Bitcoin startup called Coins launched in 2014 is providing financial inclusion services to Southeast Asia. Covering mostly Philippines and Thailand market, Coins received attention and interest from major merchants in the time reached 500,000 app users and they were quiet about their activities till 2015.
This may not remain same since they received $5m investment from a group of prominent international investors to develop even more exciting features such as mobile wallet, remittances and bill payment including support services.
Recently they announced a series A investment started by Accion Frontier Inclusion Fund, a company specifically focused on funding financial inclusion startups. This round includes investment from the companies such as BeeNext, Digital Currency Group, Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors, Global Brain, Pantera Capital, Rebright Partners and Wavemaker Labs.
Support for Coins didn’t finish there, more investment received from two labs working with major telecom companies in Philippines – Kickstart Ventures subsidiary of Globe Telecom and incubator called IdeaSpace Foundation backed by First Pacific which is owner of many telecom companies as well as Smart Communications.
The CEO of the startup, Ron Hose, explained in his interview to CoinDesk how last two investors will especially benefit the growth.
“We’ve actually worked closely with them so we can facilitate payments to their mobile wallets and send money to any phone in the company. They have infrastructure locally, we help facilitate more usage of the infrastructure.”
Hose pointed out that Coins customers ‘don’t have to carry exposure to bitcoin’s volatility’. The reason is that their customers can hold funds in Philippine pesos or digital currency.
“We’re big bitcoin fans, but people who are unbanked, they can’t afford volatility,” Hose said.
Hose suggest that the main reason for Coins’s growth is its willingness to work with larger partners.
“The reason that we’ve built so many partnerships is you need to work with the banks. You need to work with telcos, governments, non-profit organizations and bring everyone to the table,” he said
Hose believes that this approach has allowed Coins to serve their customers in many creative ways such as “cardless withdrawals” at 450 ATMs. Coins users can simply enter an SMS code and get cash.
“They get cash out right out away. It’s 24/7, it’s the most convenient remittance you will find. This is rain or shine,” Hose said.