Hussain Elius, known for co-founding Pathao, a leading ride-sharing app in Bangladesh, has ventured into the realm of DeFi with Wind.app. Wind.app is a self-custodial, smart contract wallet that boasts three main features. Firstly, it facilitates businesses in sending payments to remote employees globally. Secondly, it serves as a virtual bank account for individuals. Lastly, it provides an on-ramp/off-ramp infrastructure for users to convert their crypto holdings to fiat and vice versa.
Despite its recent launch, Wind.app has already facilitated over $3 million in annualized gross transaction volume (GTV). The Singapore-based startup has also secured $3.8 million in pre-seed funding, co-led by Global Founders Capital and Spartan Group, with involvement from backers such as Saison Capital, Alumni Ventures, and Tiny VC.
Having left Pathao, a dominant tech company in Bangladesh and Nepal, Elius delved into the world of crypto during the COVID pandemic. Recognizing the complexity of crypto for non-tech-savvy individuals, he set out to create an app tailored for users with minimal blockchain and crypto experience. Wind.app eliminates the need to deal with gas fees and allows users to store their money in stablecoins, providing a more stable alternative to the volatile bitcoin. Furthermore, users can register on Wind.app using their emails or phone numbers, avoiding the complexities of private or public keys.
Initially targeting freelancers and remote workers for payment, particularly in Southeast Asia, Wind.app is currently operational in the Philippines, India, and Bangladesh, with plans to expand to more countries. The startup has gained traction among early customers, particularly other Web3 startups, offering a viable alternative to high-fee exchanges for paying remote workers.
Compared to competitors like Wise or Payoneer, Wind.app sets itself apart by utilizing blockchain for settlement and offering lower fees. Its self-custodial wallet streamlines the account opening process by eliminating the need for advanced KYC, positioning Wind.app to eventually target the underbanked segment.
While Wind.app has a global user base, its initial focus on Southeast Asia, especially the Philippines, is strategic due to the region’s large remittance market for USD and a significant crypto-savvy population.
Distinctively, Wind.app has developed its own offramp and onramp for fiat and crypto coins, reducing costs significantly compared to external service providers and positioning itself as a cost-effective solution for businesses and individuals alike.
Notable competitors in the space, such as Binance and Coinbase, primarily cater to trading, distinguishing Wind.app from them. Instead, direct competitors like Payoneer and Transferwise are the startup’s focus. Elius emphasizes Wind.app’s differentiated tech stack and regulatory advantage to set it apart in the market.
The recently secured funding will fuel tech development, licensing, and compliance efforts, fortifying the startup’s off and onramps. Additionally, it will support customer acquisition strategies aimed at both businesses and individual users.