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Relai raises €1.2M to make bitcoin investment accessible to everyone

Relai
Image credits: Relai

Relai, a Swiss-based app that makes bitcoin savings and investment accessible for everyone, announced that it has secured €1.2M in a private investment ahead of public raise on Crowdcube. 

The company saw investments from its lead VC investor Redalpine with participation from other seed-stage investors like Polytech Ventures, Fulgur Ventures, and ACE & Company.

How will Relai use the funding?

Zurich-based investment app will use the funds raised in this private round to scale its user base across Europe. It is worth noting that the platform already has users in 40 different countries. The company also plans to launch additional features which will expedite the bitcoin transition to the mainstream.

Crowdfunding

Besides the private investment, Relai is gearing up for its first raise via Crowdcube, where investors can invest from as little as €10 and will receive common shares in the business.

The company intends to give those who invest €5,000 or more 0% fees on transactions on the Relai app. To be specific, those who invest 

  • €5,000-€9,999 will benefit from 0% transaction fees for three months
  • €10,000-€19,999 will benefit from 0% transaction fee for 6 months
  • €20,000+ will benefit from 0% transaction fees for 12 months.

In addition, investors will receive an update on the company’s performance every quarter. The public Crowdcube raise is open to investors on 3 May 2022 and will close w/c 30 May 2022. 

How was Relai born?

Based in Zurich, Relai aims to become Europe’s go-to bitcoin investment app. Julian Liniger and Adem Bilican founded Relai after they struggled to find a safe, hassle-free space for buying bitcoin. 

To know more about the company’s birth, its challenges, and more, we at Tech Funding News had an exclusive chat with Julian Liniger, CEO and Co-Founder of Relai.

Sharing his journey, Liniger says, “I came up with the idea for Relai with my co-founder, Adem Bilican after we’d both struggled for a long time to find a safe, hassle-free space for buying bitcoin. We knew that this was an asset with huge potential as a store of value, but we just couldn’t find anything out there for investing in it that wasn’t either needlessly complicated or pushing confusing, intimidating ideas about what bitcoin is or should be.” 

He adds, “So we set out to build our platform that everyday people like us would be able to use. We believe that bitcoin is going from niche to mainstream, and fast – Relai’s goal is to be at the forefront of that shift by offering informed, empowered, and secure investment in bitcoin.”

Why Bitcoin-only?

Relai is a bitcoin-only app that enables anyone in Europe to buy and sell bitcoin within minutes. 

When asked about the reason behind the bitcoin-only platform, Liniger explains, “We made Relai bitcoin-only for very specific reasons. There are loads of apps out there that enable you to trade or invest in a wide range of cryptocurrencies – from meme coins like Dogecoin to Ethereum and others – but our feeling is that essentially, all other cryptos are startups.”

He continues, “They’re highly speculative and often only created to make their founders rich, whereas bitcoin when used in a measured and informed way, has a unique potential as a savings and investment tool. Particularly in an environment like we’re in where inflation is through the roof and with little sign of slowing down – bitcoin is an excellent store of value that gives people a new way to protect the money that they can afford to lose.”

“Beyond that, one of our core goals with Relai was to make investing simple and accessible – what could be more simple than just one currency?” he says. 

Liniger also clarified that they don’t have any plans to add other cryptocurrencies in the foreseeable future. “As far as we’re concerned, bitcoin is one of the greatest savings tools of the 21st century,” he says. 

Challenges

Every organisation, in general, tends to face a certain set of challenges, however, it is 10x if it comes right down to the Crypto industry due to factors like volatility and uncertainty. 

In the crypto industries, the challenges range from headaches to catastrophes that can take a bite out of a company’s bottom line. Having said that, the management should be ready to tackle these emerging challenges. 

Bringing into the open, Liniger clarifies, “Like many startups, the biggest challenge was getting things off the ground – finding the right people, finding early funding and from the right backers, and establishing ourselves in the industry.” 

“I think it’s a particularly interesting challenge when you’re in the crypto space, working against two concurrent but slightly different challenges. On the one hand, you’ve got a booming sector that’s teeming with aspiring new businesses to compete with, but on the other, it’s still a relatively niche area so, in a broader sense you’re still fighting against the scepticism that comes with new and exciting technologies. So for us, it’s been about explaining to investors and users: why crypto, why bitcoin specifically, and, of course, why Relai,” he states.

The X factor

Unlike other platforms, Relai is designed to be simple and intuitive, enabling anyone to invest in bitcoin within minutes, with no need for registration, verification, or deposits. 

“Our biggest differentiator is how quick and easy we are – not only are we bitcoin-only, but our platform allows users to invest in just one minute. For most other apps and brokers offering bitcoin transactions, you’ll need to create an account, verify your identity, enter their platform and then sift through hundreds of different assets to choose from,” he explains.  

All users need to do is to open the app, submit an order and enter their bank details. 

“We give users a non-custodial wallet, which means they’re in full control of their bitcoin – many of our competitors don’t offer this,” says Liniger.

Hiring

Currently, the company employs around 16 full-time people.

“A big focus for our funding will be further expanding our product and development team to keep moving our offering forward and bringing our users a better, more seamless experience,” he shared. 

Relai’s secret to success

Sharing the company’s secret of success, Liniger concludes, “Quite simply, it’s our people. I feel very proud and privileged to have built a team of incredibly smart, dedicated, and passionate people. We all share the same vision and belief in bitcoin and what it can do for everyday savers and investors, and that’s what keeps driving us forward.”

Investors

Dr. Harald Nieder, General Partner at Redalpine says, “We first invested in Relai in 2021, and didn’t hesitate to add to our commitment when we were given the opportunity this time around. In the past months, we have seen great performance to reach several milestones, fantastic new additions to the team, and speedy execution – we’re excited to be on the journey with the Relai team and welcome the new investors joining us at the table.”

Pepe Borrell, VP of international at Crowdcube, says, “Relai joins the wave of European fintechs keen to champion inclusion by putting it at the very core of the business by turning their customers into shareholders – having them on their cap table. We’re excited to support our first Swiss fintech to reap the benefits of a Crowdcube raise, such as driving engagement, loyalty, and advocacy from their communities.”

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