Unicorn Growth Capital and EchoVC Join Celo Foundation’s Efforts to Strengthen Celo’s African Ecosystem – Business Wire | Jewelry Dukan

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE). , join the Celo Foundation to support the growth of Web3 projects across Africa through newly established Celo ecosystem investment funds.

The Celo Foundation, a US-based non-profit organization supporting the growth and development of the carbon-negative, mobile-first-layer-1 Celo platform, continues to expand its presence in Africa and maintain a robust , cutting-edge ecosystem of founders and developers providing enhanced access to financial tools and expanding Web3 adoption through real-world use cases in Kenya, Uganda, Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana and beyond.

“Over 50 companies in Africa have started venture rounds in the Celo ecosystem in the past year alone,” says Aliu Musa, head of the Celo Foundation’s African ecosystem. “Africa is one of the fastest growing crypto markets in the world, valued at over $100 billion, with communities in Kenya, Nigeria and elsewhere beginning to use Web3 tools. Our ecosystem of founders and builders is transforming how people relate to financial products, helping them attain meaningful wealth to improve their lives.”

“As we transform the future of finance, Unicorn Growth Capital is excited to have Celo as a key partner for our portfolio companies to leverage their mobile-driven platform and growing DeFi ecosystem,” said Barbara Iyayi, Founding Partner and CEO of Unicorn Growth Capital .

Flori Ventures, a Web3 impact fund and partner of the Celo Foundation, has also made investments in Celo’s African ecosystem, including Nigerian blockchain payments startup Bitmama, led by founder and CEO Ruth Iselema, which recently launched a pre- Closed $2M Seed Round. Ryan Nesbitt, co-founder and general partner of Flori, shares: “We have made over a dozen investments in African companies built on Celo. We see a great opportunity for this transformative technology to bring lasting prosperity to real people.”

Greater engagement and recognition across the continent

The Celo Africa Web3 Fund, launched in early August, aims to scale African startup projects built on Celo to support blockchain technology and Web3 adoption. The fund provides shortlisted candidates with equity, mentoring, resources and marketing support through workshops in the region. The next workshops are planned in Accra (Sep 26), Kampala (Oct 25) and Johannesburg (Nov 8).

Additionally, Nigeria-based Alliance for Prosperity member Canza Finance, which aims to provide underserved SMEs in Sub-Saharan Africa with access to financial services, received the Most Innovative Product award at the Celo x Huobi Hackathon after receiving seed funding $3.27 million was raised by Canza’s founders Pascal Ntsama and Oyedeji Oluwole.

Providing financial access to unbanked or underbanked communities

The Celo Foundation partnered with Kotani Pay, a Nairobi-based blockchain off-ramp service and technology stack that connects protocols, dapps and fintech services to local payment channels, to launch a three-month employer loan program for rural farmers in Nanyuki, Kenya, completed Africa; Mercy Corps Ventures, the impact investing arm of global development agency Mercy Corps; and Cinch, an agriculture company that leases farmland from small farmers and hires farmers to grow high-value crops on a large scale.

Loans have been made to farmers employed by Cinch via DeFi and cellphone messages. This use case represents a microcosm of the larger embedded credit market, which is expected to grow at 49.5% annually through 2029. Over 91% of loans were repaid, with the highest repayments coming from landowners and full-time workers; 100% of female borrowers repaid their loans despite being conservative during the loan redemption phase.

Kotani Pay was also recognized as a digital public good following a standards review by the Digital Public Goods Alliance (DPGA), a global multi-stakeholder initiative to accelerate the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals in low- and middle-income countries Facilitating the discovery, development, use and investment in digital public goods to create a more just world.

Participation in educational programs and events

Led by Umar Sebyala, Uganda Ecosystem Leader at Celo Foundation, a community of founders and crypto enthusiasts gather monthly for the Kampala Blockchain Happy Hour in partnership with Tech Launchpad and Co-Working Space Innovation Village. The foundation supports outreach from universities across Uganda, mirrored by educational initiatives in Nigeria and Code Jams for Impact in Kenya, led by Daniel Kimotho, Kenya Ecosystem Leader at the Celo Foundation.

The Celo Foundation is also partnering with Dacade, a peer-to-peer education platform, to create a series of courses that introduce users to blockchain development on Celo. The Foundation works closely with the Dacade team to host online and in-person workshops targeting developers at upcoming events in Kenya, such as EthSafari.

Alliance member Ejara, a mobile investment and savings platform focused on the Francophone African region and founded by Cameroonian Nelly Chatue-Diop, launched her Ejara School on YouTube to increase understanding of blockchain technology, and introduced her Ejara Lionesses initiative, which provides ongoing funding, training, mentoring and skills for women entrepreneurs.

The Celo Foundation and the Celo ecosystem of founders and builders in Africa will continue to raise awareness of the transformative impact of Web3 at upcoming industry-wide events including EthSafari (September 18-24) and Africa Tech Summit (September 27-28). September).

About the Celo Foundation

The Celo Foundation was established in 2017 to support the growth and development of the decentralized, open-source, mobile-first Celo platform and to help build a carbon-negative financial system that creates the conditions for prosperity for all. Guided by the principles of the Celo community, the Foundation contributes to education, technical research, environmental health, community engagement, and ecosystem outreach—activities that support and promote an inclusive financial system.

For more information about Celo, visit https://celo.org/.

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