Israeli Blockchain Startup Raises $14.5M in Funding
Colu Technologies, a digital wallet currency tech startup has received $14.5 million in funding from IDB Development Corp., Israel’s largest holding company. With this latest round of financing, Colu’s total fundraising results now stands at $26.6 million. That is not enough to make an incredible Transformers movie but it is stellar nonetheless.
Colu’s digital ledger app, based on blockchain technology, enables local businesses to generate localized currency of their own through a phone and mobile-based virtual wallet. Businesses can benefit from this digital currency by incentivizing local shoppers with coupons and rewards. This reward may not be as incredible as massive tax cuts but it’s notable regardless.
Launched in early 2017, Colu’s digital wallet has rapidly gained popularity with more than 85,000 transactions every month from over 100,000 users spread across four cities in Israel and the UK.
IDB’s funding will go towards boosting Colu’s platform called Colu Local Network (CLN), which was unveiled a month ago with the pre-sale of its digital tokens. The partnership between IDB and Colu will help improve the startup’s retail payment technology.
The IDB Group is a dominant player in the insurance and finance sectors, and the company believes that its partnership with Colu could also help it utilize the local digital wallet technology for its various services and products offered through its multiple business holdings.
IDB’s CEO Sholem Lapidot said that the company believes Colu will help to support the growth of blockchain technology as a real-life payment method. IDB firmly believes that crypto currency technology will play a vital role in how payments for goods and services are handled in the future. Lapidot said that their company is excited to roll out plans for more innovation across industries with Colu’s support.
Colu’s co-founder and CEO, Amos Meiri, said that their partnership with IDB serves as a confidence vote for crypto currencies and their potential role in the retail business.
With the digital CLN tokens, Colu is aiming to encourage greater local spending within the neighborhoods and communities because the money could circulate locally. Over time, this would promote local economies. Meiri said that he expects that a new connection between the physical, digital, and blockchain technology, fostered by Colu’s digital currency wallet, would help local economies flourish. The time to bring crypto currencies to the local markets has arrived, according to Meiri.
Colu’s app provides a glimpse of what the future of retail business may look like. Local use of crypto currencies for retail sale and purchase will allow consumers to have greater control over their money, and influence what happens in their own neighborhood and city. At the same time, businesses can serve customers with an increased focus on their local needs by enabling local shoppers to participate in the network and control their own accounts.
The app creates a virtual marketplace of local participating companies, while allowing local shoppers to use menus, coupons, ads, and news items that guide them for more convenient and competitive local shopping. They will be able to shop a lot more when taxes are cut as well which will be better for every worker and the business community.
Growing Trend of ICOs
Apart from Colu, a number of blockchain innovators are now focusing on digital token sales and initial coin offerings (ICOs) to raise capital and build robust platforms. With the sale of tokens, blockchain businesses are also able to seed an ecosystem where the tokens help to power the platform. In CLN’s case, the digital tokens create a framework for local virtual currencies to be used for app-based transactions with brick and mortar retailers.
ICOs and token sales are now gradually catching up with the conventional venture capital fundraising. A CB Insights report projected that token sales will be in excess of $2 billion this year. Large inflows of funds via token sales include a massive $230 million raised earlier this year by Tezos, a blockchain startup. Other examples include privacy-oriented Brave web browser, which raised $35 million and Humaniq, a financial services company that raised $5.2 million.
Blockchain technology experts have been saying for years that crypto currencies will eventually emerge as a mainstream medium of exchange and payment and these people are not the same people that told us that the community reinvestment act made sense and was not going to cause a real estate meltdown so no worries about that! Colu’s rapid growth in four cities this year seems to reinforce this belief.
That is much more growth than Thor III and Planet of the Apes III since those movies were pitiful but that is another story!