Vauld (formerly Bank of Hodlers), a crypto trading and lending platform based in Singapore with most of its team in India, has raised $25 million in a Series A funding round.
Peter Thiel's Valar Ventures led the round, with participation from Pantera Capital, Coinbase Ventures, CoinShares, CMT Digital, Gumi Cryptos, and Robert Leshner’s Robot Ventures, among others.
As part of the deal, Valar Ventures' founding partner Andrew McCormack has joined Vauld's board of directors, Vauld co-founder and CEO Darshan Bathija told The Block.
The purpose of the fundraising was two-fold — scaling Vauld's team and acquiring licensing in various countries for growth — said Bathija. Vauld’s current headcount is around 40 and it is looking to add 200 more people by the end of this year across technology, marketing, customer support, and other functions, said Bathija.
About 60% of the new hirings will be for technical roles, he said, as Vauld is looking to offer new products and services such as credit cards and bank accounts for users. "We believe the convergence of crypto and fiat money is inevitable, and we want to be a part of facilitating that transition," said Bathija.
As for international expansion plans, he said Vauld aims to get relevant licenses such as lending and money transmission permits in the U.S., Europe, and Australia to grow its customer base. The firm has already applied for a payments license in Singapore and is awaiting approval.
While Vauld is currently already available globally, Bathija said licenses will help the firm explicitly acquire customers from these markets. He said companies in Singapore are allowed to onboard customers globally, but the country's law states that if a business is taking an interest in another country or region, they likely need local licensing to explicitly acquire customers there.
"Just like how individuals from India can open a bank account in Singapore, but if Singapore banks want to create a product and market it explicitly for Indian customers they would need to be licensed in India," he said.
Vauld currently has around 350,000 customers globally and it aims to have more than 1 million customers by the end of this year, Bathija added.
The Series A round brings Vauld’s total funding to date to $27.5 million. The firm has previously raised $2.5 million in two rounds. Bathija said another round will “very likely” be raised within the next six months.
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