people to benefit from a world where all currencies are equal. The company provides a next-gen payments solution that gives users the ability to buy, exchange, hold and spend multiple traditional and cryptocurrencies using one intuitive, centralised app and the Wirex payment card.
Wirex is at the forefront of a rapidly developing industry. Cryptocurrency adoption rates have sky-rocketed in recent years – it’s estimated that over 40 million people globally already use cryptocurrency, with a 240% increase in the number of blockchain wallet users over the past 3 years. This trend has only grown since the onset of COVID-19, demonstrating real-use cases for cryptocurrency in everyday life.
Wirex’s unique and flexible business model allowed it to adapt to this demand and flourish, breaking records in a period of considerable uncertainty for many businesses. The business experienced a 100% increase in the volume of cryptocurrency transactions on the platform in March compared to February, as well as the highest volume of transactions in a single day in the APAC region. As the company’s outstanding performance continues, they’ve decided that now is the time to offer investors a chance to be part of a company shaking up an advancing industry.
The company has already proven its incredible achievements with a series of world firsts, with many predicting a rapid sell-out as demand surges for this revolutionary product. In July 2020, Mastercard named Wirex as their first crypto-native principal member. Prior to this, Wirex was the first company to launch a contactless debit card enabling customers to spend cryptocurrency in-store, as well as the first cryptocurrency rewards scheme, Cryptoback™. In 2019, Wirex launched their first native token, WXT, as an Initial Exchange Offering, which sold out in a matter of hours.
Recognised for its outstanding accomplishments in fintech, payments and cryptocurrency sectors, Wirex won the acclaimed Innovate Finance Pitch 360 challenge for 2020. They are one of the few crypto-friendly companies that is a UK regulated e-money institution, and with cryptocurrency becoming more widely accepted amongst regulators, it is projected that the company will grow exponentially in the coming years. With a company valuation of £125 million, Wirex announced that it turned profitable in 2019 – rare for a fintech business so young. Having recently reached the milestone of 3.1 million customers across 130 countries, they predict achieving an incredible 10 million customers by the end of 2021.
Plans are already underway to launch a number of pioneering product and service updates since the announcement of a revolutionary product overhaul. Following partnerships with financial services giant Mastercard and payments solution company LHV, this includes the gradual rollout of next-generation features in the coming months, including additional currencies, free international ATM withdrawals, sky-high limits and next-to-no fees, as well as an upgraded rewards program, setting Wirex apart from its competitors. Striving for global expansion, Wirex is actively seeking licences in new territories with a highly anticipated launch in both the US and Japan in the coming months.
CEO and Co-Founder of Wirex, Pavel Matveev, explains how this decision to crowdfund comes at a crucial period in Wirex’s development. “Wirex has been making huge strides in changing the financial landscape, by making it easier for everyone to access cryptocurrency and spend it in the everyday. By offering a platform that bridges the traditional and digital economy, we are helping to encourage the mass adoption of cryptocurrency for future generations.”
Matveev goes on to explain that “We have a lot of exciting projects and announcements already underway at Wirex as we endeavour to provide a cheaper, faster and safer platform, and crowdfunding will only fast-track our ambitious plans. We’re proudly a hedgehog fintech – our journey to becoming a tech unicorn is built on managing and monetising growth sensibly. Millions of ‘Wirexers’ have supported our growth – this funding round is deliberately aimed at giving them an opportunity to own a share of the brand as we go to the next phase of our growth and scale-up.”
Luke Lang, co-founder of Crowdcube, complemented this by stating: “Over the years fintech has proven to be our most popular sector for investment so I am excited to see Wirex, who is on a mission to take cryptocurrency into the mainstream, raise with Crowdcube. It’s great that their loyal customer-base and fans will have the opportunity to buy a stake in this innovative company.”
Want to hear more about Wirex and our crowdfund? Here’s what you need to know, from the Wirex team!
Pre-registration for the exclusive private sale of the crowdfunding is now live on the Wirex website, with the private sale opening on the 28th September.
Wirex is a worldwide digital payment platform and regulated institution that has forged new rules in the digital payments space. In 2015, the firm developed the world’s first contactless payment card that gives users the ability to seamlessly spend crypto and traditional currencies in real life.
