P2P startup Abra raises $14m as it looks to disrupt payments industry

Abra, a payments startup based in Silicon Valley, has raised $14m in venture financing during its Series A funding round. Leveraging blockchain technology, Abra hopes to challenge banks and financial institutions within the payment processing market.


Innovative solution

In March, Abra won ‘Best Overall Company’ during the Launch festival and has since been testing its smartphone application that allows users to store digital cash without being a bank account member.

Using the Abra app, consumers can then transfer money to another smartphone user through Abra’s network of ‘human ATMs’. Dubbed Abra Tellers, these workers earn money by purchasing and transferring digital cash to and from any consumer via the Abra App. Currently, consumers and tellers have pre-registered for the app in over 80 locations.

Abra has attracted a lot of attention from investors during its ‘heavily oversubscribed’ Series A funding round, including Arbor Ventures.

‘‘Arbor sees huge potential for the Abra business model globally, but especially in China and Southeast Asia, which are traditionally large cash economies but leapfrogging into mobile payments and bypassing traditional banking and card infrastructure at an accelerating rate,’’ stated Wei Hopeman, managing partner at Arbor Ventures.

‘‘Making cash mobile will unlock a lot of opportunities in these markets and across the region.’’


Solving a worldwide problem

Jim Robinson, RRE Ventures managing partner and Abra co-founder, believes that by leveraging blockchain technology, Abra can mount a serious challenge to financial institutions in the payments space.

‘‘As early proponents of Blockchain technology, we believe that Abra is one of the companies that’s fully leveraging the potential of the technology by reducing friction in financial services.’’

‘‘It’s not about Bitcoin for the sake of Bitcoin – it’s about how the technology can solve problems for consumers worldwide, even if they don’t know what the Blockchain is.’’

As well as receiving investment from Arbor and RRE ventures, Abra gained a cash injection from the likes of Blockchain Capital, Carthona Capital, Cyanotype, Digital Currency Group, First Round Capita and The Launch Fund.

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