Unocoin , a Bangalore-based cryptocurrency exchange platform, announced that it has raised an undisclosed amount of funding led by Tim Draper – the early investor of Skype, Tesla, and Twitter.

XBTO Ventures, 2020 Ventures, and some veteran investors in the digital asset industry also participated in the round.

(From left)
Unocoin co-founders president Sunny Ray, CEO Sathvik Vishwanath, chief financial and compliance officer Harish BV, and chief marketing officer Abhinand Kaseti /Photo credit: Unocoin

The latest investment is part of the company’s targeted US$5 million series A funding round, which would raise its valuation to US$20 million, according to a statement.

The fresh capital will go toward the development of new products and offerings, enhancement of existing infrastructure, and talent acquisition.

Launched in 2013 Unocoin claims to be India’s first entrant into the bitcoin industry. It operates a bitcoin-Indian rupee trading platform which enables Indians to buy, sell, store, use, and accept bitcoin.

Other crypto assets that can be traded on the platform include Litecoin, Ripple, Ether, Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, and various

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How much traction has it gotten? After the lifting of an industry-wide ban on dealing in cryptocurrency by the Reserve Bank of India, which was enacted in 2018 the country has seen an increase in crypto adoption, Unocoin CEO Sathvik Vishwanath said.

Unocoin’s trading platform has witnessed a 10x jump in customer growth rates and a 5x increase in trading volumes, he added.

At its peak, the company claims to have processed transactions worth more than 2 billion rupee (US$27.3 million) per month for its over 1.3 million customers.

What challenges has it faced recently? “Since our last funding round in August 2016 the journey for Unocoin has been fraught with numerous challenges – not short of a movie story,” Vishwanath told
Tech in Asia .

After the cryptocurrency ban was lifted in the country in March this year, India was then plunged into a lockdown due to Covid-19 which brought the company new challenges in terms of hiring, operations, and growth.

What are its future plans? It aims to expand into decentralized finance with its own protocols and implement a new AI-based chatbot system to improve customer support.

“There is a real need for education in the cryptocurrency and blockchain sector in India,” Vishwanath noted. To fill the knowledge gap, the company is also working on education portals, initiatives, and programs.

What is its funding history?  

Pre-series A round (2016): US$1.5 million from Indian entities such as Blume Ventures, Mumbai Angels and Ah Ventures, along with US investors such as Digital Currency Group, Boost VC, Bank to the Future, and FundersClub.
Seed round (2014): US$250000 led by Barry Silbert.

Currency converted from Indian rupee to US dollar: US$1 = 73.3 rupee.