Many believe Black communities will find freedom in a digital world. Community-as-a-service company Afropolitan is creating its own to support the masses in building abundant lives.
What Sparked The Pivot Toward A Digital World
Founders Eche Emole and Chika Uwazie are building a digital ecosystem to bolster economic activity within the Black community through their brainchild Afropolitan. The idea bloomed from “The Year of Return” event, a successful lineup of events, festivals, and concerts in Africa that generated nearly $2 billion. After Afropolitan’s participation, Emole was looking to continue the momentum until COVID-19 forced them to rework their idea.
“Come 2020, we were thinking, ‘Hey, we’re going to reload this.’ ‘This is going to be significant.’ Then COVID happens and the question was, ‘What does a pivot look like in this space where there are no in real life events?’” Emole told AfroTech in an exclusive interview.
Afropolitan Will Be Built In Four Phases
Afropolitan steps into the power of the collective and reimagines a new world. The mission will be made possible in four phases: Events to connect Black communities globally, leveraging media to scale, building partner networks, and pushing for full-scale sovereignty.
“We want to layer on top of that digital country because the purpose for which we’re building this community at scale is to allow us to redraw our colonial borders,” Emole said. “It’s much harder to say, ‘Let’s all move back to Africa.’ What if instead of migrating physically, you can migrate online? This would allow us to scale in ways that were previously unimaginable before. That’s what we’re building here.”
Afropolitan Embraces Web3, Set To Launch Super App
The digital country will tap into the Web3 space as utilizing cryptocurrency as their main currency. Black communities statistically experience difficulties with banking or established institutions globally. So, Afropolitan will encourage Black communities to move their money into a super app during phase two. Here, users can send and receive money across borders seamlessly, gather risk capital, and begin e-residency applications, among others.
“Black people globally, we are very great at creating value, but we are poor at capturing it,” Emole said. “By building this entire flow, we solve for distribution, infrastructure, and for the ecosystem.”
Founders Embrace Emerging Technology To Keep Vision Alive
New ideas invite new technology. Afropolitan is embracing the current cryptocurrency wave. However, it will not hesitate to pivot when new technology emerges.
“Technology is not the end all, be all. It just allows us to leverage. If there’s better tech that comes, we will utilize that too,” Emole shared. “We are not a maxi to Web3. We’re a maxi to progress, opportunity, and utility. We’re not saying we want to die on the hill of Ethereum or Solana. We die on the hill of progress and prosperity for our people.”
Afropolitan Raises $2.1M
Although the fruition of the digital world could take a decade, the idea is gaining the attention of top venture capitalists within the tech space. Afropolitan recently raised $2.1 million in a pre-seed round led by Balaji Srinivasan. Olugbenga Agboola of Flutterwave, Walter Baddoo of 4DX Ventures, VC firm Hashed, and Atlantica Ventures — among others — also participated in the round.
“We are connected with the top venture capitalists and top partnerships in this space. The beauty of this being a community-led race is the network of people who are backing us across the world,” Emole said.
He continued: “We are building a network of abundance because for too long we have seen scarcity destroy our ability to move forward as Black people. We have never really created a nation-state or country through reflection and choice. It’s always been through accident and force, so what we are saying is we’re utilizing a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) to build something through reflection and choice.”