Millennial-focused money management startup Emma Technologies is expanding into crypto.
The startup is behind the Emma app for iOS and Android, which is an artificial intelligence-fueled tool that until now has only supported financial institutions like HSBC, Bank of Scotland, Barclays and others, helping users to avoid overdraft fees, manage debt and save money.
Now it's integrating with a handful of leading crypto exchanges to give users the ability to keep track of bitcoin and Ethereum balances. While Emma is only starting with the top two cryptocurrencies, they are making a statement by integrating some of the top names in the space including Binance and Coinbase as well as Kraken, Bitfinex, Bitstamp and Bittrex. Emma Co-Founder and CEO Edoardo Moreni told CCN it was in response to customer demand.
"Yes, they were asking for Crypto. Coinbase is more popular than several High Street banks within our user base, so it was pretty evident we needed to do something about this."
Moreni pointed to exchange APIs, which simplified the integration process. "This is important because banks don't act in this way and are actually against in some cases, he said, adding that the company has plans to expand to provide individual addresses for Litecoin (LTC) and Dogecoin (DOGE) as well as expanding the list of exchanges.
Meanwhile, Moreni told TechCrunch that crypto is "the next emerging asset class," pointing to a market opportunity of 3 million-plus crypto investors in the UK region. According to the Financial Times, nearly three-quarters of the UK's population is predicted to manage financial accounts via a mobile device by the next half-decade.
Emma is financial product and service agnostic and is looking to become a one-stop shop for managing money. For instance, the new crypto feature is "read-only", meaning that users can't send ETH to one another. But the same holds true for their traditional banking features. The company's plan is reportedly to expand into "write features" both for fiat and crypto transactions that will also help users to "save in crypto based on behavioral rules and risk appetite," Emma's Moreni told TechCrunch, adding:
"We see this as a huge opportunity and if we are those who help people understand and invest in crypto for the first time, it fits with our core mission."
It's another sign of a trend emerging in fintech startups like Square, for instance, that don't want to be left out in the cold from crypto. While Emma won't give users the ability to send Bitcoin as Square does, it will give the user a more comprehensive view of their financial portfolio with the addition of crypto.
By adding a feature that lets users view their crypto balances, Emma is streamlining finances for users and helping to move crypto into the mainstream. Emma's expansion into cryptocurrencies comes at a time when the market has yet to hit a stride in 2018. And while the payment startup is taking baby steps with its "read-only" tool, it's doing so with some of the industry's leading brands and positioning itself for enhanced features down the line.
Emma has approximately 1,500 followers on Twitter. The startup attracted GBP 500,000 to its coffers in a seed round over the summer led by early-stage investors Kima Ventures and Aglae Ventures.