ZELF, a Latvian fintech startup creating a messenger-based neobank for Gen Z, has raised $2 million in a pre-seed funding round. The round was led by Austrian venture capital fund 3VC with backing from Seed Х and Hard Yaka. Other investors include Yair Goldfinger, co-founder of ICQ, and Chris Adelsbach, venture partner at Techstars and founding partner at Outrun Ventures.

ZELF brings financial services directly to instant messengers like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram and Viber. The company claims it takes less than 30 seconds to receive a virtual Mastercard card and an IBAN account.

Once issued, a customer can send and receive money through the messaging platform of their choice — with their voice. The system uses an AI-powered voice control system.

Founded in Riga in 2019, ZELF says over half a million customers from over 100 countries have pre-ordered cards and that its customer base is growing 70 percent each month.

“We are confident that our business model of eliminating cumbersome banking apps, as well as physical plastic cards, will prove to be the winning strategy,” says Elliot Goykhman, founder and CEO.

The fresh funding will be used to further boost the Baltic neobank’s growth and expand its services through Europe, namely in Spain, Germany, Poland, Italy, and also to enter into the UK and the US.

Photo: founder and CEO Elliot Goykhman

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