Ambos Finance: Onboarding 1m users on to Aave Grant Milestone

Hi Aave Grants,

This post is to a follow up, and wider introduction to Ambos: for the Aave ecosystem.

Aave Grants awarded Ambos $25k in GHO, spread across 2 milestones. We have now deployed to Arbitrum One and are seeking the release of the second half of the awarded grant.

Moreover, we wanted to share our mission, progress and learnings, and our plans moving forward.

What is Ambos

Ambos is aiming to bring DeFi lending to the mainstream. We think DeFi platforms, like Aave, are superpowers that many users avoid because of perceived complexity and risk.

Ambos aims to solve this, and bring $1bn of new TVL to Aave, from users who currently hold tokens like ETH.

Ambos is:

  • Non custodial: we never take ownership of anyone’s funds.
  • Best-in-class & Cost-efficient: we use Aave V3 on Arbitrum as the most robust lending protocol on the largest L2 chain.
  • Simplified: we use account abstraction, a mobile-first PWA and a simplified UX that isn’t overwhelming for new users.

Users wishing to try the app can open on their phone (Safari on iOS or any mainstream browser on Android), and follow the instructions to install Ambos as a PWA.

Our discord is open and we welcome feedback!

Some Screenshots:

Who are we targeting

Our target is less experienced crypto holders, people who are either shut out of DeFi due to complexity, or perception of risk.

We position ourselves somewhere between the CEXs like Binance/Coinbase, and DeFi frontends like InstaDapp or Defi Saver.

  • Versus a CEX: Ambos can provide lower rates for borrowing, and a non-custodial solution.
  • Versus a DeFi frontend: Ambos can provide a simplified user experience, with much more focus on facilities like fiat bridging and account abstraction.

We believe this gives us the opportunity to hit an under-served market of users who are willing to move away from CEXs, but are currently unwilling or unable to make the leap to current DeFi Apps. For reference, Coinbase and Binance alone have over 400m accounts, whereas DeFi in totality is close to $40bn.


The Ambos core team is 4 people:

Davide, with three years in social media marketing and digital strategy, has excelled in blockchain community management at Auxo DAO and successfully launched his NFT project, Dudes. His passion for crypto, dating back to 2017, has led to practical expertise in Web3 projects.

Jordan, leads engineering and development, with nearly 10 years of software development experience including 4 in crypto, both as a fullstack DApp engineer and most recently principal smart contract lead for a DeFi DAO.

Zag, is responsible for partnerships. with over 30 years in tech and consulting, including roles at SAP, Oracle, and Cap Gemini, has founded startups like Predixa, an AI-based business performance firm.

Vincenzo, a seasoned Visual and UX/UI Designer since 2007, excels in crafting engaging graphics for web, apps, and games. Focused on human-centered design and user experience, he transforms concepts into intuitive, enjoyable products. His expertise extends to the crypto and DeFi sectors, highlighting his adaptability in the dynamic design field.

Original Grant request & Expenditure

We received a $25,000 grant from Aave about 6 weeks ago, the terms of the grant were an initial $12,500 retroactively, to fund the idea and the original prototype, and a $12,500 follow up once we deployed the beta version to mainnet.

We have now deployed to Arbitrum One and have begun our first days of onboarding.

The Grant has been used for the following:

  • Team stipend for 4 man team: $2000 for the period, $8k
  • Tech services (Google accounts, Hubspot Premium, Galxe staking): ~$700
  • Gas rebates (Biconomy Paymaster gas tank, Safe Transactions): ~$500

We have a residual quantity remaining which will be added to the marketing experiment budgets for the next period.

The next tranche of the grant will also provide a stipend for the team, with the rest of the money going towards marketing experiments and user acquisition.

By experiments we mean: investing in trying multiple different channels, to see what works and what resonates. Our aim is not to bet the house on an influencer, a single paid ad campaign or anything like that, we want to run many small test campaigns and compare results, so that we can double down.

