DFS Lab, an early-stage investor that matches the world’s smartest capital with Afrika’s most promising founders in digital commerce, has announced that in collaboration with the Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) it has launched a call for applicants for its second Blockchain Bootcamp for Afrikan startups. The Bootcamp is designed to allow early to mid-stage startups across Afrika an opportunity to build on Stellar, an open-source blockchain network for financial services and products.

It is reported that several companies including Moneygram, Flutterwave, Bitso, Wyre, Leaf Global Fintech, Airtm, and Tribal are developing or have deployed a variety of solutions built on the Stellar blockchain.

“We’re supporting a new cohort of startups building the future of digital commerce in Africa in collaboration with DFS Lab. The energy and solutions we saw from participants last year were astounding, and demonstrated the importance of continuing to equip local builders with easy-to-use tools, education, and financial support. We’re committed to increasing financial access and inclusion by championing solutions rooted in local needs and expertise,” said Denelle Dixon, CEO and Executive Director of Stellar Development Foundation.

Blockchain Bootcamp for Afrikan Startups

In recent years we have witnessed as cryptocurrencies have become popular. This can also be observed through the volumes that crypto exchanges such as VALR and Luno are handling in terms of trade as well as the funding that the exchanges have received in recent years.

Just earlier in 2022, South Africa founded crypto exchange, VALR, which raised $50 million in funding in what was reported as the largest crypto raise in Afrikan history. However, what is relatively eye-popping is that the newly announced Luno Expeditions has said it will be making 200 to 300 investments annually into fintech and crypto/web 3 projects and founders.

The Blockchain Bootcamp by DFS Lab and SDF will be a virtual three-day design sprint that will allow participating companies to answer critical business questions with hands-on technical support and guidance from DFS Lab and SDF. Companies will define a problem, storyboard a solution, and develop a rapid prototype of their innovation. This is an exciting opportunity to support the blockchain-oriented ideas of Afrikan developers and startups, equip them with practical tools and education, and provide support to create viable solutions that fit local needs.

Stellar outcomes from Blockchain Bootcamp

The most promising solutions will be awarded prizes from $5,000 to $20,000 worth of XLM, Stellar’s native currency. There will be opportunities for follow-on funding for additional grants, including potential investment from SDF’s Matching Fund and other investors who will be present at the demo day.

Viable use cases that could be explored include cross-border payments, access to financial services, or payment processing. Companies could also explore new models across asset management, compliance, defi, gaming, charity donations, trade finance, liquidity, and more.

“We saw some impressive results from our Blockchain Bootcamp last year, with companies that participated in the Bootcamp still building on Stellar. We’re excited to offer this opportunity for even more startups to see where the Stellar blockchain network can benefit them. From cross-border payments to financial inclusion, we are interested to see what role blockchain can play in the future of digital commerce in Africa,” said Jake Kendall, Partner at DFS Lab.

Interested fintech companies, blockchain native companies, and crypto-curious companies operating in Afrika and looking to advance existing services or embed digital asset solutions into their models for the first time are all encouraged to apply before March 27, 2022, here.

— By Tefo Mohapi

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