Wirex was created in 2014 by CEOs and co-founders Pavel Mateev and Dmitry Lazarichev, who identified the need to open up the esoteric world of cryptocurrencies and make digital money accessible for everyone. With the core aim of making it as easy as possible to use digital assets in everyday life, Wirex provides a trusted and cost-effective service for crypto and traditional currency transactions by incorporating the next generation of payments infrastructure integrated with cryptocurrency blockchains.
With over three million customers across 130 countries, the company offers secure accounts that allow customers to easily store, buy and exchange multiple currencies instantly at the best live rates on one centralised mobile app. Quick and simple money transfer options are available, as well as the freedom to spend 150+ traditional and cryptocurrencies in more than 54 million locations around the world using the Wirex card.
Wirex continues to develop the product in line with market developments, whilst adhering to regional regulations and securing appropriate licencing where it exists. A proven industry pioneer, Wirex introduced the world’s first bitcoin reward programme, Cryptoback™, which earns cardholders up to 1.5% back in Bitcoin for every in-store transaction they make. They also launched their own native utility token, WXT, which entitles holders to rewards and incentives such as heavily-discounted fees and higher Cryptoback™ rewards.
Wirex is based in London with offices in Singapore, Kyiv, Tokyo, Toronto, Dallas, Dublin and Atlanta. With over $3bn worth of transactions processed already and rapid expansion into new territories, Wirex is uniquely placed to support and promote the mass adoption of a cashless society through creative solutions.
Spices Export Startup Agricorp International Raises $17.5 Million
Agricorp International, Nigerian based spices producing, processing, and exporting company has raised $17.5 million in Series A funding to increase its processing capacity up to 7000 metric tonnes. This fund was raised from Vami Nigeria, One Capital LLC and AFEX. Nigerian-based Vami led the funding round with $11.5 million in equity, while the other investors provided working capital financing for the company. Ernst & Young (Nigeria) served as transaction advisers while Elisio Law Office and Pavestone Legal served as legal advisers.
Founded in 2018 by Kenneth Obiajulu and Wale Omotimirin, Agricorp is contributing to meeting the growing demand of spices as an export material. Data from Nigeria’s Ministry of Agriculture shows that despite being the third highest exporter of ginger globally, Nigeria’s ginger production is put at 31 million MT while demand is put at 65 million MT, leaving a gap of 34 million MT. While Nigeria accounts for more than 16% of the global production of ginger, it gets less than 4% of the export market share.
Kenneth Obiajulu, Agricorp’s CEO said, “We believe that by increasing our capacity to 7,000MT, we will maximise the potentials to boost Nigeria’s forex earnings through export, contribute our quota to improving the Nigerian GDP from agriculture, and serve as a worthy model to African youths who aspire to be agribusiness owners. We want to show them it is possible and very rewarding as well”.
According to lead investors, Vami Nigeria, “we led the round because we saw a clear growth path, strong social impact, excellent financial trajectory, and global collaborations with key partners. Most importantly, the depth of knowledge, passion, and resilience of the team is unrivaled.
Samirah Ade-Adebiyi, Managing Director at AFEX, said “our other businesses have transacted with Agricorp on several occasions and have seen the business grow over time. Now, we are committed to providing the working capital they require to scale their operations at any level”.
It will take a bold approach to put Nigeria on the global export radar by leveraging investments to build simple processing systems for spices and other agro products. Agricorp aims to be that bold company standing at the forefront of enhancing global food systems.
Shimmer Announces $2M Seed Funding Led by VoLo Earth Ventures
Shimmer Industries, Inc., an end-to-end software and firmware platform that automates the design, development and deployment of large-scale lighting projects by reducing the typical project lifecycle by thousands of hours, announced today that it is raising $2 million in seed funding led by VoLo Earth Ventures, an early-stage VC investing in the new energy economy through innovative products and technologies.
Shimmer redesigns light as software, connecting billions of lighting devices and providing a data platform that captures insights and helps building owners and managers cut their costs and energy consumption by up to 85% when compared to current systems.
Shimmer’s flagship product, Stellar 3D Studio, is recognized by lighting designers, architects and engineers for pioneering a “radical shift” in how complex lighting systems are planned, prototyped, and deployed. Shimmer’s products can reduce a typical lighting project lifecycle by thousands of hours. Commercial lighting is a $105 billion industry including the rapidly growing smart lighting segment (18% CAGR thru 2030) driven by a massive upgrade cycle to meet new energy code compliance demands in-line with smart infrastructure. To ensure compliance with energy and green building regulations, Shimmer generates minute-by-minute energy consumption models that span up to one million LEDs, reducing energy usage by up to 85% while significantly lowering carbon emissions.
