[Funding alert] Nume Crypto raises $2M in pre-seed round led by Sequoia Capital India

With this funding, the Web3 payments startup aims to make crypto payments possible for everyone. The round saw participation from Sequoia Capital India, BEENEXT, Whiteboard Capital, and several prominent angels.

Crypto payments startup Nume Crypto has raised $2 million in a pre-seed funding round led by Sequoia Capital India.

The round also saw participation from BEENEXT, Whiteboard Capital, and several angel investors including Jaynti Kanani, Co-founder of Polygon; Balaji Srinivasan, Former CTO of Coinbase and General Partner at a16z; Gabby Dizon, Co-founder of Yield Guild Games (YGG); Sanat Rao, General Partner at BlockTower Capital; Rahul Rai, Co-Head of Market Neutral at BlockTower Capital; Arun Samudrala, Engineering Lead at Google; and Gautam Seshadri, Chief Business Officer of Blowhorn.

Nume Crypto's advisors include Vinodh Bhat, Co-founder of JioSaavn; and Ankit Jain, CEO and Co-founder of StepChange and Former VP of Ola Electric.

Speaking of the funding, Shailesh Lakhani, MD, Sequoia India, said, "Nume is aiming to make good on the original promise of cryptocurrency, which was to make it accessible for the masses as a payments platform. Their innovative approach and merchant-friendly business model immediately resonated with us and Sequoia Capital India is thrilled to lead their pre-seed fundraise."

Founded by sisters Madhumitha Harishankar and Niveda Harishankar in November 2021, Nume Crypto is a near zero-cost crypto payment gateway that processes cryptocurrency payments (ETH and ERC-20 tokens, to begin with) powered by its new L2 scaling protocol.

Nume Crypto has raised $2 million as pre-seed funding

Exploring crypto

Before founding Nume Crypto, Madhumita and Niveda weren’t a part of the crypto sphere on the job front. However Madumita has been working on crypto payments since midway of her PhD. She presented her crypto research in Ripple's UBRI conference in 2018 and also attended Stanford Blockchain Conference/SFBW in 2019/2020.

“At that time, I was working as a software engineer for a few years after my undergrad, and Niveda was working for design and product at Amazon,” Madhumita told The Decrypting Story.

“But my research led to exploring blockchain and cryptocurrencies. I realised that there’s so much scope here for financial inclusivity. The tech overcomes many geographic and government regulations, and reduces shortcomings across the world in different regions,” she explained.

Madhumitha holds a PhD in incentive design for wireless networks (with a focus on streaming crypto micropayments for data use) from Carnegie Mellon University, and has worked as a software engineer at Barclays and AWS.

Niveda was a UX designer at Amazon across the Marketplace, Alexa and Kindle teams. She led the design for the world’s first multi-voice assistant integration between Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana, and built a new reading experience from 0 to 1 in Kindle for which she holds a patent.

What inspired them to go ahead with their crypto venture was its potential and unique impact. The sister duo reconnected for the business idea when Niveda left Amazon and returned to India. Madhumita had come up with the idea based on the research for her PhD.

At the crux of Nume Crypto's offering is the aim to make cryptocurrency transactions more economical. The platform is building an application to bring crypto to the masses. The protocol is centred around reducing the processing costs.

The founders are also part of the first cohort of Sequoia Spark, a year-long fellowship programme combining capital and mentorship that 15 women-led companies in India and Southeast Asia were chosen for.

One of the challenges is the number of people working in the crypto industry. The space is rapidly growing as more consumers are taking an interest in understanding it, so the demand has risen. “Just keeping up with the projects and tech in crypto, and the latest protocols to reduce the costs is really challenging,” Madhumita reveals.

“The kind of advisors and investor interest we’ve had, I’ve honestly not felt like a ‘woman’ leader. I’ve felt like a leader. Everyone’s really open to having conversations about the startup,” Niveda addresses, adding, “In India, the crypto space is at its infancy level, and that way everyone’s really interested in what we’re doing.”

At launch later this year, Nume Crypto will offer two products:

NumePay: A non-custodial wallet that allows retail consumers to deposit their crypto and start shopping with businesses that have integrated with NumePay checkout—with no gas fees. NumePay wallet does away with device-specific dependencies while ensuring that Nume itself does not have access to users’ private keys. Customers can sign up by email, phone number or social authentication.

NumePay Business: It enables businesses to start offering cryptocurrency payment options to their customers at 1 percent per transaction. Offering instant payment confirmations, NumePay Business also allows daily settlements to the merchants’ NumePay Business account, which can then be withdrawn at any time. The settlement time of 24 hours will be significantly reduced at scale.

The founders have several years of academic and corporate experience in engineering and building products with a customer-first lens.

“Team Nume brings a rare combination of deep crypto know-how and real-world execution capabilities to the table. They are building a 100x product benchmarked against status quo of crypto or payment rails wrt TPS, costs and overall efficiency,” said Dirk van Quaquebeke, Managing Partner, BEENEXT.

Currently, the products are in the early stages of beta testing with a public launch slated for Q4 of this year.

(The story has been updated with additional details on crypto projects one of the founders was working on previously.)

Edited by Kanishk Singh