US neobank Cogni has raised $23 million in Series A funding in a round co-led by Hanwha Asset Management and CaplinFO.
Launched in 2018 by Archie Ravishankar, the startup says it aims to build personalized financial services based on the typical Gen Z and millennial user's lifestyle. It didn't disclose the valuation assigned to the company.
Along with providing carbon emission information data on transactions and digital gift cards, he believes that building a simplified multichain wallet service in-app will attract these users.
"86% of the millennials and Gen Z that we have spoken with don't have the knowledge or time to understand how to set up a wallet but everyone has a bank account," he says.
Set to launch in the next year, this wallet, and a forthcoming savings "account" on DeFi rails, will power its web3 vision of social commerce — the use of social media to drive e-commerce sales.
For instance, Ravishankar says the company is set to partner with a company that provides NFTs for college athletes, with the idea behind this being that anyone with a Cogni bank account would receive this through their wallet.
While the end result will be a multichain wallet, he says that it will likely launch first on Solana, a participating investor in the round through its venture arm.
A cog in the vision
However, the company may face a few hurdles to achieve this vision. For starters, a crypto interest account created by BlockFi was subject to a $100 million fine after the SEC classed it as a security.
Ravishankar admitted to The Block that they are still currently working through how such an account would be compliant but stressed his intention was to provide a high yield account with rates above that seen in traditional finance.
In a crowded neobank market, the company may also face pushback in its plans. Its number of users — still in the tens of thousands — is far below the top neobanks in the US where Chime and Current reign supreme with 13.1 million and 4 million users respectively. With this pivot into web3, however, Cogni hopes to reach 150,000 users and is currently onboarding 50-60 customers a day via word of mouth, says its founder.
Ravishankar would not disclose the valuation implied by this fresh funding but said that the company is already looking ahead, hoping to raise a Series B in about a year's time.
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