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Fonbnk, an emerging markets web3 startup has raised a USD 3.5 Mn seed round to help users of prepaid mobile SIM cards easily obtain cryptocurrency assets by exchanging their airtime credits. The round was led by New York’s New Form Capital, with participation from BTC’s Kraken Ventures, North Island Ventures, Formless Capital, Republic Capital, Audacity Fund, and Principle Ventures. Pharrell Williams also participated via his Black Ambition fund as well as a variety of leading early-stage investors including Hustle Fund, EchoVC, Lightspeed Ventures, Frontier Ventures, Techstars (Western Union), Industrious Ventures, Allied Venture Partners, Seed9, GP Ventures, and Pax Angeles.
Fonbnk is a distributed and decentralized finance company on a mission to onramp the unbanked and underbanked peoples of emerging markets across Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia into the digital economy. Fonbnk’s proprietary ecosystem also offers select individuals and enterprises the ability to earn additional income with their smartphones by acting as ‘market makers’ – individuals or companies that actively trade airtime in its marketplace and ensure that Fonbnk users can easily transact. The company is present in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Ethiopia, Uganda, Ghana, Tanzania, and Mozambique.