Jambo startup raises US$7.5m to launch its beta version

CONGO – Jambo, a Congo-based startup that is building Africa’s web3 user acquisition gateway by democratizing access to crypto-based income-generation opportunities through “learn, play, earn,” has raised US$7.5 million in seed funding.

Coinbase Ventures, Three Arrows Capital (3AC), Alameda Research, Tiger Global, Delphi Ventures, AllianceDAO, DeFiance Capital, Yield Guild Games, and Polygon Studios all contributed to the funding round.

Sandeep Nailwal, co-founder and CEO of Polygon; Santiago R Santos, ex-ParaFi partner; Do Kwon, co-founder and CEO of Terraform Labs; and partner at Delphi Digital Piers Kicks are among the web3 ecosystem’s angel investors.

Even though Jambo aims to launch its beta version in Q2 and go live in Q3, the company has already started the journey.

Since the beginning of the year, Jambo has enrolled over 12,000 students from 15 countries (Morocco, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Uganda, Kenya, Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, DR Congo, Tanzania, Zambia, Namibia, Madagascar, and South Africa) in a curated web3 curriculum that can be completed both online and offline.

Students will be able to explore potential in play-to-earn gaming and decentralized finance, according to the company (DeFi). Hundreds of ambassadors sign up students at colleges and 600+ physical partner locations where the 10-week programs are offered.

“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,” said Santiago R Santos, a web3 investor and ex-ParaFi partner, in a statement.

Jambo intends to onboard millions of users to web3 across Africa through its applications, according to James Zhang, the company’s co-founder and CEO.

He and his sister, both Congo-born Chinese, started the company in November 2021 after seeing a chance to replicate the success of web3 projects in Southeast Asia across Africa.

When users use the Jambo platform, they can save money on data. According to Zhang, Jambo works with telecom carriers to obtain a nearly 70% discount, which it then sells straight to its subscribers at a 50% discount.

“It’s one of our primary user acquisition techniques,” Zhang explained, “where we aim to quadruple every African’s airtime and data.”

“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,” he said.

“Many web2 incumbents or even web3 are having a US$100–200 user acquisition costs so we can lower that by order of magnitude by directly incentivizing the end-user.”

Play-to-earn games are also coming to Jambo. There are currently no well-known play-to-earn web3 games from Africa, owing to a lack of infrastructure for creating such through Guilds. Jambo, according to Zhang, wants to construct such infrastructure.

Despite this, unlike well-known guilds that collect a percentage of profits from its members, his company has no plans to take a cut from its members’ earnings. Jambo’s revenue would instead come from web2 models, which would charge advertising money as well as fees from selling airtime and data.

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