Celo Foundation held its third Africa Web3 Fund workshop in Accra, Ghana, on Wednesday, 28th September 2022, on the sidelines of the Africa Money & DeFi Summit – West Africa edition. The Celo Africa Web3 Fund, which launched in early August, aims to help scale African startup projects building on Celo in support of blockchain technology and Web3 adoption. The Fund provides shortlisted candidates with equity, mentorship, resources, and marketing support through workshops in the region.
Hosted by Celo’s African ecosystem team, the Ghana workshop featured an intro to the fund, a VC panel discussion and a networking session. The panel discussion was moderated by Duncan Muchangi, principal at Unicorn Growth Capital. Panelists included Toffene Kama, West Africa Principal, Mercy Corps Ventures; Yvonne Okafor, Investment Officer at untapped Global and Maria Alegre, the General Partner at Flori Ventures.
Celo Ghana Ecosystem
The Celo ecosystem in Africa has been growing steadily, and most recently, Paybox Web 3.0 became the first Ghanaian startup to qualify for the Celo Camp Batch 6. The startup is building an integrated payment and engagement experience for African SMEs on the Celo blockchain. The team is developing a crypto-backed rewards system that gives users loyalty points in addition to an NFT voucher system through their cards and POs products.
“We started off on a great note with the Africa Web 3 Fund Workshop which has created an avenue for founders to be educated about the Fund and how they could partake as beneficiaries.” says Aliu Musa, Africa Lead for Celo Foundation.
Musa adds that they organized the first Celo Meet up at the start of October to discuss blockchain and what Celo has to offer for Ghana.
In terms of the VC panel at Celo’s workshop, Yvonne Okafor stated that Untapped Global is leveraging blockchain to tokenize investing in African companies. Their goal is to allow investors to invest in diversified portfolio of high-growth companies through tokens.
Maria Alegra of Flori Ventures stated that their goal is to bridge the funding gap for early stage Web3 companies by bring in international investors who are looking for avenues to have exposure to high growth blockchain companies in Africa.
Aliu Musa, Africa Lead, Celo Foundation, provided an overview of the fund and invited some of the leading startups building on Celo Blockchain to share their experiences. The startups that presented were Bitmama Exchange, a Nigerian blockchain payments startup that recently closed a $2M pre-seed round; Ayagigs, a curated talent marketplace for global businesses to access vetted web3 African Talents and Kotani Pay.
According to Kotani Pay CEO Felix Macharia, they have built a technology stack that enables blockchain fintech companies to integrate seamlessly into local payment channels providing them with a reliable on-ramp and off-ramp service to reach a wider user base across Africa.
“In Sub-Sahara Africa, 55% of adults had an account in 2021, including 33% of adults who had a mobile money account. Despite so, most of the unbanked in Sub-Saharan Africa have mobile phones. In pursuit of financial access and inclusion, it’s imperative that everyone is included. At Kotani Pay, we are working with Celo to ensure that financial services are delivered without bias to anyone who needs it,” says Macharia.
The Celo Africa Web3 Fund builds on Celo’s active presence in several African countries where Celo is engaged with local developer communities and where it has been running pioneering pilots in the areas of microwork, micropayments and DeFi lending, together with international and local partners such as Mercy Corps Ventures, Cinch and Kotani Pay.