Joburg hub Blockstarters on hunt for $450k to assist blockchain startups (Updated)

UPDATE: Blockstarters CEO Kreaan Singh confirmed to Ventureburn that as of 9 April 2019, Blockstarters was still in the process of trying to raise the $450 000 that the hub revealed it was after in June 2018. When asked whether the hub’s failure to secure funding was linked to the fall in the Bitcoin price in 2018, Singh said it “may” indeed have something to do with this. 

Newly launched Joburg hub Blockstarters is looking to raise $450 000 to help fund business support services for at least eight blockchain startups, the hub’s CEO Kreaan Singh revealed today.

The hub officially launched on 5 June and is currently assisting seven blockchain startups, including Zimbabwean crypto exchange Golix — which last month told Zimbabwean customers that they would not be able to use the exchange to draw currency like US dollars or Euros (see the story here).

Speaking to Ventureburn today, Singh confirmed that corporate companies are among those the hub has so far approached to raise the funding which would cover mentorship as well as technical support and other services that startups require. The hub will then take a small equity stake in each startup it assists, he added.

He confirmed too that the hub has yet to start charging the seven startups. Some of the seven startups include among them startups that he and his fellow founders Tim Ohlsen, Warren Gray and Dan van de Ghinste run.

Singh said the idea for the hub came about after the four founders — who all run blockchain startup themselves — began co-operating with one another. The four then realised that they could offer such support to other blockchain startups.

Singh runs, a tech-startup that focuses on anchoring digital certificates to a blockchain for the education industry — while van de Ghinste and Olhsen run Eldo Energy, an energy tech company. Gray runs 21yards, which provides a cryptocurrency financial index.

Among them the four also run Coin Ed, which conducts cryptocurrency workshops. All have been involved in the industry since 2013, said Singh.

Joburg-based hub Blockstarters is looking at raising $450 000 to help fund business services for blockchain startups

Currently the hub offers weekly blockchain breakfast discussions every Friday and a regular crypto and blockchain meetup.

The hub also has free co-working space. Blockchain startups interested can apply to the hub for space and must be vetted by the hub’s team first. Singh says his team has received 11 such applications since the 5 June launch.

He says the Blockstarters also plans to link up with other bitcoin hubs and wants to become a central point where local regulators can meet on the blockchain.

And what areas are ripe for blockchain disruption?

Singh believes one of the biggest areas where the blockchain has a use in South Africa is payment remittances — given the large number of migrant workers the country has.

He points out that there are already a number of companies that offer remittance services and that use the blockchain to do so.

The other area ripe for disruption is anything requiring the authentication of documents — be these legal, academic or government documents.

Featured image: The Digital Artist via Pixabay (CC0)



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