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Neo-banking crypto startup Juno raises $18 million led by ParaFi Capital

Founded by three Indian entrepreneurs Varun Deshpande, Ratnesh Ray, and Siddharth Verma, the startup is also backed by Balaji Srinivasan (ex-CTO of Coinbase) and Surojit Chatterjee (CPO of Coinbase), Ryan Selkis (Founder, Messari), Sandeep Nailwal and Jaynti Kanani (Founders of Polygon).

October 01, 2022 / 07:26 PM IST

Neo-banking crypto startup Juno has raised $18 million in a Series A round led by ParaFi Capital’s Growth Fund to expand its digital banking product suite and launch the first tokenised loyalty program. This round comes at a time when crypto startups are struggling to float through the bear market.

The round also saw participation from Hashed, Jump Crypto, Uncorrelated Fund, Greycroft, Mithril, Antler Global, 6th Man Ventures and Abstract Ventures.

Founded by three Indian entrepreneurs Varun Deshpande, Ratnesh Ray, and Siddharth Verma, the startup is also backed by Balaji Srinivasan (ex-CTO of Coinbase) and Surojit Chatterjee (CPO of Coinbase), Ryan Selkis (Founder, Messari), Sandeep Nailwal and Jaynti Kanani (Founders of Polygon), Sriram Krishnan (General Partner, a16z), ​​and Venu Palaparthi (President, FTX Capital Markets).

This was the second startup founded by the trio after their previous platform, BeeWise, built for commerce apps, was acquired by Aditya Birla Money.

In 2019, Juno started off as a neobank Nuo protocol focusing on cross-border remittances for Indian immigrants. In 2020, it shut down to pursue a more regulated approach to crypto. The same year, it also raised a seed round of $3 million from Sequoia India’s accelerator programme, Surge, along with Polychain Capital, Consensys Ventures and Dragonfly Capital.

Today, it has evolved into a crypto- native platform, enabling users to convert a part of their salaries into tokens with ease.

Moneycontrol reported this Series A round earlier in March.

Juno’s crypto-native banking platform is now processing over $1 Billion in annualized transaction volume. It has also seen a 10x user growth in the last 9 months, during one of the worst bear markets in crypto. 1 in every 3 debit cards spends using a Juno card is now in USDC.

USDC is a form of cryptocurrency that is identified as a stablecoin, meaning it is linked to an existing asset, in this case, the US Dollar. Stablecoins stay at a fixed value, in line with the asset they are linked to. This lends them stability and results in fewer drastic fluctuations. So, in this scenario, 1 USDC = 1 US Dollar.

The platform provides a complete loop to convert the currency to USDC, earn a 4 percent annual yield on the same and also a metal MasterCard debit card that allows users to spend their USDC.

The startup is also launching its own token. In a statement, the company said, “It is one of the first tokens launched with no allocation for founders, investors or employees. Over 75,000 Juno members are already eligible to claim 150 Million Juno coins in airdrop for their previous activities on the Juno platform.”

Varun Deshpande, Co-Founder and CEO at Juno, said, “Crypto natives in the US are finding existing banks completely inadequate for everyday use of crypto. We are rebuilding a checking account from the ground up with crypto and web3 at its core. Juno empowers members to earn part of their paycheck in crypto and use crypto for everyday transactions like bill payments or buying coffee.”
Sanghamitra Kar
first published: Oct 1, 2022 07:26 pm