cLabs Acquires Summa to Boost Crypto Interoperability on Celo


It was a match made in Silicon Valley heaven. The token-funded startup cLabs just acquired the decentralized finance (DeFi) startup Summa, best known for making wrapped Ethereum tokens that can represent locked amounts of bitcoin.  

The acquihire bolsters cLabs’ multifaceted engineering team, which specializes in Bitcoin, Zcash and Cosmos projects in addition to Celo software projects. 

Marek Olszewski, CTO of cLabs, said the newcomers will help the Celo community “execute on the platform’s interoperability vision.”

“Over the last two years we’ve built the interoperability space from scratch. We’re excited to continue that work with Celo,” said Summa co-founder James Prestwich, whose startup was acquired for an undisclosed amount. 

With the addition of six people from Summa, cLabs’ Olszewski said there are now 100 people on staff. Along those lines, cLabs engineer Tim Moreton said the goal is to make sure people with established roles in different crypto projects are involved with the Celo community as well. 

Moreton added the priorities for 2020 are smoothing value transfers in and off of the Celo platform, including value from Bitcoin or Ethereum, and getting the Celo mobile app “into the hands of thousands and thousands of people … who don’t have cheap or easy access to financial services, but they do have access to a smartphones.”

cLabs has raised more than $40 million so far, through a combination of venture capital and token sales. Much like Facebook’s dwindling Libra project, Celo’s stated goal is boosting financial inclusion in emerging markets. The startup has remote staff working in Latin America, Asia and Africa, in addition to the team in California.

Zack Voell contributed reporting.

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