Cenoa’s zero-fee digital dollar product aims to serve the billions of people hit by inflation in emerging markets
Cenoa, the borderless super wallet improving access to dollar-based products in emerging markets, announces it has raised US$7 million in Seed funding. The fund raise was led by San Francisco-based venture capital firm Quiet Capital – an early backer of Robinhood; and Underscore VC – a Boston-based firm focused on backing the next generation of iconic companies at their earliest stages. Further investors include Human Capital, Ulu Ventures, Acrew Capital, and Collective Spark – who have all invested in successful well-known global neobank and fintech unicorns such as Chime, Coinbase, Brex and SoFi.
Proceeds from the fund raise will be used to grow Cenoa’s operations to expand both beyond its core product and to new markets in Latin America, Africa, Southeast Asia, and Europe. Cenoa’s product development aims to add US Dollar-based debit cards and instant money transfer within the next 18 months. Funds will also be used to hire talent across different business functions – from product development to engineering – for its fully remote global team.
With inflation soaring globally to a 40-year peak, billions of people in emerging economies are facing currency meltdowns. They are left with few options but to store savings in strong currencies like the US Dollar. In many countries, the existing financial system makes buying USD either very difficult or very expensive while offering almost no yield. Everyday people in emerging markets suffer deteriorating living standards and are neglected in a world of rising prices.
Cenoa introduces a borderless and non-bureaucratic way to access a digital dollar product without any fees and earn an inflation-resistant yield. This compares to less than 1 percent in most traditional banks, which also take hefty fees and often require paperwork for simple currency exchanges. With the US Dollar at its strongest in 20 years, and emerging markets setting the highest USD saving demand, Cenoa’s non-custodial wallet is helping users make their assets devaluation-proof and increase savings growth.
Seçkin Çağlın, Founder and Co-CEO of Cenoa, said:
“Cenoa offers easy access to digital dollar-based products, 100 percent designed for the everyday user. We believe in using modern technologies such as blockchain to provide one-click access to the digital dollar ecosystem to benefit the customers that need that access most – those in emerging economies lacking stable currencies like Argentina and Nigeria. People in these countries should be able to easily and affordably access US Dollars and beat inflation while saving, a function the traditional financial system has failed to provide.”
Emre Ertan, Founder and Co-CEO of Cenoa, added:
“We are delighted to welcome all our new investors of our US$7 million Seed fund raise, which will provide us with the necessary liquidity to scale our borderless and zero-fee product to hundreds of thousands of new users in 2023. Our successful and diligent beta-testing phase has proven to be viable for large-scale adoption, and we have received an incredible amount of customer interest – the number of users on our early access waitlist exceeds 10,000 and grows every day.”
Created as a truly global solution, Cenoa is currently available across 35 markets. While still in its beta-testing phase with 1,000 private users, the company is already fully integrated with BiLira and Transak, which connect Cenoa with the local banking systems.
Cenoa’s target for the next two years is to onboard millions of customers worldwide and bring seamless local currency to dollar conversion to users. Built on blockchain technology, its non-custodial savings solution cuts out the costs for branches, intermediary fees, and other inefficient procedures of traditional banking.
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Michael Bloch, Partner at Quiet Capital, commented:
“Cenoa is on a mission to broaden access to the US financial ecosystem, which will enable billions of people around the world to safely protect & grow their wealth. As early investors in many disruptive fintech companies, we similarly see untapped, significant potential for simple & safe solutions like Cenoa that can unlock new services to the people that need them most.”
Richard Dulude, Partner at Underscore VC, commented:
“Contrary to what is commonly believed, turbulent economic times make the best start-ups and really contribute to the maturing of frontier technologies. Millions around the world see their hard-earned savings evaporate due to inflation – and are stuck with local banks unwilling to help them. Cenoa solves this head-on by integrating users worldwide into the digital dollar economy. We strongly believe in this mission of financial inclusion, and its financial viability, as it serves the needs of people in emerging markets and fights global inequality.”
Cenoa’s four person Founder Team consists of Co-CEOs Emre Ertan (former CPO & CTO of rapid delivery decacorn Getir) and Seçkin Çağlın (ex-McKinsey, former Head of Cards & CMO of BBVA Garanti Payments), who developed their idea together at Stanford Business School; and technical Co-Founders Sırrı Perek (Facebook) and Buğra Çakmak (Google).
Based in Singapore, the fintech challenger’s team is fully remote with employees in Turkey, Singapore, the UK, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland.
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