A16z, Polychain Invest $25 Million in Crypto Payments Startup Celo

Mobile-friendly cryptocurrency payments startup Celo has raised millions from A16z and Polychain in a private token sale.

AccessTimeIconApr 3, 2019 at 8:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 9:02 a.m. UTC

Andreessen Horowitz's cryptocurrency fund A16z Crypto and venture capital firm Polychain Capital have invested $25 million in cryptocurrency payments startup Celo.

Celo announced Tuesday that the two investors have purchased $15 million and $10 million in the project's Celo Gold tokens, respectively.

The token-based funding effort also saw participation from “several other leading institutions” from across the world, Celo said, with the amounts not being disclosed.

Celo's protocol is designed to be mobile-friendly and "ultralight," allowing funds to be sent to cellphone numbers. The Celo Gold token it describes as a "deflationary" cryptocurrency that cuts down on price volatility. The startup also offers another token, the Celo Dollar, which is a stablecoin pegged to the U.S. dollar.

On the business level, it aims to enable easier remittances, cash-transfer programs and micropayments through its open-source platform, taking an initial focus on helping unbanked or underbanked people.

The firm said:

“We strongly believe that anyone, regardless of their location or socio-economic status, should have access to basic financial tools for storing and transmitting currency.”

Celo has recently run pilots of the “easy-to-use wallet app” in Argentina and Tanzania enabling "verified" users and merchants to send and receive small payments. It is planning to release a public testnet of its platform this summer, according to the announcement.

It's also been attracting some notable talent recently. Chuck Kimble, former head of financial institution partnerships at Circle, joined Celo in February as head of strategic partnership. And, in September, former Ripple general counsel Brynly Llyr took on the same role at Celo.

In Tuesday's announcement, the firm added that it now has over 40 contributors to the project internationally, drawing expertise from the World Bank Group and the UN; tech firms like Google, Microsoft and Apple; and financial companies such as PayPal and Morgan Stanley. Academia is involved too, and individuals at MIT, Stanford, Harvard and Berkeley are also assisting.

Featured image courtesy of Celo 


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.