European venture builder tracks African blockchain startups

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European blockchain venture builder Outlier Ventures has publicly released the location of 1,000 blockchain startups across the world, including 14 companies in Africa.

Outlier Ventures, based out of London and Amsterdam, helps to co-develop blockchain startups with entrepreneurs, corporate venturing partners, consortia and accelerators.

It has now publicly released the locations of over 1,000 blockchain companies, a figure that is growing with the addition of new companies. The tracker shows the global blockchain market is dominated by the United States (US), with 38.9 per cent of the listed startups, followed by the United Kingdom (UK) with 16.7 per cent.

Africa makes up 1.4 per cent of the tracked startups, represented by 14 companies from four countries: South Africa, Ghana, Kenya and Zimbabwe. South Africa has the most blockchain startups in Africa with five, namely Bankymoon, Custos Media Technologies, Dataworx Software, Jump Software and PayFast.

Ghana has four startups, in the form of Beam, Bitland, Ethergit and UnionD, as does Kenya, which is represented by 4G Capital, BitPesa, Chimera and OTLW. Zimbabwe’s BitFinance is also listed.

Lawrence Lundy, head of research and partnerships at Outlier Ventures, said Africa evidently had a long way to go when it came to blockchain.

“That said, three of the most exciting companies globally are based in Africa. BitPesa, a digital currency exchange platform, Custos Media Technologies, a digital media security firm, and Chimera, an Internet of Things (IoT) company. The single biggest challenge for blockchain startups looking to grow in Africa will be a lack of early-stage investment,” he said.

Increasing deal-flow into the industry is the primary reason Outlier Ventures has opened up the blockchain startup tracker to the public.

“Even if we don’t necessarily directly benefit from it, we felt there were far too few early-stage investors that can provide ‘smart money’ to help take startups to the next level. Hopefully this goes part way to correcting it,” Lundy said.

“A potential quick fix for this could be a DAO 2.0-type vehicle that acts as an investment fund for African startups. The DAO itself was flawed, but the idea of digitising an investment fund still makes a lot of sense especially for projects that struggle to attract traditional finance.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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