Naspers-backed cryptocurrency platform Luno is planning to increase its workforce by almost 60% to expand its South African headquarters and enter new markets in Southeast Asia.
The bitcoin and ethereum exchange will hire 150 new employees by the end of the year to boost its software development team, taking its headcount to more than 400 across seven offices in Africa, Europe and Asia, according to Luno’s GM for Africa, Marius Reitz. The company is seeking business clients as well as individual investors and will add more cryptocurrencies to its portfolio.
Most of the new hires will be based in Johannesburg, Reitz said in an interview, with some being made responsible for security and compliance. The main new Asian market is Malaysia.
Luno was founded six years ago and now has 2.7 million users. The closely held company is one of dozens of cryptocurrency platforms that have sprung up around the world in response to soaring demand for the likes of bitcoin, which this month hit the highest level since March 2018. Meanwhile, the South African rand is among the world’s most volatile currencies and has weakened more than 40% since 2013.
Luno attracted US$3-million in funding in 2015, led by Cape Town-based technology investor Naspers. The exchange will consider new rounds of investment and strategic partnerships to further its expansion plans, Reitz said.
Naspers, Balderton Capital, Rand Merchant Investment Holdings, Venturra Capital and Digital Currency Group all own minority stakes of less than 20%. — Reported by Roxanne Henderson, with assistance from Alastair Marsh and Colleen Goko, (c) 2019 Bloomberg LP