Gbemi Akande

Gbemi Akande: Finding blockchain opportunities in Africa

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Pacer Ventures, co-founded by Gbemi Akande, is a venture fund that is focused on Africa, but not exclusively on blockchain projects. “However,” Gbemi says, “we’ve taken a lot of interest in blockchain businesses in the past few months because of the growing opportunity we see there.”

Speaking on this week’s CoinGeek Conversations, Gbemi says there’s a growing population of young technical talent in Africa which makes the continent “a good place to explore what blockchain can do in solving societal problems and business problems.”

But it’s not just the young, educated population that encourages Gbemi’s confidence: “Even governments are catching on right now to understand it as a technology themselves, to develop policies around the technology, which has also helped the markets to grow faster.”

Exposing ordinary consumers as potential investors to the bewildering array of digital currencies, many of which are built on dubious claims, could have dangers, but Gbemi believes that ultimately, the process will produce positive results: 

“It’s been a learning curve for the population. However, I’m quite confident in the fact that while there’s a lot of cryptocurrencies, for example, with a lot of success stories, but also failures and lessons learned, the learning rate of this young population will actually more than compensate for that.”

As for Bitcoin SV’s role in future business opportunities for Pacer Ventures, Gbemi sees one of its core strengths as the potential for “huge transaction volumes.” Micropayments and remittances are “a big deal in Africa.” That makes BSV “a well suited protocol that can help absorb the volume of transactions that’s needed to be done in Africa.”

The whole ‘crypto’ market has experienced a serious downturn in recent months, but Gbemi says that could have a positive effect in the long run: “This particular period will filter out the noise and allow the protocols and the solutions with substance to actually be well known and well used. So I think it’s an opportunity to recalibrate, to come down and ask the tough questions about what works best for society and for businesses.”

Gbemi mentions several sectors for BSV startups that he believes are likely to do well in the short to medium term: supply chain logistics, education and media content. In addition, the streamlining of government services presents big opportunities. 

The fund is open to new applicants and Gbemi issues an invitation to entrepreneurs to contact him: “We are out there looking for ideas to work with entrepreneurs. We go beyond just writing a cheque. We work very closely with founders …If anyone out there has some interesting solutions that use the BSV protocol, approach us.”

Startup investment is part of Pacer Ventures’ bigger vision for Africa: “We really want to work with businesses that are moving the needle, that are creating employment, that are solving societal problems within the continent.” In three or four years’ time, Gbemi says, “We really are hoping to be able to work with companies that are pushing the envelope in that direction.”

Hear the whole of Gbemi Akandi’s interview in this week’s CoinGeek Conversations podcast or catch up with other recent episodes:

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