Last month, Disrupt Africa reported Zimbabwean cryptocurrencies exchange Golix was expanding into South Africa.
An ambitious move for Golix, and one made all the more interesting by the fact it has come about through a partnership with Blockstarters, a crypto and blockchain hub and incubator that aims to assist startups in realising their full potential.
But what is Blockstarters, which claims to be the first of its kind in South Africa?
“We created this space because we wanted to bring together high calibre startups in this industry under one roof, enabling skills sharing, linking investors, and providing an energy-intensive space for innovation,” hub partner Kreaan Singh told Disrupt Africa.
“Blockstarters is also becoming a central point for corporates to interact with and understand the latest developments in the crypto and blockchain world, attracting interest both locally and internationally.”
At the moment, the company is running no specific programmes, but rather providing more of a makerspace in which startups interact with each other and leverage off each others networks to bring products to market faster.
“We do however, through our partner companies, offer mentoring and access to accounting, legal, branding and marketing service in a shared ecosystem,” said Singh.
The founders of Blockstarters are all entrepreneurs with experience in the cryptocurrency and blockchain industries.
“As we started discussing our businesses with one another, we found that we had many things in common, and realised that collaborating would accelerate our progress. We then realised that there were many other companies in our situation, and decided to formalise our structure into what is now South Africa’s first incubator and hub for the industry,” Singh said.
Two startups have joined the hub since its public launch in March, while four of the partners’ own companies have also been placed under the Blockstarters umbrella. Self-funded until now, Singh said Blockstarters is in the process of raising funding, and will become sustainable by funding startups with strong teams and a truly disruptive business idea, in exchange for an equity share.
“We prefer to invest in startups that have achieved revenue, and therefore increase our chances of achieving a cash-flow positive position. Right now, however, we are more interested in supporting the community, which by in large, is still itself in the experimentation phase,” he said.
Over the course of this year, Blockstarters plans to increase its footprint to provide international investors a central point from which to access African companies in the crypto and blockchain space.
“We are also looking to create a structured programme for incubees and to formalise our access to market strategy,” Singh said.
“Since launching into the public domain, we have had a number of institutions approach us with the possibility of collaboration, opening up new opportunities for ourselves and our incubees. We have a number of projects in the pipeline, such as a crypto PoS system, a token offering, and expansion into other locations around Africa.”