Our Investment in Cybrid: Crypto/DeFi Banking As A Service
Tech may be eating the world, but some industries are easier to swallow than others. Financial institutions have shown remarkable immovability in the face of seismic technological change. Yes, we have different names, logos and interfaces, but the core of money movement still relies on the same underlying piping from half a century ago.
The Internet's original sin was that money was not an underlying protocol. Modern-day fintech and commerce platforms build on top of the shoulders of giants like Plaid, Stripe and Marqeta. These internet-friendly abstraction layers facilitate money movement by helping retrofit legacy financial infrastructure to the digital age. However, abstraction and aggregation throughout the value chain come with a (literal) cost in the form of fees. For years, there's been friction between fintechs and their banking partners. CEOs and founders will tell you how difficult it is to innovate up and down the stack, mainly due to the long timelines and complexities that compliance adds.
Cryptocurrencies and DeFi protocols represent digitally-native, low-cost, alternatives to traditional financial services infrastructure for products such as lending, savings, trading and insurance. However, despite the promise of crypto and DeFi (not to mention the yields!), mainstream adoption among businesses remains low. Why? The integration is a heavy lift, compliance is complicated, and most companies lack the resources and in-house expertise.
Today, we're excited to share our investment in Cybrid, a Crypto Banking as a Service platform for businesses. Their developer-centric platform allows fintechs to embed DeFi features directly in their products. In addition, Cybrid provides all the necessary infrastructure, compliance, security, and reporting for neobanks and fintechs to bring crypto-financial tools to market quickly.
Avinash Chidambaram (CEO) and Brent Cararra (CTO) are both experienced founders and operators. Avinash had held executive positions in product leadership at Interac Corp and BlackBerry before co-founding his own company, Ario (acquired by Thinking Capital). There, he hired Brent, who became their Head of Security. Before that, Brent spent several years at the Canadian Intelligence and Security Service (CSIS), with a Masters and Ph.D. in Computer Science and Computer Engineering, respectively. We're thrilled to partner with the whole Cybrid team on their mission to bring the adoption of DeFi to the mainstream. In order to do so, they believe customers want to use them with the financial brands of the future that they already use and trust.
We led their $3.1M seed round with participation from our friends at Luge and Harvest.
Fintechs are under enormous pressure to deliver native access to cryptocurrencies and DeFi through their products. However, the zero-to-one cost and regulatory overhead (regional, national, etc.) are substantial. As a result, development teams will need to decide whether they want to build and manage these undifferentiated capabilities themselves or work with a 3rd party like Cybrid to accelerate their ability to innovate and ship.
Out of the gate, Cybrid will provide:
- Mobile/web SDKs
- Themeable widgets
- Fiat onramps/offramps
- Fraud detection
- Custody solutions,
- A set of growing liquidity options.
They have an aggressive roadmap to continue to service the growing needs of developers.
Long term, we believe DeFi represents a future opportunity for companies to reduce their reliance or replace their dependency on traditional banking infrastructure. Cybrid is building towards that future and will help enable the next wave of innovation in financial services.
If you're interested in helping bring DeFi mainstream, the Cybrid team is hiring for several roles.