Untapped Insights
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Untapped Insights

Monthly Newsletter #8: Bringing DeFi to Emerging Markets with Untapped

This newsletter was originally sent to The Nest network on Tuesday, February 15th. To subscribe for future updates please click here.

Our Investment Officer, Yvonne Okafor, checking out Fika’s e-motorbikes with founder Rishi Kohli in Nairobi!

Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening!

DeFi is hot — innovations in decentralized finance, web3, blockchain, crypto, etc seem to be emerging daily. DeFi has long been strategic in Untapped’s vision. We were afraid of talking too much about it, believing that it would take a while before it’s well understood and afraid of scaring people off with the crazy talk; we preferred to quietly build the foundation for it.

But we were wrong. DeFi is here in full force, and the speed at which the sector and legit innovations have grown has been astounding. 6 months is an entire evolutionary cycle in DeFi — the next 5 years will give us financial innovations and plot twists few can even imagine, much less predict.

Our vision at Untapped is to capture — on a single platform — the growing tide of digital revenue streams created by smart assets in emerging markets (PAYGO water systems, point-of-sale devices, smart car leases, electric motorcycles, etc). We consolidate these different assets onto a single investment platform. and then plan to make this digital revenue stream investable to a variety of investors, from family offices to institutional funders to retail investors. This list includes, of course, decentralized finance, i.e. investors holding and trading crypto and the ever-growing list of investment platforms serving them.

Does that mean we are becoming a DeFi platform? Not exactly. Our role is to connect DeFi innovations that activate more capital with real-world economic activity, and direct it to small and medium-sized businesses in emerging markets. Unless we all end up just living, shopping, and making money in the metaverse, the full potential of DeFi includes its potential to make the real world work better.

The upshot for small businesses in Africa and other frontier markets is easier access to more capital for growth: billions of dollars more and at a much faster turnaround than dealing with today’s informal or institutional funders. The opportunity for investors is accessing opportunities that they couldn’t before, while seeing it all happen transparently.

Our raison d’etre is to be the bridge between the digital world and the real world. In short, we are connecting decentralized finance to decentralized ownership in rapidly digitizing emerging markets. We plan to unlock $1B of capital for small businesses worldwide in the next 10 years and DeFi will be a big part of that.

Much more to come in 2022. If you’re interested in hearing more, I talk about DeFi and the connection to digital assets on the Seeking Startups podcast (35:20). To stay updated on the details, join our Discord group and join the discussion!

Untapped updates by the numbers…

  • FORTY THREE: Articles posted on our online publication, Untapped Insights, hosted on Medium. We are fostering a community of writers for and from emerging markets all over the world — if you have something to say to our readers, pitch to us at fiona@untapped-global.com.
  • TEN: Full-time staff on the product, data, and technical team based in Nairobi, Kenya. Led by our CTO, Vincent Kienzler, our team is busy at work building an investment platform that will allow American investors to profitably and easily invest in African entrepreneurs.
  • EIGHT: Partners building and managing electric vehicles in FOURcountries across TWO continents. We’ve been quietly building a diverse network of partners building and managing electric mobility assets across Africa and in Mexico. These include electric motorcycle producers and fleet service providers including Opibus, Fika, Mazi Mobility, and STIMA Boda in Kenya, Zembo in Uganda, Solar Taxi in Ghana, as well as FlexClub and Greenscooter in South Africa. Electric mobility in Africa is heating up and Untapped plans to be a key player in accelerating the adoption of EV through Smart Asset Financing.

On The Nest this month…

Online Investment Pitches — Thursday February, 17: Featuring JABU(Southern Africa’s fastest growing e-commerce for retailers) and Legendary Foods (a food tech business on a mission to produce West & Central Africa’s most cost-effective, nutritious, and accessible form of protein) pitching to global investors Jim Williams, Stuart Gardner, and Vishal Agarwal, for investment, feedback, strategic connections, and recognition. RSVP to join us!

From our leadership team gathered in Paris this week to discuss 2022 strategy, we say keep well and see you soon!




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Untapped Global

Untapped creates opportunity by connecting frontier market innovators to global investors.