Swiss investment company Crypto Valley Venture Capital (CV VC) visited Mauritius to participate in the Africa FinTech Festival from 13 to 15 October, and to exchange views with key stakeholders in Mauritius to explore possible avenues of Swiss-Mauritian collaboration to boost blockchain in Africa. The visit was organised in partnership with the Swiss Embassy and the Swiss Business Hub of Southern Africa.
During the visit, CV VC and the Swiss Business Hub had the opportunity to exchange views on the development of blockchain in Africa with the Financial Services Commission, Economic Development Board, government ministries and private sector representatives, among others.
Speaking in Mauritius about the visit, Daniel Schneider, Counsellor and Head of the Swiss Business Hub, commented: “Switzerland is ranked as the most innovative country in Europe, and the Swiss Government has strongly supported the hosting of the Africa FinTech Festival in Mauritius, which has been a great success. We are very keen to build bridges between Switzerland and Africa to stimulate innovation, and we believe that Mauritius has a vital role to play as a regional hub for blockchain and FinTech.”
Mathias Ruch, Founder and CEO of CV VC, commented: “We were delighted to be back in Mauritius again to participate in the Africa FinTech Festival and to continue our initial discussions which we began in 2019 before the pandemic. We believe that Mauritius has great potential to develop as a hub for VC investments in Africa, and it has been very interesting for us to hear how the ecosystem is developing here.”
“I appreciated the open discussions we have had with the Mauritian authorities about possible collaboration between Mauritius and Switzerland to stimulate the growth of blockchain, where we have been pleased to share our Swiss experience of developing strong public-private partnerships. I believe that regulation always follows innovation, and so the goal is to come up with smart regulation which will attract pioneers to the island.”
“Overall, I see real potential for Mauritius as a gateway for investments to the African continent. At CV VC, where we have launched our Africa strategy and accelerator, we are planning to establish a fund which will allow third parties to invest in blockchain opportunities and the jurisdiction of such a fund could be Mauritius,” he added.
Building a blockchain technology ecosystem in Africa
In his presentation to the Africa FinTech Festival on 14 October, Mathias explained that CV VC is investing in blockchain start-ups, and that the company’s goal is to invest in 100 African start-ups in the next four years through a blockchain accelerator. He highlighted that CV VC already has five African start-ups in its portfolio and five additional start-ups in the pipeline to join its accelerator.
Sharing his insights, Mathias commented: “The true use cases of blockchain are to be found on the African continent. That is where we see the strong potential with the combination of blockchain technology and the economic potential of Africa. What we see from Sub-Saharan Africa companies is really fantastic and we are thrilled with the quality and the rate of innovation that we see in our process currently.”
He explained that the CV Labs Africa Accelerator is investing at the pre-seed stage, which usually represents the first institutional money in cash or in kind, and that CV VC receives tokens or equity in return. He explained that CV VC will run different verticals where it sees the greatest opportunities, namely supply chain management, healthcare, FinTech and government, and would also work with corporates. He underlined that CV VC’s goal is to have 25 start-ups per batch starting from next year which would benefit from exposure to over 70 mentors to support their growth ambitions.
Bringing his perspective from Crypto Valley in Switzerland, Mathias concluded: “We strongly believe that something like Crypto Valley can be built elsewhere. The four factors that are needed are the talent, the pioneers, the universities and the founders. Money will follow. If you then have the support from the government and the regulatory framework in place, you need supporting infrastructures, service providers, conferences and platforms in order to promote growth of such an ecosystem. I think this is possible in Africa as well”.