Luno, one of the large global crypto exchanges founded in South Africa, has announced the launch of Luno Expeditions, a global, early-stage investment division to support and invest in fintech and crypto/web3 founders and projects. Luno, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Digital Currency Group (DCG), said it will be using Luno Expeditions to invest in the next generation of financial services.

Luno Expeditions will be led by Jocelyn Cheng as CEO.

“I am thrilled to join Luno Expeditions as Chief Executive. These are incredibly exciting times in cryptocurrency and the broader fintech ecosystem. We’ve got ambitious plans to build a leading fund designed around the needs of early-stage founders. It will be a privilege to work with ambitious entrepreneurs from all over the world, all intent on solving problems and building the next generation of financial service companies," said Cheng.

Crypto taking off

Cryptocurrencies have taken off in an exciting way in the past year or so. This can also be observed through the volumes that crypto exchanges are handling in terms of trade as well as the funding that the exchanges have received in recent years.

Just earlier in 2022, another South African founded crypto exchange, VALR, 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 Luno Expeditions has said it will be making 200 to 300 investments annually into fintech and crypto/web 3 projects and founders.

Luno Expeditions will be responsible for all of DCG’s early-stage investing (seed and pre-seed). One of the stated aims of the new investment division that has been operating in stealth mode for a few months is to expand the focus of its investees beyond crypto into the broader fintech space, globally.

Stealth mode investments

Whilst in stealth mode over the past few months, Luno Expeditions has already invested in over 20 leading crypto and fintech companies globally. This includes a crypto compliance solution in Israel, an NFT marketplace in the United States, a bank dedicated to women in Pakistan, and a remittance solution in Tanzania.

“We know how hard it is to build a company, especially in the fintech space, and with our deep experience building, scaling, and operating fintech businesses in some of the hardest markets in the world, we’re looking to support a new generation of entrepreneurs from all over the world do the same," said Marcus Swanepoel,  co-founder, and CEO of Luno.

Barry Silbert, founder and CEO of DCG, and Marcus Swanepoel, co-founder and CEO of Luno, are both closely involved in the initiative and will be part of the Investment Committee.

— By Tefo Mohapi

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