Maps.me, an offline mapping application with over 140 million users worldwide, has raised $50 million in a seed funding round led by Alameda Research, a Hong Kong-based investment firm and liquidity provider. Genesis Capital and CMS Holdings also participated in the round.
According to a press release shared with Decrypt, Maps.Me 2.0 comes with a multi-currency wallet that will combine direct hotel bookings and location services with decentralized finance (DeFi) tools.
Those include a possibility to store value and earn yields of up to eight percent, exchange funds with no hidden fees, send money and spend in multiple currencies for cross-border travel. Another option included is cashback on transactions.
The company says its new app will not only combat high foreign exchange fees and commissions charged by banks and third-party travel booking platforms, but broaden access to finance in general.
“By embedding and democratizing access to yield-earning finance to millions of users via an everyday app, Maps.me has the potential to really propel DeFi mainstream adoption and bring a groundbreaking technology to the masses,” commented Sam Bankman-Fried, founder and CEO of Alameda Research.
But it’s not only travelers who can possibly benefit from Maps.me 2.0. Travel and local businesses will be able to receive payments without third-party platforms while reaching the most relevant clients based on their demographics, location and interest.
“We’re excited to be working with our partners to create a DeFi ecosystem on a platform that has already achieved scale in terms of its number of users, and which will expand services that are closely linked to financial needs,” said Alex Grebnev, co-founder of Maps.Me.
The platform’s utility and governance token is MAPS, which is built on the Solana blockchain. Its holders will be eligible for personalized rewards and services.
According to Maps.me representatives, the platform is particularly popular with millennial Europeans, with over 58% of users coming from the continent and over 70% being between the ages of 18-40. In 2019 an average millennial spent $4,400 for travel-related expenses.