On EQT Ventures’ $6m investment in Onramper — opening the fiat floodgates for crypto applications

Antoine Moyroud
eqtventures
Published in
4 min readJan 26, 2022

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Onramper is on a mission to bridge the current and future financial system by making fiat onramping frictionless thanks to their positioning as a developer-friendly fiat-gateway orchestrator. We are proud to announce that we have led Onramper’s $6 million seed round along with our friends from Backed VC and TRGC!

Where do I start?

This question is probably one of the most asked questions I’ve heard over the past 12 months from people curious to get exposure to the world of cryptocurrencies and web3. A few years ago, I would’ve said “Head to Coinbase, check out Binance” or something along those lines, redirecting friends to centralised exchanges.

In 2022, 1.5 years after Defi Summer and a few months after some of the largest blockchain-enabled games have risen to prominence, my answer is more nuanced. With the boom of applications ranging from financial use cases to art to gaming, many of the users recently onboarded into the fabulous world of crypto came through applications that looked nothing like the obscure protocols one can find in the depths of Defi (Decentralised finance). Defi mullets, as some have come to call them, are businesses benefiting from the best of both worlds across web2 and web3, mixing state of the art Fintech UX on the frontend with the latest crypto financial innovation in the backend.

As more and more of these applications grow, so does the need for seamless onramping infrastructure, providing the first step towards this Fintech UX that the masses are now familiar with.

Offering state of the art orchestration technology

As with our investment in Moralis, we are convinced that the next millions of users in crypto will come from the applications built and not the exchanges. The very people who will come through such applications will need to start somewhere and in our current financial world, this starts with fiat. Converting fiat into crypto, known as onramping, is a hot topic in the industry. Historically, onramping was the exclusive remit of exchanges who had poured significant R&D efforts into building hybrid fintech rails to fuel their growth. At the crossroads of fintech and crypto, exchanges became the single point of entry to the ecosystem. App developers quickly realised that this setup wasn’t a sustainable low-friction way of supporting users in their web3 journey, they needed a unified way to bring them into their apps.

To tackle this problem, fiat gateways emerged to provide fiat-to-crypto infrastructure, abstracting away the complexities of developing such systems while handling legal and regulatory challenges. However, many problems remain. When looking around, we couldn’t help but notice similar patterns between the onramping and KYC (know-your-customer) space, a geographically fragmented space, high fees with competitive players and low authorisation rates. This setup seemed ripe for an actor to orchestrate and provide a unified infrastructure to serve global businesses from day one in the broadest range of geos and cryptocurrencies. Enter Onramper.

Becoming the enabler of crypto growth

By teaming up in June 2020, Thijs Maas (CEO), Salah Abdelbaki (CTO) and Maurits Dewina (COO) set out to tackle this challenge. The team has an explosive combination of humbleness, raw ambition and an obsession to create the best gateway into web3. This obsession stems from their individual experiences. Before starting Onramper, Thijs was actively engaged in the NEO and BSC communities. When building a wallet for these communities, he quickly realised first-hand the dysfunctional nature of the current existing solution and set out to build an onramping solution to fit his needs. It was around that time that he met with Salah, a serial hackathon-attendee turned avid-blockchain-developer to work on the project. Shortly after, Maurits joined, bringing with him more than 7 years of financial experience and a deep understanding of the intricacies of fintech plumbing.

It turns out they weren’t alone in feeling that a better solution could exist. Fast forward to today, Onramper has assembled a strong team building a fully fledged fiat-to-crypto platform providing the largest coverage in the industry. In doing so, they aim to be the trusted partner on which other web3 businesses can rely to have a stronger impact and become more successful.

Thanks to their partnership with the best fiat-to-crypto payment gateways, they are now covering more than 150 cryptocurrencies, across 180+ countries and 20+ payment methods. On a mission to provide superior conversion rates, better coverage and lower fees for the masses, the company is achieving 100% Compound Monthly Growth Rate (CMGR), with over 400 fully onboarded clients, and are enabling transactions which, in a parallel non-orchestrated universe, would have led to higher costs, dissatisfied customers and frustrated developers.

If the mission to bridge the worlds of fiat and cryptocurrencies is one that resonates with you, don’t hesitate to give their job-board a look, they are hiring for technical and non-technical roles here!

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