As Kareem Dabbagh, Managing Partner of VoLo Earth Ventures points out, “Shimmer redesigns light as software, connecting billions of lighting devices and providing a data platform that captures insights and helps building owners and managers cut their costs and energy consumption by up to 85% when compared to current systems.” Joseph Goodman, PhD, Managing Partner at VoLo Earth Ventures, adds, “Our optimism about solving climate change comes from our belief in innovation. Conditions have never been clearer for backing energy breakthroughs like Shimmer that use the power of software to illuminate a sustainable future.” Jean Koeppel, CEO of Shimmer, remarks, “Our collaboration with VoLo Earth will accelerate our ability to deploy Shimmer-enabled environments at scale through the use of software automation to dramatically lower energy and operating costs. We are truly excited to be partners.”
The first Shimmer-designed commercial installation will be unveiled this fall at London’s iconic Southbank Tower. Other Shimmer-based projects are in various stages of the planning and development pipeline at leading architectural and lighting design firms worldwide.
Echion Technologies, Cambridge, UK secures £10M Series-A Funding Round
Echion Technologies (“Echion”) is a leading developer of next generation materials for Lithium-Ion batteries. Its products deliver a unique combination of fast-charging capability, cost-effectiveness, and high energy density; vital for the world’s shift towards decarbonisation through pervasive electrification.
The Series-A funding round has been led by CBMM – the world’s leading supplier of niobium products and BGF – the UK & Ireland’s most active and dynamic investor of equity capital in growth economy companies, with the University of Cambridge, Origin Capital and other existing shareholders also taking part.
Richard Pugh, Investor at BGF, who joins the Board of Echion says: “Echion has huge potential to use its cutting-edge battery chemistry technology to accelerate the adoption of batteries in a range of applications. BGF is convinced that batteries will play a critical role in the energy transition, and identified that Echion’s technology brings significant benefits in key areas such as fast-charging or high-power applications.”
“This funding round will support an exceptional management team in completing the final push to commercial adoption, working in parallel with a range of very high quality stakeholders for instance recent joint projects with Johnson Matthey, and a number of other high profile international customers.”
This increases BGF’s investment in companies engaged in carbon reduction and the energy transition to £230m, and comes shortly after the announcement of a Clean Growth Advisory Board chaired by Baroness Brown of Cambridge.
Echion’s materials have been successfully evaluated by major battery cell and battery materials manufacturers around the world, who are now moving forward to larger scale trials. This financing will allow Echion to scale-up to multi-tonne level material production, demonstrating high-yield, cost effective manufacturability as well as to supply the growing demand for material for pre-production trials.
Rodrigo Amado, Head of Strategy and New Ventures at CBMM says: “This partnership is part of our global strategy to accelerate the time to market of our Battery Materials Business front and bring to market an innovative niobium applied technology that will truly transform the way the world moves. Together, CBMM and Echion will advance towards sustainable mobility by offering ultra-fast charging batteries that have greater stability and longer life. We are optimistic and believe that these new products will be available within the next year.”
The funds will also be used to strengthen customer support, commercial and R&D operations.
Echion CEO Jean de La Verpilliere said: “We are tremendously excited to start the next stage in our journey to bring the Echion Mixed Niobium Oxide products to market. We have great synergies within our investor base, and will keep building a world-leading team to deliver exceptional performance to our customers. We look forward to creating value for our partners and contributing to making superfast charging batteries a reality.”
Echion is keen to hear from other cell or battery material manufacturers who also wish to evaluate its products.
Chris Gibbs, Investment Manager at Cambridge Enterprise said: “Having supported Echion right from the start of its journey to commercialise its novel lithium-ion battery technology, Cambridge Enterprise is delighted to see it complete this significant funding round. Echion is now in a very strong position to deliver on the team’s robust commercial traction and make a significant impact in the industry.”
About Echion Technologies:
Echion is a world-leading developer of advanced lithium-ion battery materials, whose products enable cell manufacturers to deliver cost-effective, fast-charging, high-energy density and long-life power cells for a wide range of markets including automotive, transportation, premium consumer electronics, and grid-storage applications.
Echion provides materials and battery cell manufacturers with packages of protected intellectual property, customisation options, materials synthesis and cell integration know-how and for different end-user markets.
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