Fintech & e-commerce

Exclusive: Gro Plants New Decentralized Finance Products With $7.1M Seed

Illustration of putting a $100 bill puzzle together.

Decentralized finance, better known as DeFi, enables people to use digitized currency to get yield from emerging financial services without dealing with cryptocurrency volatility. However, it still requires some technical expertise.

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Enter Gro. The 1-year-old London-based company is building products, called protocols or autonomous programs, for a more simple and friendly DeFi experience. It closed on a $7.1 million seed round to further its mission.

“Last summer was the ‘DeFi summer’ where we saw protocols go from early-stage to assets more than doubling in the last quarter,” Gro’s founder Hannes Graah told Crunchbase News. “New and interesting services are now being built that will provide access to high yields in DeFi.”

The round, which represents Gro’s total funding to date, was led by Galaxy Digital, Framework Ventures and Northzone. The firms were joined by a group of angel investors.

Michael Jordan, vice president of Galaxy Digital, said in a statement that DeFi’s building blocks have developed over the past three years in areas, such as lending, money markets and asset exchange, that have made yield accessible for those with patience, expertise and risk tolerance.

“However, user experience challenges and significant time and capital investment meant the addressable market was limited to those willing to put in the work,” Jordan added. “We’re excited to see Gro kick off the next phase of DeFi users who want exposure in consumer-friendly simple products.”

Prior to forming Gro, Graah was dabbling in cryptocurrency and decentralized finance as vice president of growth at financial services company Revolut. He and his peers saw the impact of DeFi, but that it was only available to people who knew how to interact with the protocols.

Gro intends to use the new funding to scale its initial two products that will offer decentralized and legacy finance components to balance users’ yield and risk preference, such as lending, trading and insurance. The first product is slated to go public in April. In addition, Graah expects to triple the 10-person employee count this year.

“The exciting part is that we are seeing the wiring and pipes of DeFi being built that are interoperable in a permissionless way,” he added. “Once the fundamentals of finance, like lending and trading, are put in place, we can build in more interesting consumer layer applications.”

Meanwhile, Wendy Xiao Schadeck, partner at Northzone, said in a statement that Graah is leading Gro into a company poised for growth.

“Hannes is a seasoned operator who knows, upside down, the consumer financial apps ecosystem and has a clarity of vision and deep knowledge of the crypto-native community needed to build a leader in the space,” she added.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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