Ejara, a Cameroonian crypto startup, has raised $2 million to pioneer the usage of crypto and investment services in francophone Africa where adoption is growing.
The round was led by CoinShares Ventures and Anthemis Group. They are joined by Mercy Corps Ventures, Lateral Capital, LoftyInc Capital, and NetX Fund. Two angel investors — Pascal Gauthier of Ledger and Jason Yanowitz of Blockworks — and a syndicate social fund also participated.
Ejara has more than 8,000 users from Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Mali, Guinea and Senegal, as well as French-speaking Africans in the diaspora (Europe, Asia and the U.S.), and caters to them via a partnership with crypto payment infrastructure company MoonPay so they can remit money to friends and family in Africa.
In addition to its crypto services, the company plans to also diversify into providing other assets, including fractional shares, stocks and commodities.
Talking about the users, Nelly Chatue-Diop, the founder and CEO of the startup, classifies them into two groups: the majority who buy crypto to save for future plans and business owners who make frequent transactions.
“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.”
The seed investment will see Ejara focus extensively on growth, deployment of features in the company’s roadmap and expanding the product and tech team.
Meltem Demirors from CoinShares 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.”
For Anthemis and why they invested, Ruth Foxe Blader, partner at Anthemis, said the firm was particular about how Ejara educates people in Francophone Africa on digital assets and democratizes wealth creation opportunities.