Built on the Ethereum blockchain, Wala has raised an undisclosed equity investment from Newtown Partners, a fund run by Bitcoin Foundation Executive Director Llew Claasen and serial entrepreneur Vinny Lingham.
Wala will use the new equity investment to deliver its promise of zero-fee financial services for the 3.5bn consumers who are currently excluded from the formal financial system. The firm provides access to transactional banking, remittances, loans and insurance for the unbanked and underbanked.
Wala also works with specialist providers including banks, to offer a full suite of financial services. It has grown its financial services community to 1 million consumers in over 100 countries. The consumers have been instrumental in testing the Wala Financial platform.
According to Wala founder and CEO Tricia Martinez: “Through the use of blockchain technology and tokenization, we have developed a platform that makes it possible to serve the financially excluded economically at scale. Our community’s guidance has ensured that the Wala Financial Platform has been built by the people for the people.”
The roll out of the Wala platform is initially planned for emerging markets in Africa, following the footprint of local banking services partners, before expanding globally. Newtown Partners was instrumental in helping its portfolio company Augmentors complete $1m token sale in February 2017 while Lingham’s Silicon Valley-based startup Civic completed a $33m token sale for a digital identity management platform in July.
“Wala’s blockchain-enabled platform will enable greater access to zero fee financial services to billions of consumers in emerging markets and enable everyone to become economically active, no matter where in the world they are. These are the kinds of big problems being addressed by bold innovations that we like to back” explained Llew Claasen, managing partner of Newtown Partners.
As part of that journey, Wala will be the launch partner for a new financial services utility token, Dala, which will be sold and issued in a crowdfunding token sale this October. Dala will support the operationalization and further development of scalable, blockchain-enabled financial platforms for developing markets around a common unit of account and microeconomic incentive structure to create strong network effects.
The Dala token sale will look to crowdfund US$30M over a 4 week period and issue participants with their share of 300 million Dala utility tokens. The Dala token sale will also use the Civic app to provide identity verification services to backers.