Gelt puts savings accounts on the blockchain. Here’s an exclusive look at the 10-page pitch deck it used to raise $4 million from NFX.

Young hand placing coin in piggy bank being held by older hands
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  • Crypto startup Gelt allows people to open a savings account on the blockchain and earn interest.
  • It converts cash into USD Coin, a stablecoin that’s pegged to the value of the US dollar.
  • In January, the startup closed $4 million in funding from investors like NFX’s Morgan Beller.

Gelt wants to make savings accounts on the blockchain easy to use for people who don’t know DeFi from WiFi.

The startup offers savings accounts that convert people’s cash into a popular stablecoin, a type of digital money whose value is pegged to a reserve asset like a fiat currency or gold. Gelt says it offers a rate of return on investment of up to 10%, and it insures deposits of up to $100,000 through a partnership with crypto insurance company Nexus Mutual.

On Wednesday, Gelt came out of stealth with $4 million in seed funding from NFX, Village Global, Jump Capital, Alliance, and Orange DAO, a syndicate of hundreds of Y Combinator graduates, Gelt tells Insider exclusively. The round closed in January, before the current market downturn put a chill on venture-capital funding to startups.

Even still, funding for blockchain companies continues to flow, with $9.2 billion invested in the first quarter of 2022, according to market research firm CB Insights. 

Gelt wants to bring more investors into the crypto market by allowing them to deposit money directly from a traditional bank account. But people should still do their homework: Gelt converts cash into USD Coin, a stablecoin that’s tied to the value of the US dollar. Stablecoins are supposed to be less volatile than other tokens because they derive their price from another asset, but they’re not foolproof, as the market saw when Terra’s stablecoin crashed in May.

“Not all stablecoins are created equal,” said Jeremiah Smith, CEO of Gelt.

Morgan Beller, a general partner at NFX, said she decided to back Gelt because it has potential to make decentralized finance accessible to the masses. People have different risk tolerances for engaging in the crypto market, she said, with some people preferring “hard drugs” like making direct crypto investments. Gelt gives them a “beer” option, she said.

The company’s founders, Smith and Yury Oparin, worked side-by-side on their dissertations while studying at the Imperial College London, a public research university in London. Even before graduation, they started a series of companies together, from a cloud-storage company to a marketplace for structured data, but they all fizzled out.

Their trial and error over the years led them to start working on Gelt early last year.

From the start, the founders had a mantra of “move fast without breaking things,” Smith said. Gelt fosters people’s trust by allowing them to withdraw their funds anytime through their private keys, which use blockchain startup Magic’s key management infrastructure. And Gelt’s smart contracts are audited by Quantstamp, a blockchain security firm that works with market leaders OpenSea, NBA Top Shot, and Solana, according to a Gelt press release.

The company has been live-testing its service for several months and added 1,000 people last month, Smith said.

Based in London, Smith said he pitched only one investor in person for the seed round. Instead, he recorded a video of himself going over his pitch deck using Loom, an app for recording what’s on screen and on camera at the same time, and sent the video to potential investors in an email. The format gave them a “feel for the business,” he said.

The latest round bring Gelt’s total funding to $4.4 million after an earlier pre-seed round.

Now read the 10-page pitch deck that Gelt used to raise $4 million from investors like NFX.