JUNE 02, 2022
3 min Read
Investor Updates: June 2 2022
CV VC launches seed fund for African blockchain startups
- Crypto Valley Venture Capital (CV VC) has announced the launch of its African Blockchain Early-Stage Fund and published the inaugural African Blockchain Report.
- The study highlights that blockchain funding far outpaced all other sectors, 11 times, and demonstrates how nations and stakeholder capitalists are beginning to step in and embrace Africa’s participation in the fourth industrial revolution.
- While it is a fact that African nations are among the fastest crypto adopters globally, the CV VC report moves past crypto, looking at the underlying revolutionary blockchain movement.
In Africa, the emerging blockchain technology is being used in many innovative ways and in essential industries from tech, agriculture, mining, and remittances to inclusion, identity, and property, to name a few. The CV VC report estimates African blockchain funding last year at $127 million, similar in size to a single blockchain ‘mega-deal’ of which there were 59 globally, indicating a huge gap in funding. Africa is the fastest adopting crypto continent globally, yet it has only a 0.5% share of total global blockchain venture funding, which stands at $25.2 billion.
Visa partners Safaricom to support global digital payments via M-Pesa
- Visa and Safaricom, the operator of M-Pesa, have launched a virtual card that will enable millions of M-Pesa mobile money users to make digital payments globally, and give Visa extended reach across Africa.
- The launch of the M-Pesa GlobalPay Visa card follows a partnership between the two companies in 2020 to develop “products that will support digital payments for M-Pesa customers.”
- The card will enable 30 million M-Pesa users to make cashless payments at Visa’s global network of over 100 million merchants across 200 countries. Previously, they could only make payments within M-Pesa’s network of nearly 400,000 merchants.
Per a GSMA report, Africa now accounts for 70% of the world’s $1 trillion mobile money value after mobile money transactions on the continent rose 39% to $701.4 billion in 2021 from $495 billion in 2020. However, the bulk of these transactions is done within national borders as a lack of interoperability hampers cross-border transactions. Visa has been a key player in the growth of digital payments adoption in Africa, working with Nigeria’s Paga and Kenya-based M-Pesa. But its new partnership opens up mobile money users in the continent to new possibilities while helping it tap into the fast-growing digital payments opportunity in Africa.
Nigerian digital bank Grey expands to Kenya with Cellulant partnership
- Nigerian startup Grey has announced the expansion of its service to Kenya, in partnership with fintech company Cellulant.
- Launched in 2021, Grey offers an international money transfer service that enables its users to send and receive international payments without restrictions. Its products include foreign bank accounts, instant currency exchange, and international money transfers.
- In partnership with Cellulant, the company’s payments processor, the Y Combinator-backed fintech startup has expanded its services into East Africa, kicking off with Kenya. Kenyans can get paid in their preferred foreign currency and withdraw directly to M-Pesa or their local bank account.
Source: Disrupt Africa
In recent years, several digital banks have launched in Africa as they look to challenge incumbents in their respective markets. These startups don’t operate a monolithic model. In Nigeria, for instance, players such as Sparkle provide banking services to individuals and businesses on a single platform, Brass and Prospa target varying sizes of businesses, while Kuda, VBank, FairMoney, and Carbon offer tailored services to individuals. Grey, however, is built around international money transfers. Currently, digital banks are among the most funded players by VCs in fintech.