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SA bitcoin platform Luno closes R120m round led by Balderton Capital

South African founded bitcoin platform Luno today announced its expansion into 35 new markets across Europe, and a R120-million Series B funding round, led by London-based venture capital firm Balderton Capital.

Rand Merchant Investments, through its fintech investment arm, AlphaCode, and existing investors Digital Currency Group also participated in the round.

Luno allows users to buy and sell digital currencies. The announcement follows Luno’s R60-million Series A round in 2015, which was led by emerging market tech giant Naspers.

While Luno CEO Marcus Swanepoel declined to reveal the exact size of the stake in the company that investors had taken, he said that the investment is for a minority stake of between 10% and 25%.

The investment, he said, would help double staff headcount from the current 70 in offices in London, Singapore and Cape Town. Most of the new positions will be in the startup’s Cape Town office. The company has already posted job ads for some of the positions on its website.

Luno CEO Marcus Swanepoel said only that it is for a minority stake of between 10% and 25%

The funding will also help improve users experience through for example the development of new funding methods, faster and better onboarding, he said.

Swanepoel said the company’s different offices help it to be closer to its customers and as bitcoin apps in each jurisdiction are different, while regulations are also unique to each jurisdiction. In addition, staff can better interact with stakeholders in each jurisdiction through the various fintech events held there.

In a press release today Luno, Swanepoel said the company had seen an “unprecedented demand” in Europe, not just for digital currency, but also for the company’s other products, in particular the Luno mobile apps.

He said the partnership with Rand Merchant Bank will enable Luno to unlock more value for our customers in South Africa by providing products that are safe, easy to access and use, and all in a regulatory compliant manner.