Malaysia-based HelloGold, which blends gold trading with blockchain technologies, on Wednesday announced raising Series A funding from Silicon Valley venture capital firm 500 Startups. The size of the funding round was not disclosed.
The development was first reported by DEALSTREETASIA in September last year that mentioned Malaysia’s Dani Sdn. Bhd among investors in HelloGold’s Series A round.
Responding to the portal’s emailed query on Wednesday, the company said the latest announcement pertains to the same round. It also confirmed the participation of Dani Sdn. Bhd in the round.
The proceeds will be used for the integration and testing of blockchain elements on the HelloGold mobile app, the company said in a statement.
Providing a Shariah-compliant platform to buy, store and sell physical investment-grade gold, HelloGold is migrating its platform to Ethereum smart contracts in the second half of 2018 to enable greater transparency and security of gold transactions, it added.
Its cryptocurrency product, GOLDX, was launched at the end of last year.
“We’re honoured to have 500 Startups support HelloGold as we use blockchain to reduce barriers and accelerate access to more affordable financial products in Asia. By integrating blockchain into the HelloGold platform, customers will benefit from greater transparency, better security, and greater flexibility,” Robin Lee, co-founder and CEO of HelloGold, said.
Founded in 2015 and headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, HelloGold estimates that in ASEAN and China alone, consuming middle class and emerging middle-class markets saved approximately $500 billion in 2016, of which $212 billion was in cash deposits.
“In addition to providing customers with more options and freedom beyond cash, blockchain will enable HelloGold to scale faster and have a lower cost base, allowing us to reach a wider demographic of underserved and unbanked markets. With Asia making up 71 per cent of the gold market in 2016, gold is a powerful means of wealth preservation and financial inclusion,” Lee added.
Khailee Ng, Managing Partner at 500 Startups, said, “We recognised HelloGold’s potential early on and nominated them to the TenxClub, an initiative by the Malaysian Ministry of Finance to support Malaysian startups with demonstrated ability to grow quickly and scale internationally. Our investment in HelloGold aligns well with our global initiatives such as the new Blockchain Track launched in San Francisco in March.”
HelloGold plans to expand its gold platform into Thailand in coming months, while potentially adding a third market by the end of the year, per a Reuters report in February.
Silicon Valley-based 500 Startups, via its 500 Durians Funds, has invested in over 160 companies across Southeast Asia. Globally, the firm has invested in over 2,000 companies from its four global funds and 14 microfunds.
Excluding ICOs, worldwide venture investment in blockchain and blockchain adjacent startups reached a record $900 million in 2017. As of February, Crunchbase estimates that venture dollar volume is on pace to surpass 2018 levels.