Ramp, the payments infrastructure startup focused on crypto on-ramps, has closed a $9 million seed round led by venture capital firm NfX and Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital.
Founded in 2017, Ramp styles itself as a “PayPal for crypto” service. It aims to make the process of interacting with crypto-assets — whether that's bitcoin or Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) — simpler for newcomers to the space.
“What we try to achieve is to radically simplify the crypto onboarding use cases and to make many more use cases viable and attractive,” Szymon Sypniewicz, co-founder and CEO of Ramp, told The Block.
A who’s who of angel investors associated with big-name fintech firms also participated in the raise, including former TransferWise CEO Taavet Hinrikus; former Coinbase CTO Balaji S. Srinivasan; Roham Gharegozlou, CEO and founder of Dapper Labs; ComplyAdvantage founder and CEO Charles Delingpole; Anchorage president and co-founder Diogo Monica; Keith Grose, head of international at Plaid; Francesco Simoneschi, CEO and founder at TrueLayer; and Celo founder Rene Reinsberg.
Ramp last raised money in a $1.2 million pre-seed round in 2018 from investors including Fabric Ventures, Firstminute Capital, Seedcamp and MakerDAO.
Moving from fiat to crypto
Ramp’s solution is a non-custodial, full-stack payment infrastructure, which it offers to partners — such as exchanges, marketplaces and wallet apps — to help their customers move money from fiat into cryptocurrencies more easily.
Sypniewicz said the “first generation” of crypto technology was built specifically for traders, which puts off newcomers to the space who often have limited trading experience. Ramp, he said, offers an armchair ride by comparison because it “built the onboarding flow with newcomers and newbies in mind.”
“We use plain language, we really describe in-depth what’s happening, what’s going on. And we also built this flow to resemble a payment flow or an e-commerce checkout flow. So you basically need to click the ‘next’ button a couple of times and you’re done with the transaction,” he added.
Ramp is headquartered in London and supervised by the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority, but most of its operation is run out of Poland.
Another way in which the business tries to smooth the process of crypto onboarding is by adjusting its identification verification checks, based on the riskiness of a given transaction. A $20 NFT purchase, for example, may only require bank account verification through an Open Banking connection. A large purchase of crypto, on the other hand, may trigger additional requirements such as an ID scan and a proof of funds check.
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