Slingshot, a service that allows users to trade directly from their wallets while aggregating liquidity across a range of decentralized exchanges, has raised $15 million in a funding round led by Ribbit Capital.
The Series A fundraising round also included such investors as K5 Global, Shrug Capital, The Chainsmokers, singer Jason Derulo, Swiss entrepreneur Guillaume Pousaz and Austin Rief, a co-founder of media company Morning Brew. Electric Capital and Framework Ventures returned with follow-on investments. Slingshot raised a $3.1 million in a seed round in October 2020, meaning it has now raised $18.1 million.
Although it’s a nebulous concept, especially to those who are new to crypto, “Web 3″ will likely shift users further away from centralized exchanges, order books and matching engines.
Instead, firms like Slingshot will favor a kind of on-chain “liquidity search engine” that finds the most efficient path for any trade, resulting in better prices for users, according to Clinton Bembry, the startup’s CEO, .
Calling Slingshot a “Web 3 trading platform” leans on a buzzword, Bembry admits, but it’s also the best way to describe concisely what the platform does.
“What it actually means is your crypto wallet is your account – everywhere,” Bembry said in an interview. “We can’t ban the user from our platform and lock them out of their investments, so it ends up being a much more empowering experience for the user. On top of that, you get access to a lot of opportunities that don’t exist on centralized exchanges.”
User experience push
With its latest bump in funding, Slingshot aims to reach the crypto-curious who may have done some trading on a centralized exchange, Bembry said. An investor like Ribbit Capital has made a name for itself by investing in consumer fintechs such as Robinhood Markets, Coinbase and Revolut, he added, and understands how to build a mainstream brand in finance.
Of course, that will require the Web 3 user experience to become simpler and more seamless for the average person.
“We obsess over our product and user interface,” Bembry said. “There’s still a lot of work to be done on user experience, because I think a lot of the focus has been on protocols. Using some of the products in this space is still confusing, and even though I’ve been in crypto for five years, sometimes I give up myself.”
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