Decentralised finance startup Minke has raised $650,000 in a pre-seed round to enter the fast-growing DeFi space.
The startup is currently part of the Startmate summer cohort and was backed by angel investors Rayn Ong and Quentin Wallace, and ex-Outware Mobile founders Eytan Lenko and Danny Gorog.
Co-founders Josh Reyes and Marcos Teixeira met as early employees at Melbourne startup SmartrMail. Like that venture, the global team is operating remotely with early employees based in Australia, Portugal, Japan, Brazil and the UK.
“It’s that global foundation and perspective which makes Minke the perfect team to build a fintech that’s available at a global scale in the same vein as Revolut,” Reyes said.
“The opportunity that DeFi and its permissionless protocols enables is to build the first truly global fintech accessible by anyone regardless of where they live.”
Minke’s approach to the consumer DeFi space means the app is built with similar infrastructure to popular crypto wallets such as Metamask but with an interface that feels more familiar to popular fintechs like UK-based Revolut or local neobank Up.
At launch users will be able to purchase stablecoins pegged to the US dollar with 29 different currencies, with plans to add more in the near future. Reyes sees countries outside Australia as offering the biggest opportunity for his platform.
“While many of us in the West have never experienced true inflation until this year, those in the Global South often see their local currencies rapidly depreciate,” he said.
“This past year the Argentine Peso lost 20% of its value against the dollar. In really simple terms, we’re the easiest way to access a high-yield US dollar savings account globally.”
And as inflation begins to return, including here in Australia, Reyes believes that Minke’s accessibility of DeFi protocols to take it mainstream. He points out that best estimates on active users on top lending protocols like Aave and Compound in the low thousands, compared to the tens of millions seen on popular fintechs.
“The reality is a non-crypto native landing on Aave or any other DeFi protocol is quickly lost, and can’t pick up these dapps [decentralised applications] like they’d pick up the latest fintech app,” he said.
“From buying crypto on an exchange to downloading Metamask, the experience is broken and so far from usable for those new to the space. Our intent at Minke is to build a crypto wallet that looks and feels like the latest fintech, but is completely powered by the open and permissionless technology that DeFi affords.”
For now, Minke has a waitlist of thousands of users, and is in the final stages of beta testing with the app going live to the public this month.
Plans to raise a seed round are already in place so they can scale the team and expand globally.
Startmate Principal Lauren Capelin said Minke is an example of the talent emerging in Australia when it comes to web3.
“With Minke’s founding team of seasoned operators tackling what is an exciting and emergent space, their inclusion in the cohort was an easy decision for Startmate’s Summer22 mentors,” she said.
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