Blockchain and crypto activity has accelerated across the African continent in recent years to solve real-world problems such as remittances, cross-border payments, financial inclusion and decentralized finance. We hosted our inaugural DFS Lab Blockchain Bootcamp in partnership with the Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) last year to explore some of these use cases, and we saw some exciting solutions go from a prototype to a live product in a matter of months. We’re thrilled to announce that we’re teaming up with SDF again and kicking off our second Blockchain Bootcamp with a new cohort of early to mid-stage companies operating in Africa.
The virtual bootcamp is designed to give early- to mid-stage startups in Africa an opportunity to build on Stellar, an open-source blockchain network optimized for payments, over a three day period. The most promising solutions built on Stellar are awarded prizes to further pursue their vision. The event culminates in a demo day where the startups pitch the solutions they developed to investors, with an opportunity to raise additional funds both from the investors, as well as from SDF.
Out of the many great applications we received this year, we are excited to invite a group of 10 exceptional companies to our second bootcamp happening April 26 - 28, 2022. With the opportunity to build on Stellar and work closely with the SDF team, we hope that these companies will be able to launch innovative products that can be used by millions of users across the continent in their daily lives.
As we look to continue to fund early stage companies in the digital commerce space at DFS Lab, we see this as an opportunity to get more startups and the ecosystem as a whole interested in solving a broader range of problems using blockchain technology.
Crop2Cash: Crop2Cash bridges the gap between smallholder farmers in Nigeria and financial institutions by making formal financing easily accessible and offering a USSD-powered platform that only requires farmers to have a mobile number. During the bootcamp, Crop2Cash is planning to integrate Stellar into their platform to facilitate cross border payments for exported harvests and other financial services for existing and new smallholder farmers.
“Crop2Cash is a crypto-curious company, and we believe that this bootcamp will provide us with the much-anticipated opportunity to fully explore the Stellar blockchain for the growth of our business. We have successfully developed a solution to the problem of financing for smallholder farmers in Nigeria. The experience and understanding of the market that we have garnered is very instrumental in the successful implementation of this solution, and executing this solution will be another layer of implementation for us on our existing USSD-powered solution.”
– Esther Ajewole, Executive Assistant, Crop2Cash
Link: Link is a cross-border payments infrastructure company for Africa. They plan to become an anchor on the Stellar network and issue a Nigerian Naira stablecoin, which will power their existing infrastructure and products. This includes a cross-border payments platform with multi-currency accounts, virtual debit cards, and a wallet that supports USDC on Stellar.
PayBox: PayBox is interconnecting fragmented and local payment channels across Africa to make them interoperable while offering convenience at lower fees for SMEs and millennials. During the bootcamp, PayBox plans to build an MVP for an interoperable cross-border platform using stablecoins on Stellar, connecting major last-mile mobile wallets and e-wallets across Africa.
Kingdom: Based in Nigeria, Kingdom provides digital infrastructure and tools to enable businesses to participate in decentralized finance. Stellar's core mission is to create equitable access to the global financial system, letting people participate in a worldwide and stable financial network regardless of where they live. Kingdom plans to contribute to this mission by offering APIs, digital dollar accounts, and multi-chain support to businesses so that they can easily participate in the decentralized financial economy using the power of Stellar.
OYSTR Finance: OYSTR provides financial identities to the unbanked or underserved population in Africa, helping them get loans from financial institutions. It plans to integrate Stellar through a payment system so their users can receive and process cross-border crypto transactions smoothly through their platform.
Tribbe Nation: Tribbe is a platform that formalizes peer-to-peer lending in a simplified, transparent, and socially collaborative way. For the bootcamp, their team intends to build a cross-border transaction and group savings application built using USDC on Stellar.
“We are Kenyans with careers, families, and social circles that have seen the negative effects caused by COVID-19. Watching this devastation and the added negative impact digital credit applications with rigid structures have had on our peers and family members has led to us being frustrated by the lack of alternatives. We want to design a tool that can appreciate the culture while growing financial engagements among peers that do not damage relationships, but rather provide a social safety net for those in need.”
– Tonee Ndungu, Co-Founder and CEO of Tribbe Nation
Tembo: Tembo is a digital bank that helps people in Africa use mobile money to plan and manage their money via savings and investments. They plan to leverage Stellar in building a way for their customers to buy and hold crypto assets as part of their savings and investment portfolio, as well as a cost-effective means for their customers to buy and hold USD equivalents. Their initial target market is Tanzania, where they are closely working with local banks to roll out their products and services.
Centiiv: Centiiv is a project with the aim of connecting Africa to the rest of the world through blockchain. In order to achieve this aim, Centiiv has developed a utility token on Binance Smart Chain (BSC) to power an ecosystem of technologically driven solutions in different sectors of Africa’s economy. They intend to integrate Stellar into their payment platform where their users can carry out seamless transfer of funds across Africa.
Bitpowr: Bitpowr is a blockchain and digital assets infrastructure business. It provides the building blocks for businesses and individuals globally to leverage blockchain and access the global digital economy, and for developers to build and scale their products on the blockchain, saving cost and time. By building on Stellar, Bitpowr will be able to provide businesses who are also interested in Stellar the tools they need to build and go live in days by using their infrastructure.
Pesakit: Based in Kenya, PesaKit exists to address the last mile supply-side challenges of mobile money and e-commerce in Africa through mobile money agents and merchants. They offer agents access to an interoperable float for their CICO, working capital loans to boost liquidity, and new revenue sources through the resale of value-added services and access to microinsurance to help them mitigate health and business shocks. During the bootcamp, PesaKit plans to integrate stablecoins on Stellar to improve their current lending processes and loan portfolio.
We’re looking forward to working with each of these companies at the upcoming Blockchain Bootcamp and seeing what they build. If you’re an investor interested in joining the demo day where we will showcase the prototypes, get in touch. We’ll also be posting insights from the Bootcamp on our social media (Twitter and LinkedIn), so be sure to follow along there.