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DFS Lab launches fund to back fintech teams across Africa

By , ITWeb
Africa , 29 Mar 2023

Fintech incubator DFS Lab has launched the DFS Lab Stellar Africa Fund I to back high-potential innovators across Africa. The focus is to transform digital payments by building on a financial infrastructure open-source platform, the Stellar network.

DFS Lab announced the fund yesterday, which is supported by an investment from the Stellar Development Foundation, a non-profit organisation that supports the development and growth of the Stellar network.

Stellar is a decentralised and scalable network for financial products and services. Financial institutions worldwide issue assets and settle payments on the platform, which hosts over 7 million accounts.

In a statement, DFS Lab said the new fund builds on previous blockchain bootcamp collaborations between the incubator and the Stellar Development Foundation, which supported developers and start-ups building on the open-source Stellar network in Africa.

Detailing what founders can look forward to from the fund, Stephen Deng, partner at DFS Lab, said: “We’ll back pre-seed and seed teams building for Africa. We’re open to various use cases, but will be especially interested in those solving for fiat-crypto ramps and those building cross-border payments for the continent.

“We’ll fund both teams that are familiar with the Stellar platform, alongside those who want to integrate Stellar into their product roadmaps for the first time. We plan on initial investments of up to $100 000, with further follow-on investments possible as teams grow.”

Fintechs in Africa that are building solutions and wish to get funding can apply here and applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.

Joseph Benson, partner at DFS Lab, commented: “We have always taken a pragmatic approach when it comes to decentralised finance in Africa. It is hard to deny the potential that decentralised solutions can offer in a continent where finance is oftentimes bogged down by inefficiency, opacity, and lack of interoperability.

“We’ve now seen a rush of talent and capital enter this space, helping to refine the potential use cases for technologies like blockchain and crypto in Africa. Undoubtedly, some approaches will falter as hype gives way to reality, but those who breakthrough and find traction may find themselves building foundational platforms that can underpin the future of digital transactions on the continent. We believe that’s an opportunity well worth exploring.”

Daniel Casanas, head of Investments, Stellar Development Foundation said: “We’ve seen developers build solutions on Stellar that address local needs, ranging from wallet apps and remittance services to digital identity solutions. We’ve worked with growing teams across Africa, and we’re excited to be expanding our relationship with DFS Lab to support more African founders.”

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