African web3 startup Jambo has raised $7.5 million in a seed funding round that involved notable investors from the crypto space, the company announced on Monday.
The company's mission to build a web3 “superapp” for Africa drew investors like Delphi Ventures, Coinbase Ventures, Three Arrows Capital, and Alameda Research. Other participants in the seed funding round included Alliance DAO, Tiger Global, DeFiance Capital, Hashed, Polygon Studios, UOB, Signum Capital, BH Digital, and Yield Guild Games, among others.
According to Jambo founder James Zhang, the company aims to lead web3 adoption in Africa. Speaking to The Block, Zhang highlighted mobile phone penetration and crypto adoption as important metrics that position the continent as a viable location for significant investments in web3.
With over a third of Africa’s young adult population unemployed, Zhang stated that the company is looking to foster financial inclusion for millions across the continent via play-to-earn (P2E) gaming, remittance, and decentralized finance (DeFi). Jambo plans to aggregate social media and emerging web3 services into one superapp for millions on the continent, Zhang said.
Not a guild
P2E and guilds go hand in the world of incentivized crypto gaming. Guilds are communities of online gamers that come together to play these incentivized crypto games, often sharing data points and profits among the group.
Given the P2E component of its plans, Zhang clarified to The Block that Jambo has no plans to operate as a guild. Making the distinction, the Jambo founder stated that the business model of guilds involves a percentage levy on the gains earned by scholars — guild members who loan out premium in-game assets or provide startup capital for gamers.
“We have never taken a single dollar of profit from any scholar on a game, thereby by definition not a guild. We are the web3 onboarding portal of Africa which means we eventually later down the road will launch the best games to the region. But gaming is only a part of our entire ecosystem,” Zhang told The Block.
Boots on the ground
While the company has a vision for Sub-Saharan Africa, Zhang says Jambo is not looking at the region as a monolith. Instead, Zhang says Jambo is adopting a “boots on the ground” approach and will create strategies that are suitable for each community.
Zhang told The Block that the company is aware of an emerging divergence in DeFi adoption between developed and developing economies. To help close the gap, Jambo has signed up 12,000 students across 15 African countries to complete a curated web3 curriculum since the start of 2022.
According to Zhang, education is key to getting young Africans interested and invested in web3 – and their JamboAcademy will help bridge knowledge gaps in the areas of P2E ad DeFi. The academy is currently targeting signups from university students in Sub-Saharan Africa, with web3 courses available at over 600 partner locations across Africa.
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