Progress & Milestones

  • Working prototype with a barebones flow and no real UX consideration.
  • UX/UI overhaul and PWA implementation
  • Testnet deploy on Arbitrum Goerli
  • KYB completed for on/offramp
  • Initial round of testing on devnet with invited users
  • Beta release on Arbitrum One mainnet
  • Develop the Ambos affiliate programme for word-of-mouth referrals
  • Full public release

From a development standpoint, the application is built, along with the Ambos landing page, documentation hub, and socials.

We pushed our Beta announcement out on Sunday, December 3rd, with a corresponding Galxe campaign and NFT drive. Our stats so far as of EoD 4th December.

~75 App installs

~350 X followers

~250 Discord users

~120 Email signups


We’ve now spoken to hundreds of people, across informal conversations in networking events, discord polls, calls to people in the space. While there is still more to do, we have had some key takeaways.

Primarily, we envisioned that there existed a latent, unserved market segment of users that would use DeFi lending, if they could, as a means of financing their day-to-day expenditures. We’ve definitely seen some evidence of this, but at the same time, a far larger segment are interested in creating leveraged positions at favorable rates to centralized exchanges.

As a result we are now diversifying our messaging, to establish where the first groups of users will come from, and will be focusing the development roadmap based on the feedback from the beta testing.

Crucially, this is as much a test of who we can reach as much as it is whether our thesis is correct. We are not Binance nor Coinbase, so we are realistic that our initial users are far more likely to be crypto enthusiasts than casual users, but we will continue to run experiments to see what works for us.

Next Steps for Ambos

Our next phase is purely focused on acquisition, experimentation and outreach. As mentioned, we want to focus on running as many experimental marketing activities as possible, then compare the results from an acquisition and engagement standpoint.

Development-wise, we are exclusively focused on responding to user feedback. Our initial testing highlighted that the user experience in-app was very positive, we now need to see if we can onboard at least 10 users with loans totalling $10k over December, with at least 100 new downloads.

Features to further expand Ambos’ user base

Referral system:

We created and are in the process of implementing a multi-tier referral system where users can earn both by direct and indirect referrals. This creates a mechanism where everyone is incentivized to do two things:

  1. Using a referral code and taking out a loan in order to activate their own code , giving the first incentive to their referrer
  2. Invite others to the referral program to grow their network and their potential earning esponentially. The best thing about the referral system is that the rewards are paid out of the profit that Ambos makes in real time, resulting in a very sustainable model.

Point System inside the app:

As we are possibly approaching a very positive phase in the market, we believe that there will be plenty of new users joining the crypto space. A lot of these users are onboarded on airdrop speculation, so we decided to play into this narrative by starting to develop a point system (with the concept being that these points can be turned into allocation for an airdrop later down the line).

The Point system works in a simple way: complete tasks and quizes inside the app to earn points and be on top of the leaderboard.

With the implementation of this system, we aim to reach 3 main objectives:

  1. Drive users to complete tasks that are beneficial to Ambos, such as taking out loans etc…
  2. Collaborate with influencers and KOLs to bring new users to the protocol, in order to benefit from a possible airdrop
  3. Further boost the reach of the referral system by adding rewards for completing tasks such as reaching 2, 10, 100 referrals in your network.

In app swaps:

In response to initial feedback from early users, the ability to use a loan for going long on altcoins or ETH came up as a use case for the loan (leverage). While the original vision for Ambos was to function as a fiat bridge, we want to ensure we can build an initial userbase with something more familiar.

Further Asks from Aave

We thank Aave for the support so far and are looking forward to continuing the relationship. What would be most helpful for Ambos at this stage from Aave would be any combination of the following:

  1. Increased visibility via the Aave social channels (shout outs on AGD are arranged, but any co-marketing we can do with the wider ecosystem would be much appreciated)
  2. Financing options to sustain us for the first quarter of 2024. The grant so far will run its course shortly, so either an extension to the original grant or some sort of wider investment discussion would both be welcomed.