Jambo, a three-month-old company, building a Web 3 super app for Africa, has raised $7.5 million in seed funding from an array of prominent backers in the crypto industry, including Delphi Ventures, Coinbase Ventures, and Three Arrows Capital.
Southeast Asia has become one of the best markets for web3; it is home to startups like Axie Infinity and Yield Guild Games, which have raised millions of dollars in venture capital owing to the adoption of crypto and play-to-earn models.
Experts say Africa is poised to be disrupted by web3, similarly to Southeast Asia.
What makes Africa the next ripe ground for web3 is a mix of positives such as a fast-growing population–the youngest globally–solid smartphone penetration, increasing crypto adoption, and negatives like low GDP per capita across the board and unemployment make Africa the next ripe ground for web3.
Jambo wants to onboard millions of users to web3 in Africa through its applications, and a few companies like it are positioning themselves for this next boom.
Jambo is taking a two-sided approach by allowing its users to do so when they partake in web2 and web3 activities; Although users of Axie Infinity and other guilds only earn an income while playing games under a revenue-sharing model, users can save their data spend when they use Jambo.
James Zhang (co-founder and CEO, Jambo) said, “It’s one of our main user acquisition strategies where we want to double every Africans airtime and data,” explaining that Jambo partners with telecom providers to get an almost 70% discount and sell directly to its users at a 50% discount from the original cost.
The company is partnering with social media companies so users can earn tokens (which they can convert to income) while watching their content on its app.
He also said, “The reason we can do that is via partnerships with these companies as we tokenize a part of their advertising budget and directly provide to the end-user,” resume “Many web2 incumbents or even web3 are having a $100-200 user acquisition costs so we can lower that by order of magnitude by directly incentivizing the end-user.”
Zhang said Jambo wants to build that infrastructure. Still, unlike well-known guilds whose business models involve taking percentages of profit from its users, his company doesn’t plan to take a cut from its users’ earnings. Instead, Jambo’s revenues would come from web2 models — charging advertising dollars and commissions from selling airtime and data.
As Africa’s “web3 onboarding portal,” the CEO said Jambo is testing out over ten play-to-earn games to introduce to its users in the next couple of months.
The question is: for a region with little or no understanding of web3 workings, how does Jambo expect its project to take off smoothly?
Zhang answered, “Education is at the core of what we do because I think there is no shortcut in Africa. You have to educate the user base before you can even think about monetizing or start to acquire users at the end of the day. This is why we are launching classes with a full curriculum on web3. We plan to launch that in more than five universities in Africa by the end of Q1,”
Jambo has been supporting students in 15 countries; since the start of this year, Jambo has already signed up over 12,000 students from (Morocco, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Uganda, Kenya, Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, DR Congo, Tanzania, Zambia, Namibia, Madagascar, and South Africa), to take a curated web3 curriculum, both online and offline.
The company said this would enable students to explore opportunities in play-to-earn gaming and decentralized finance (Defi).
The 10-week programs are available at colleges and across 600+ physical partner locations where hundreds of ambassadors sign up students.
Jambo believes that it will achieve financial prosperity in ways Africans could never have accessed before by using its model of educating users about play-to-earn games and Defi.
Nigeria-based Nestcoin, which is (a media outlet that creates bite-sized and informative crypto content for its users) raised $6.4 million to scale its web3 initiatives, which include Breach, indicates that educating Africa’s young population about web3 and decentralization seems to be a correlating theme with recent web3 upstarts in Africa.
Nestcoin and Jambo have different play-to-earn models; Nestcoin runs a gaming guild called Metaverse Magna (MVM). Jambo doesn’t Yet, but they are similar in setting up a new web3 segment in Africa different from more established platforms such as remittance and crypto exchanges.
Zhang sees that the difference is that while customary platforms help Africans save and send money, new upstarts are increasing earning and wealth potentials for users, he commented: “I think in Africa, there is no money to save because there’s 1% super-rich and 99% the same. So for us, we set out with a different methodology, which is to help the everyday person make money,”.
Resume “This is why every component in our super app is actually to help the everyday person make money from play to earn, to making money from watching videos and saving money on data credits. So ideally, in three to six months, once our app comes online, the everyday person can make $50 a month from playing on Axie Infinity, make another $20 a month from watching videos, and they make another $10 bucks a month from the money they save on data credits. That would be the ideal situation our app can accomplish with every person.”.
Jambo intends to release its beta version by Q2 and go live in Q3; the 60-man team spread across sub-Saharan Africa, Santa Clara, and Shenzhen raised a party round from investors who have backed prominent web3 companies such as Avalanche, Dharma, BlockFi, and Polygon.
Coinbase Ventures, Three Arrows Capital (3AC), Alameda Research, Tiger Global, Delphi Ventures, AllianceDAO, DeFiance Capital, Yield Guild Games, and Polygon Studios. And a couple of angel investors from the web3 ecosystem like Polygon co-founder and CEO Sandeep Nailwal; ex-ParaFi partner Santiago R Santos; Terraform Labs co-founder and CEO Do Kwon; and partner at Delphi Digital Piers Kicks, are included.
Santiago R Santos, a web3 investor, and ex-ParaFi partner said in a statement, “What WeChat did in China, Jambo will do in Africa. Excited to back this A+ team in becoming the Web3 super app of the continent,”.
It’s known that James Zhang founded the company Jambo with his sister in November 2021 after noticing the opportunity to duplicate the success of web3 projects in Southeast Asia across Africa.