Shogo Ishida of EMURGO discusses the mission to fund African blockchain startups

Temitope Akintade
Shogo Ishida, Co-CEO of EMURGO

Shogo Ishida, the Co-CEO of EMURGO (Middle East and Africa), recently returned from the World Economic Forum at Davos, where he was a speaker. With great insight into the African blockchain ecosystem and vast knowledge of how the blockchain is changing the landscape in Africa, Shogo Ishida recounts his experience and chronicles the impact of EMURGO/Adaverse in an interview with Technext.

He came in contact with blockchain technology in 2017 while working for Japan’s government. Shogo Ishida’s speciality was international politics, but he always had two big life themes to achieve:

which are to contribute to reduce threat of war and to contribute to eradicate poverty. New technology is an invention of human beings and it has to be the one to solve issues that have not been solved before.”

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Adaverse and EMURGO’s mission in Africa

Shogo works for EMURGO Middle East & Africa, a regional entity of EMURGO, Cardano’s official commercial arm and founding entity. EMURGO has a VC function and an acceleration program. It wants to create a fruitful startup environment in Africa by creating many use cases.

Shogo Ishida of EMURGO discusses the mission to fund African blockchain startups

Shogo Ishida states that their mission is to provide 1 billion people with economic identities. 

There are 1 billion people in the world who do not have proper IDs, and 60% of which are coming from Africa. Cardano is trying to fix this with the power of technology. In Africa, financial demand of Startups goes up to 525 billion dollars, but 80% = 400 billion are not met. So, by combining traditional finance and DeFi, we try to increase liquidity into the African finance market.”

Adaverse is EMURGO Africa’s regional entity as a VC and investment platform. They are always looking for innovative and ambitious blockchain startups in Africa. 

“We have invested in blockchain startups with a wide variety of areas. FinTech, property registry, gaming apps, a job matching platform, and transportation.”

Applicants should access and submit required documents like invested decks. 

Then, when you qualify, we have multiple meetings before getting funded. The last interview will be with me. One thing that I can highlight of Adaverse’s uniqueness is we provide an acceleration program after funding. So, industry’s experts will mentor you from perspectives of business, technical and more.”

Blockchain in Africa 

It is no longer news that the African continent plays a significant role in global blockchain adoption and development. Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt and South Africa are one of the highest crypto-adopting countries in the world. This trend is projected to continue with the number of funded blockchain projects increasing.

“We have conducted 30+ investments, most of which are from Africa. Obviously, Africa is an evolving continent. In 2080, Sub-Saharan Africa will have the largest population in the world, with 30%. and many of them are the younger generation, so they are more adaptable to new technology.

Shogo Ishida at the World Economic Forum, Davos.
Shogo Ishida with notable personalities at the World Economic Forum, Davos.

What I really like in my work is meeting blockchain founders in Africa. We have sourced 1k projects and I probably met online or offline with 100+ founders. I always see the energy and enthusiasm of young entrepreneurs with strong motivation to make Africa better.”  – Shogo Ishida.

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Shogo Ishida states that EMURGO is happy to get involved in discussions with African governments to create a regulatory framework to accept cryptos. Due to the massive unbanked population, Shogo believes that blockchain technology will continue to solve issues and challenges on the continent. 

I have faced so many young entrepreneurs in Africa to recognise these challenges and want to solve them. People who see the issues in your daily life are more prone to dedicate themselves to solve. And besides, a lot of creative ideas that I do not really see in the developed world are coming from African entrepreneurs. I believe Africa will be a strong driving force to move the technology to the next level in the future.”

Going forward, Shogo Ishida, EMURGO and Adaverse will continue to do what they’ve been doing. 

Investment in startups will continue. We will focus more on building Cardano user cases, so we believe that Cardano blockchain backed applications will be all over Africa.”

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