crypto strategy

Meet the Investor: Jocelyn Chang, Luno Expeditions – Disrupt Africa

Founded by a South African, based in London and operating globally, Luno is a global cryptocurrency platform that earlier this year launches investment arm Luno Expeditionswhich will support early-stage fintech and crypto entrepreneurs and plans to make between 200 and 300 investments per year.

Luna secures and facilitates the purchase, storage and learning of cryptocurrencies, operates in 43 countries in Africa, Southeast Asia, the United States (US) and Europe, and has more than nine million customers.

Luno Expeditions, a global early-stage investment arm, supports top fintech and crypto/web3 founders on their journeys to build the next generation of financial services. Focused on the seed and pre-seed phases, the firm has already invested in nearly 30 top-tier crypto and fintech companies globally, and is aiming for 200-300 per year.

The new fund is led by CEO Jocelyn Chang, who was previously managing director of impact investment VC Global Innovation Fund, and previously worked at CPP Investments, Bain Capital and Goldman Sachs in London, Boston, New York and Buenos Aires. She explained the philosophy to Disrupt Africa.

“Luno’s long-term assumption is that crypto will revolutionize our financial system and we want to work with quality startups who share this goal. We launched Luno Expeditions because we see unprecedented investment opportunities and a real need tailored assistance. Luno herself was once an early-stage startup and understands the challenges of the journey to building a global business,” she said.

“Luno Expeditions is on the balance sheet of the Digital Currency Group (DCG), a well-capitalized company that has been investing in early-stage crypto companies since 2015. We are fortunate to have permanent long-term capital.”

The company’s first two investments were in South African companies – Root, a digital insurance platform and Stitch, a financial infrastructure company providing access to users’ financial accounts.

“Since then, we have supported 5 other businesses in the region. This includes a Kenyan company connecting people to blockchain protocols without the need for internet access as well as a revolutionary remittance solution in Tanzania, among others. We look forward to intensifying our investment activities in the region,” Chang said.

Generally, Luno Expeditions invests in early-stage startups in both developed and emerging markets, with a particular focus on companies that are building the next generation of financial services.

“For example, we are interested in startups that are building a safe and secure financial ecosystem, such as solutions for better data protection, security and KYC,” Chang said.

“We are also interested in companies that promote an open, accessible and inclusive financial ecosystem, such as financial inclusion for underserved populations and local in-and-out routes to crypto. We are also looking for blockchain technology for real-world impact that would contribute to a fairer system for all, such as blockchain-based lending as a more efficient source of capital for the missing link.

Luno Expeditions’ big appeal to potential portfolio companies may actually be more than just the capital it offers, given the expertise it can bring to the table.

“We’re designing a platform that offers areas where we can be helpful in different ways, like how-to tips for building a startup business and crypto-specific topics. We are also excited for our portfolio companies to learn from each other, given the geographic breadth of our portfolio and our large-scale investment strategy,” Chang said.

“For example, we recently brought together 15 founders from our portfolio from five continents for an internal offsite in London, and we were really excited to see them learning from each other, for example different strategies for financial inclusion platforms in the UK, India and Pakistan.

Expeditions, she said, is also very founder-friendly.

“We are built by founders for founders and believe that sometimes the best value is not to overspend. We are committed to working with founders on a schedule that works for them and try to be as helpful as possible when asks us,” Chang said.

The company is very focused on ensuring that the startups in its portfolio have strong female representation.

“The representation of female founders in the African tech startup scene is generally low. We would like to help bridge this gap not only in terms of funding, but also by helping teams attract and retain a more diverse workforce over the longer term. We are proud that half of the companies in our portfolio have female founders, which is significantly higher than the overall African average, and we are excited to continue supporting female founders in the future,” he said. she stated.

Asked about Expeditions plans for next year, Chang said he was still perfecting his offering.

“In many ways, we are a startup ourselves and are testing ways to bring unique value to our community of founders without interfering with their day-to-day operations,” she said.

“We’re taking a grassroots approach to our platform offering – making MVPs, taking feedback from users in our portfolio, and refining our platform support offering based on that feedback. We never assume we know what founders want. We also plan to expand our portfolio significantly and are excited to invest in many other great African founders. We will strengthen our team on the ground and seek to work more closely with the technology ecosystem. »

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