Singapore-based DeFi tech startup Pillow raises $3M to democratized access to decentralized finance and accelerate global expansion
Decentralized finance (or DeFi) is slowly gaining momentum with prospects to replace traditional banks and other financial institutions. DeFi provides a new way for users to lend, borrow and save while bypassing traditional gatekeepers of finance such as banks and government regulations.
DeFi is built on the premise that the technology will potentially eliminate financial middlemen by utilizing smart contracts to run code that governs the rules between two counterparties. The goal of DeFi is to create a decentralized financial system that is not controlled by a single entity and also enables crypto-denominated lending outside of traditional banks.
However, not many people know what DeFi is, let alone benefit from it. That’s why Singapore-based DeFi tech startup Pillow is on a mission to level the playing field, democratize access to DeFi, and help everyone to generate yields on their crypto investment.
This week, Pillow announced it has raised $3M in seed funding led by Elevation Capital and a host of prominent crypto angels, including Scott Lewis (Co-founder, DeFi Pulse), JD Kanani & Sandeep Nailwal (Co-founders, Polygon), Prabhakar Reddy (Co-founder, FalconX), and Aniket Jindal (Co-founder, Biconomy) and industry stalwarts like Ramakant Sharma (Livspace), Farid Ahsan (Sharechart), Kush & Sambhav (FamPay), Mukund Jha (Dunzo), and other.
Pillow will use the funding proceeds to build alpha-generating DeFi strategies for popular crypto assets (including $BTC, $ETH, and popular stablecoins), accelerate global expansion, build a strong user community, and grow the Pillow brand to make DeFi accessible worldwide.
Founded in 2021 by Arindam Roy, Rajath KM, and Kartik Mishra, Pillow is an exclusive community for users worldwide who want to earn market-beating interest rates on their crypto, instead of letting them lie idle. Arindam and Rajath are DeFi maximalists, deeply entrenched in the DeFi space since its inception. They are also active Web 3 advocates. Kartik is an early crypto adopter, buying his first bitcoin in 2013. He’s been actively participating in and advocating for DeFi since 2020.
Pillow’s platform helps generate downside-protected interest on crypto assets by investing in curated, actively managed DeFi strategies created by the team. It takes away the complexity of DeFi as users can invest and earn high yields in just 1-click without worrying about gas (transaction) fees, underlying chains and tokens, etc. In under three weeks of launching their beta in December 2021, Pillow has organically scaled to more than $1M in AUM (Assets Under Management) on the back of their stablecoin strategy, which provides 17.8% yield. To ensure customers’ crypto assets are secure, Pillow uses BitGo, the world’s leading custodial services, for custody management and also leverages Gnosis Safe for multi-sig capabilities.
“We want to create a future where accessibility to decentralized finance is democratized, if not more than traditional finance. We’re fulfilling this vision by letting our users gain access to DeFi yield opportunities in a simple, safe, and secure manner,” said the Pillow founders. They added, “Our users have shown unequivocal faith in our platform in our private access program, and we’re on track to scale this to new heights. We’re grateful for the mentorship and guidance of Elevation Capital as we scale, along with some of the best builders in the Web 3.0 space, including Sandeep, JD, Prabhakar, and Aniket. We’re elated to have the ecosystem rally behind us as we build our platform and community.”
Vaas Bhaskar, Principal, Elevation Capital, said, “We believe the next big unlock in Web 3.0 is going to come from significantly improving user experiences. Pillow fits right into that theme by abstracting away the complexities of DeFi – and hence making It more accessible. We’re impressed with Arindam, Rajath and Kartik’s depth of understanding and clarity of vision, and are thrilled to partner with them in this journey.”
Speaking about his investment in Pillow, Scott Lewis (of DeFi Pulse) said, “I’m excited to partner with them on their journey as they become the world’s first borderless DeFi accessibility platform.”
Decentralized finance is an emerging financial system that does not rely on centralized intermediaries, such as banks, stock exchanges, or brokers. Instead, DeFi protocols use smart contracts to immutably record transactions and transfer funds. DeFi is a nascent but fast-growing space: the TVL (total value locked) has exploded in just a year, from ~$20 Bn in January 2021 to ~$250 Bn in January 2022. The challenge is in making it simple and user-friendly enough for mass adoption. Arindam, Rajath, and Kartik’s mission is to create a safe, accessible, borderless DeFi investment platform and make DeFi accessible to everyone globally.
Pillow is available for download on Google Playstore and Apple App Store and will provide users with strategies and market-beating rates for popular crypto assets that include $USDC, $USDT, $BTC, and $ETH.
Elevation Capital is a leading venture capital firm that provides seed and early-stage capital for emerging companies in India. Elevation Capital has been investing in India since 2002 and is currently investing out of its seventh pool of capital. The firm is led by Co-Managing Partners Ravi Adusumalli and Mukul Arora, along with three Managing Directors Mridul Arora, Deepak Gaur and Mayank Khanduja. The firm has invested in over 150 companies across Consumer Internet, SaaS, Fintech, D2C, Edtech, Healthtech, and Web3/Crypto, and has offices in Bengaluru, Gurgaon, and Salt Lake City.