Crypto exchange Coinbase to acquire Agara, its first buyout in India
Nov 2, 2021
US-based Coinbase Global Inc, among the largest cryptocurrency exchanges globally, said it would acquire Bengaluru-based artificial intelligence (AI)-powered support platform Agara, which is backed by Blume Ventures, RTP Global and other investors. This will be the first India acquisition for Coinbase as it aims to push its expansion plans in the country. Coinbase plans to leverage Agara’s Deep Learning and Conversational AI technology to automate and enhance its customer experience (CX) tools. The company has also increased its support staff headcount by 5x in the past few months and also announced that it will deliver 24/7 phone support and live messaging by end of the year. “Through this acquisition, we’ll be able to provide our customers with new personalised, intelligent, and real-time support options. In addition to Agara’s technology, the Agara team brings deep expertise in ML and NLP to Coinbase and will augment our existing product, engineering, and data teams,” Coinbase said in a blog post. While both companies did not disclose the financial details, a TechCrunch report suggests that Coinbase will pay $40-50 million to buy Agara. Bengaluru-based Agara, which is run by PM Labs Inc, has operations in India and the US. The acquisition is expected to close later this year. Agara was founded in 2017 by Abhimanyu Singh, Pankaj Gupta and Arjun Maheswaran, aimed to automate customer support operations. It is backed by Blume Ventures, RTP Global, Kleiner Perkins and UTEC Japan among other investors. In 2019, it had raised $2.5 million (Rs 17.5 crore) from domestic early-stage venture capital firm Blume Ventures and Russia's RTP Global in its pre-Series A round of funding. Earlier this year, Coinbase went public, has backed Indian exchanges like CoinSwitch , CoinDCX , Crypto staking management platform Stader Labs among others through its Venture arm Coinbase Ventures. In April, it had appointed former Google Pay India engineering head Pankaj Gupta as its vice president and site lead for the country. Meanwhile, cryptocurrency adoption has also been growing in India, despite regulatory uncertainties. According to an October report from blockchain research firm Chainalysis, the country ranks amongst the top three in the world in terms of crypto adoption. Chainalysis noted that Indian investors were more mature than Pakistan and Vietnam — the other two in the top three — with more institutional investors joining the market.