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After investing in numerous Indian startups, Ratan Tata, Chairman Emeritus of Tata Son has invested in Silicon Valley-based startup – Abra. Along with Tata, American Express also invested in this round.

Abra is changing how people use cash and their smartphones to send and receive money around the world. The startup basically enable anyone to store digital cash, valued in any currency, directly on their phone with no bank required.

This investment is part of the $14 Mn Series A round, announced by the company in September. Interestingly, this is first investment in the crypto currency (digital currency) startup for both American Express and Ratan Tata.

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With the funding, the startup has also announced that the Abra app will be available to all registered users in the US and Philippines in the coming weeks, with more countries to follow soon. The Abra app allows people to store digital cash, sending that money to any smartphone and using a new network of human ATMs, called Abra Tellers, who are individuals or businesses earning money by buying and selling digital cash to and from any consumer via the Abra app.

The company also announced their entry into online, digital cash-based merchant payments. Any merchant who adds the Abra Merchant APIs to their web or mobile app can allow a consumer to pay for any product or service by simply typing in their mobile phone number at checkout. Authorization and settlement happens as soon as the consumer confirms the transaction via the Abra app.

“As people and businesses transact more globally, there’s a need for more convenient and affordable ways to move money, and we think the blockchain could play an important role in the evolution of money transfer and commerce, especially in emerging markets,” said Harshul Sanghi, Managing Partner, American Express Ventures.

Abra was founded in 2014 by Bill Barhydt.


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