Tallinn-headquartered Utorg has raised $5 million in seed funds to grow headcount and IP for its fiat currency-to-crypto "super app", ahead of the official launch in the next couple of weeks.
Co-founder and CEO Eugene Petrakov says the startup aspires to stay on top of rapidly-evolving Web3 trends.
Indeed the last couple of years have seen play-to-earn games and collector's NFTs take off (as of now Donald Trump's apparently got his own $99 NFT trading card range, some of his MAGA fans think he's jumped the shark), while DeFi and DApps need to evolve to pacify critics post-FTX.
Petrakov said: "The crypto industry development dictates its own terms and speed, so for us it's crucial to keep the market tempo and meet the needs of the industry."
"With the robust tech team we are working on tech features which will allow us to improve the crypto interaction process."
Utorg's super crypto app will debut before 2022-end. This Estonian contender is promising "modest" fees in what is a fairly competitive market, and says the money will provide its main source of revenue. Besides the price point, its app is slated to offer new features for digital asset power users, adding to Utorg's existing fiat-to-crypto exchange, which supports a variety of crypto coins and accepts fiat from 187+ countries.
Early adopters of the new app can expect the usual crypto utility kit, with features like self-custody, digital wallets and fiat bridges, as well as an embeddable widget for making transfers through third-party apps and websites.
Utorg also promises upgraded Web3 functionality, such as credit cards, IBAN numbers for foreign bank transfers, integrations with NFT tokens and interest-generative savings accounts for storing crypto.
From launch, the crypto app will also utilise Utorg's AI-powered know your customer checks. Utorg says the checks can be completed in as little as three minutes.
Artem Barannyk, the startup's CFO and co-founder, who hails from Ukraine, said: "Working on the fintech product and its scaling, the legal issue is one basis that improves relations both with clients, external partners and with market regulators.
"We believe that fintech has to be a story about fair market rules, so Utorg is putting attention on a compliance component to match with the main industry requirements and norms.
The seed funds will allow Utorg to bring in more IP licences, add to its headcount and look at new revenue generation channels.
In addition to its native Estonian registration the startup currently has formal entities in Lithuania, Singapore Abu Dhabi, Canada and Thailand. And it has a solid user base already, having signed up 250,000 users for its initial exchange service. A successful outreach could see many of these also using the app next year.