Wala Receives Investment from Newtown Partners Ahead of ICO Launch

Blockchain, FinTech, Investing | October 5, 2017 By:

Blockchain-powered financial services platform Wala has received an undisclosed equity investment from Newtown Partners.

Wala is a financial platform with a mission to help people reach financial prosperity by eliminating the barriers to banking. Their goal is to close the gap that exists between consumers and financial service providers by increasing the accessibility of the financial system. The platform aims to achieve this by making basic banking free and by making all financial services readily available through a customer’s phone.

Newtown Partners is the venture capital firm founded by Bitcoin Foundation executive director Llew Claasen and Vinny Lingham. Claasen is the founder of mobile gift card company Gyft, sold to First Data in 2015;  while Lingham is the founder of Civic, a Silicon Valley-based startup that completed a $33m token sale for a digital identity management platform in July.

The new equity investment will enable Wala to deliver on the promise of bridging the gap between banks and unbanked people with blockchain technology. By building a consumer-facing platform on the ethereum blockchain, the company plans to let consumers transact with blockchain-based tokens, which are then settled as fiat payments with partner banks.

Wala said it has tested prototypes of its platform in over 100 countries, reaching 1 million consumers without traditional banking access. These local customer communities have been instrumental in demonstrating that digital technology can be used to effectively remove the key barriers to the adoption of financial services by the underbanked and underserved: access, cost and embedded economic incentives.

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.

Later this month, Wala will serve as the launch partner for Dala, a new financial services utility token. The Dala utility token is a general-purpose ERC-20 crypto-token created to enable free banking for emerging market consumers. The token is fractionally divisible and is independent of all local currencies and cryptocurrencies. Consumers will be able to engage in the Dala ecosystem by making transfers using their own token wallets, via the Wala Financial Platform, or through other applications built using the Dala API.

The Dala initial coin offering (ICO) begins on October 15, with a goal of raising US $30 million. The ICO will use Vinny Lingham’s Civic app to provide identity verification to token sale investors.

“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,” said Wala founder and CEO Tricia Martinez. “Our community’s guidance has ensured that the Wala Financial Platform has been built by the people for the people. We are thrilled to be working with Newtown Partners. The depth and breadth of their expertise as both entrepreneurs and investors in technology, combined with their commitment to creating globally successful startups will be key to the future success of Wala. We are excited about taking the next steps in our journey with Llew & Vinny.”

“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,” said Claasen. “These are the kinds of big problems being addressed by bold innovations that we like to back”