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Crypto Exec on Offering Investment Services in Francophone Africa

  • Nelly Chatue-Diop is CEO and co-founder of investment platform Ejara.
  • Ejara announced a $2 million funding round last year led by CoinShares Ventures and Anthemis Group.
  • This article is part of Insider’s series “Master Your Crypto” to help investors improve their cryptocurrency skills and knowledge.

Despite a growing middle class in French-speaking Africa, Nelly Shatu Diop says cryptocurrencies are still reserved for some wealthy people who want to diversify their portfolios. I’m here.

Chatue-Diop, who grew up in Douala, Cameroon, spread across 14 countries, including Ivory Coast and Senegal, and said he used this as an opportunity to try and “level the playing field” for regions that use the CFA franc. She said she hopes to fill a “huge gap” by launching investment platform Ejara.

“That’s the problem we want to solve,” CEO Chatue-Diop told Insider in an interview. “We want to give people choice and democratize access to investment and savings.”

Starting Ejara

Founded last year, Ejara offers financial services such as interest-bearing savings accounts, the purchase and trading of major cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, and will invest in fractional domestic and international equities later this year. provide options. His early-stage Web3 startup also promotes educational programs via Ejara School and non-custodial wallets so that users can store their funds. An early-stage rival to Robinhood, his Ejara sets itself apart from competing platforms by guiding users step-by-step through their investments and aligning their services with the CFA franc zone.

Ejara has also lowered the barriers to entry for investing in the region, said Chatue-Diop, co-founder of the platform. Users can deposit into the startup’s platform for as little as 1,000 CFA francs, or approximately $1.56.

Chatue-Diop said the company started with a zero-dollar marketing budget. While other companies allocated large budgets to her media ads on social, Ejara has succeeded in “going door to door, talking to church and university communities, and onboarding users that way.” she says.

“Finding a company and sitting where their user base is is really great,” she said, adding that the startup had 50,000 users in less than two years. People are using Ejara’s services for both wealth management and general payment services, he said. About 40 percent of Ejara’s user base is women, many of whom are mothers creating accounts to help their children start investing early, executives said.

Last year, Ejara announced a $2 million funding round led by CoinShares Ventures and Anthemis Group. Other backers were Lateral Capital, Mercy Corps Ventures, LoftyInc Capital, and NetX Fund, along with Blockworks’ Jason Yanowitz and Ledger’s Pascal Gauthier.

Before Ejara

Chatue-Diop has always been passionate about “the most innovative thing in technology,” she said.

After holding early positions at Accenture and Credit Suisse, she held senior management positions at several artificial intelligence startups. In 2015, she read the Bitcoin white paper, and she said what “really stuck with her” was her idea that cryptocurrencies would be “censorship-proof.”

According to the World Bank, less than 30% of the population in Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Cameroon and Senegal has a bank account, but about 55% of them own a mobile phone. Ejara investor Mercy Corps Ventures says this positions the CFA franc region as a unique market for further adoption of cryptocurrencies and blockchain.

In certain parts of Africa, women struggle to secure land rights and are unable to own property, Shatudiop said. This, coupled with her low percentage of financial inclusion, prevents many from finding ways to diversify their income. Chatue-Diop told TechCrunch that she experienced a pivotal moment when the CFA franc was devalued, forcing her family and millions of others into financial ruin, she told TechCrunch. Told.

“This is the first non-political money that people have real access to in the global economy,” she said, adding that cryptocurrencies allow investors to invest in their assets without worrying about governments affecting their use. For example, if you use Ejara to buy bitcoin, you can hold your assets through a non-custodial wallet and reduce the risk of geopolitical impact on their value. increase.

According to Chatue-Diop, Ejara’s next step is to have 10 million users on the platform by 2025.

“We want to unlock the mysteries of blockchain and cryptocurrencies,” she said. “We think it’s for everyone, so don’t let your customers find it too complicated.”

This article is intended to provide generalized information designed to educate a broad segment of the general public. It does not provide personal investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should consult a financial, legal, tax, investment or other professional about matters affecting you or your business.

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