According to a report, two percent of global cryptocurrency transactions are currently housed in Africa — an alarming statistic for a continent housing over one billion people who serve as the demographic for the smallest cryptocurrency market in the world.
On a mission to change this, TechCrunch reports Nelly Chatue-Diop founded Ejara to serve as a cryptocurrency and investment platform within Francophone Africa. Little did she know, a financial crisis she experienced at a young age due to the devaluation of the CFA franc in 1994, would lead her to launch the tech company, which would provide additional avenues to accumulate income.
Now — just about a year after its launch — Ejara has raised a $2 million seed funding round led by CoinShares Ventures and Anthemis Group. Other participants included angel investors Pascal Gauthier of Ledger and Jason Yanowitz of Blockworks along with a syndicate social fund, Lateral Capital, Mercy Corps Ventures, LoftyInc Capital and NetX Fund.
Family Crisis Leads To Financial Breakthrough
“I was really young and we were part of the middle class. Overnight all our savings dwindled and the aftermath was that the government couldn’t even pay salaries,” Diop said in an interview with TechCrunch. “So even at that tender age, I asked myself how we managed to do everything right and still end up in that zone. So it stayed on my mind.”
In the later years, Diop would soon discover the answer to regain financial provision over one’s assets would reside in blockchain technology. As AfroTech previously reported, crypto does not have a middleman to regulate its use. Therefore, money can be transferred continuously and is an independent medium for authority over one’s assets.
“It helped me understand that people could regain full control over their savings, income and they could protect and grow their wealth,” Diop continued.
Ejara Was Born
Having faith in her vision, she co-founded Ejara with entrepreneur Baptiste Andrieux. Their mission was simple, to expand cryptocurrencies to be accessible to all rather than the confines of elites.
“The built-in transparency and security of the blockchain combined with the popularity of mobile banking in Africa made it clear to me that a blockchain-based mobile investment platform was the key to expanding financial inclusion,” said Diop, according to TechCrunch. “But as all these crypto companies were popping up left and right, I felt very few were speaking to Francophone Africans like myself.”
Catering to the region, Ejara provides its 8,000 users with the opportunity to securely purchase, sell, and retain their cryptocurrencies through non-custodial wallets which allow users to have possession over their keys. The facilitation of money is due to the crypto company’s partnership with Moonpay, a financial company for cryptocurrency. Users can send money to peers and family throughout the content.
“In Africa, most people don’t have the safety net called retirement fund and some customers use Ejara for that. There are users, moms in particular, that use the platform to invest in their kids’ college education. Then we have a tiny portion of the customer base that are wholesalers and do a lot of volumes; they use crypto to finance and buy their goods from overseas suppliers via this method,” Diop said.
With the new funding, the company will focus on growth, internal features of the company’s road map, and creating more products.