Announced Wednesday, Lolli’s pre-Series A round features Serena Williams' Serena Ventures, her husband Alexis Ohanian’s Seven Seven Six and Night Media, the management company that represents YouTuber MrBeast.
Other investors from the influencer ranks include Casey Neistat, Phil DeFranco, Cody Ko, Noel Miller, Ian Borthwick and Gabriel Leydon.
Last year Lolli raised a $3 million seed round led by PathFinder, with participation from Digital Currency Group (CoinDesk’s owner), Michelle Phan and Ashton Kutcher.
Bitcoin is on a bull run and crypto is booming, so firms with a sturdy enough use case to have toughed it through the bear winter are making hay while the sun shines. Lolli, which incentivizes shoppers to go to its partner stores with bitcoin rewards sent to a wallet, now boasts over 1,000 merchants and 250,000 users.
Lolli co-founder Alex Adelman says the company currently offers an average of 7% bitcoin-back rewards at retailers such as Kroger, Microsoft, Booking.com and Ulta. Lolli users have earned more than $3 million in bitcoin rewards to date, Adelman said.
“We started out with the idea of educating people about bitcoin,” Adelman said in an interview. “So we just attached it to something that everybody does: shop. People think about investing when they think about bitcoin, but there's probably less than 1% of the world that would consider themselves investors. Everybody would consider themselves a shopper.”
The ultimate goal is financial empowerment and financial inclusion, said Adelman, which are also key reasons Serena Williams and her team support Lolli.
“I'm excited to announce my investment in Lolli, a company on a mission to make bitcoin more accessible,” Williams said in a statement. “Earning and owning bitcoin is a step towards financial inclusivity for all people.”
Bitcoin reaching all-time highs recently close to $60,000 is also great news for an app built upon stacking sats.
“They say for a technology to be transformative, you need to be 10 times better than the predecessor,” said Adelman. “Since we launched, bitcoin has gone up by 11 or 12 times, so 10 times better than any cashback program out there.”
CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk offers all employees above a certain salary threshold, including journalists, stock options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.