EJARA BAGS $2M, For Its Francophone Africa Crypto!

CAMEROON-BASED STARTUP ‘EJARA BAGS $2M’ FOR ITS CRYPTO AND INVESTMENT SERVICE OFFERING FOR FRANCOPHONE AFRICA

Ejara Bags $2M
Image Credit: Ejara

Cryptocurrency in Africa as we know varies greatly with regions, notably due to the current economic climate of the continent. As a result, the issue of unstable currencies remained a huge factor over its adoption, and this has ensured currency like Nigeria’s Naira sees immense usage, however, while the sparse adoption of crypto became paramount, startup Ejara bagged $2M to ensure crypto is accessed in the regions using the CFA franc.

In view of this, efforts are made by this company to ensure crypto thrives in Francophone markets owing to the fact that Francophone Africa is viewed as one of the most crypto-friendly markets in the continent of Africa. According to statics, these regions consist of over 200 million active users of the CFA franc, yet, just a few are taking advantage of these markets which can make a case as the next frontier for investment apps and mobile money in this continent.

As for the latest round, it was reported that Anthemis Group and CoinShares Ventures led the round. And were joined by Lateral Capital, NetX Fund, Mercy Corps Ventures, and LoftyInc Capital. In addition to that, two angel investors – Jason Yanowitz of Blockworks and Pascal Gauthier of Ledger, in addition, to fund referred to as syndicate social fund.

Ejara is known to be a one-year-old firm that was founded by ‘Nelly Chatue-Diop’ who desire to see the use of crypto and investment services in the subject region.

Meanwhile, history has it that the founder and CEO Chatue-Diop in the space of 10 years did study and held a number of high executive roles in Europe, with great determination to return back to Francophone Africa and establish a company. All these were borne out as a result of past events notably the devaluation of the CFA franc in 1994 by France that plunged millions into a financial crisis which eventually paved way for the present opportunities. The CEO told a source familiar with the matter how she felt:

“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. “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”.

Image Credit: Ejara

In her response to the 2015 decisive step, she thought blockchain was the perfect technology needed to solve the problems she encountered in her previous years. She said, “It helped me understand that people could regain full control over their savings, income and they could protect and grow their wealth”.

This saw her partner with Baptiste Andrieux, a long-time friend and serial entrepreneur, and so, the dawn for Ejara in Cameroon and other Francophone regions. Bearing in mind that crypto in Francophone Africa is reserved for the elites seeking to diversify their assets. And to ensure this perceived ideology is changed, she puts it that Ejara is determined to level the playing field for the average which will see them invest with as low as 5,000 CFA (~$9). Adding that:

“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. But as all these crypto companies were popping up left and right, I felt very few were speaking to Francophone Africans like myself”.

Yet, one significant point which seems the CEO’s core priority is the fact that crypto represents having full control of one’s assets.

In the meantime, Ejara commands over 8,000 active users which cut across Cameroon, Mali, Senegal, Guinea, Ivory Coast, and Burkina Faso, including French-speaking Africans in the diaspora. Also, in a bid to ensure there’s a smooth transaction process, notably for cross-border transactions, the company is currently partnering with crypto payment infrastructure company MoonPay to ensure French-speaking Africans in the diaspora (the U.S., Europe, and Asia) can transfer money to friends and love ones in Africa.

It’s also clear there are two categories of users: the majority who buy crypto in order to save for future plans and business owners who make frequent transactions. This as a source signifies that there is a tiny portion of the customer base that does a lot of volumes, which meant using crypto to finance and buy goods from overseas markets, while the larger sphere uses the platform to invest in their kids.    

Looking at the latest seed investment which saw Ejara bag $2M, it’s worth noting that the company’s roadmap towards expanding its product and tech team is on the right trajectory. And this also points at Meltem Demirors’s response to CoinShares’s opportunity, while noting the region’s population if compared with startups have attracted less than 1% of the venture capital but with Ejara’s funding round, there’s a glimmer of hope precisely the fintech space which is still untapped. Hence, Demirors said:

“We are excited to work with Nelly and the Ejara team to deliver financial services via non-custodial wallets and offers a new level of trust and transparency to Francophone savers and investors”.

  • What’s your take over Ejara’s crypto ambition!