Following the epic collapse of FTX and the downward spiral of Web3 sectors such as cryptocurrency, Latin America’s digital wallet startup Zulu nabbed a total of $5 million from venture capitalists.
The seed funding round was led by Cadenza Ventures, which was joined by Nexo Ventures, Simplex, CMT Digital, Gaingels, and a group of startup founders, including Caterine Castillo of Neivor; Jose Jair Bonilla, Carolina García and Oscar Sarria of Chiper; Andrew Chang, former COO and Advisor of Paxos; and Man Hei Lou of Treinta.
“Zulu is a decentralized wallet where each user holds their own keys and personally custodies their assets within a great user experience and with tools that are typically provided by centralized exchanges,” Esteban Villegas, co-founder and CEO said, according to TechCrunch. “Blockchain technology needs to be easier for the individual user to navigate and can help leapfrog Latin America to being one of the most financially democratized regions in the world.”
Villegas and co-founders Jaime Varela and Julian Delgado started the company in March 2022 following their meeting with students at Universidad de Los Andes, and their goal was to bring Web3 to Latin Americans who have been traditionally overlooked by the banks.
“Fundraising will be harder within our industry, but this is net-positive,” Villegas said. “Companies and projects that had no clear roadmap or product-market fit will be removed from the scene, and companies with clear use cases and real impact will be moved to the front of the stage.”
“Crypto regulation is necessary in Latin America to remove bad players, but it should be flexible enough to allow for new players who are working to create a positive impact but are not heavily financed, to thrive,” he continued.
Zulu says it has approximately 500,000 users across Colombia, Venezuela, Peru and Mexico and has plans to expand into other LatAm countries and the U.S. in 2023.