Busha, A Nigerian Crypto Exchange, Obtains $4.2M In Seed Funding To Expand Across Africa
Busha has raised $4.2 million in a seed round headed by Jump Capital and including Cadenza Ventures, Blockwall Capital, and CMT Digital, among others.
Moyo Sodipo, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer of crypto exchange Busha, has story to tell about loses and gains. As a result of his experience, he teamed up with Micheal Adeyeri (CEO) to create Busha, a platform that allows users to learn about cryptocurrency without getting their fingers burned.
Busha today announced a $4.2 million seed round headed by Jump Capital and including Cadenza Ventures, Blockwall Capital, and CMT Digital, among others.
Sodipo’s enthusiasm for the fundraising was palpable during a conversation with Techpoint Africa.
“All the hard work we’ve put in over the last few years is finally being recognised, but it’s just the beginning.”
But the road to this campaign has been anything but straightforward since Busha started on February 19, 2019.
Sodipo and Adeyeri were among the first workers hired by Jumia Nigeria in 2012. Sodipo was a software engineer and Adeyeri was an IT DevOps engineer. Their stint at Jumia helped them design a customer-centric platform since they saw firsthand what it takes to establish a business.
“We’ve been in the eCommerce/digital economy since 2012, so we’ve been able to watch the ecosystem grow. And the experience we gained from our time at Jumia, which was the beginning, shaped us to be resilient.
“We wore many hats at Jumia, which is common with startups. For example, if you’re a gateman in a startup, it doesn’t mean you won’t double as a driver.”
Sodipo, an IT DevOps engineer, worked closely with customer support and recognized the importance of the customer connection and experience. He also collaborated with other teams, such as marketing and operations, to gain a broader understanding of what makes a firm tick.
“I worked closely with people in the marketing team, the supply chain side of things, and the operational side, so I understood the broad aspect of a business.
“I also worked closely with the co-founders, and it made me understand that when you’re building a business, you cannot be obsessed with only the technology part of things.”
Busha, according to Sodipo, takes its clients extremely seriously, paying close attention to user comments and giving “person customer service” around the clock.
Adeyeri and Sodipo also worked together at SureGroup, where they gained further startup experience.
First contact with cryptocurrencies
When crypto asset values rise and investors receive mind-boggling sums of interest on their investments, this is referred to as a “bull run.”
Cryptocurrencies are becoming increasingly popular at this moment, and more individuals are trying to join in on the action, pushing the Bull Run even further.
Since the inception of Bitcoin in 2009, there have been several exciting bull runs.
Bitcoin’s price soared 3,200 percent in three months in 2011, from $1 in April to $32 in June. Shortly after that gain, a bear market — the polar opposite of bull markets — occurred, and Bitcoin’s price plummeted below $2.
There were many more bull runs after that, but Sodipo first heard about Bitcoin during the sixth Bull Run, when it went from $1,000 to $19,850. Governments and economists began to pay attention to cryptocurrencies, and other coins were produced to compete with it.
Sodipo learned about Bitcoin from a friend in 2017, but he didn’t give it much attention until he realized how much it had grown in value, and how much money he might have gained if he’d listened to his buddy.
“I was like, ‘Wow! That is so insane.’ I got excited and started getting interested.”
Despite his enthusiasm and curiosity, he suffered a series of setbacks.
There were several initial coin offers (ICOs) — the crypto equivalent of initial public offerings (IPOs) — going on at the time. An initial coin offering (ICO) is a sort of funding used by firms that provide crypto-related services. People acquire the startup’s tokens in the hopes that the firm will take off, the token will appreciate in value, and they will get a nice return on their investment.
However, unlike IPOs, ICOs are not regulated, therefore some of them turn out to be frauds, as Sodipo discovered.
“As with most new people in crypto, I got my fair share of, let’s say, breakfast,” he chuckled, “there are a lot of tokens that I bought back then that are worth zero right now.”
“We had looked into crypto in general and gotten our hands beaten. We thought if Nigerians want to get into this thing and keep making mistakes and losing money, Nigeria will be left out of this whole crypto thing.
MMM was another item that made crypto famous at the time. So there was this misconception that Bitcoin and MMM were the same thing, and that was another myth that needed to be debunked.”
They set out to dispel this myth by developing a platform that made investing in cryptocurrencies straightforward and free of scams.
“I call cryptocurrency the future of money. People want to be able to tap into this future because it’s something that is borderless, fast, seamless and easy to use as long as you give people the right platform.”
Busha began as an effort to dispel common misconceptions regarding cryptocurrency. Some people believed that to possess cryptocurrency, they needed to acquire a complete Bitcoin, which is presently worth at $59,000, according to Sodipo.
They persuaded customers that they could buy in modest increments as little as $10. They established Busha, and the user-friendly platform has grown organically over time.
Busha has done successfully without any outside support under the leadership of Sodipo and Adeyeri. There are presently over 200,000 registered users on the platform, and 1.5 million deals have been completed.
Bootstrapping a firm to this stage, on the other hand, has its difficulties.
“In the early days, when we had not gotten enough users, we were just winging it. The business was pretty much living from hand to mouth.”
Regardless of how difficult things were, the co-founders made sure that salaries were paid.
They established a learning tool to expand their user base by teaching individuals all they needed to know about cryptocurrency. And the company continued to expand, primarily via recommendations.
Busha aided clients in their learning and made crypto purchasing and trading as simple as a few clicks.
Busha, as expected, ran into regulatory issues, which are frequent among Nigerian crypto exchanges.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) issued a directive on February 5, 2021, instructing all deposit money banks, non-bank financial institutions, and other financial organizations to cease enabling crypto-related transactions.
While Sodipo acknowledges that crypto regulation in the nation is a contentious issue, he claims that the directive was a big roadblock that Busha successfully navigated.
P2P was used by crypto companies in response to the CBN’s mandate. Despite the instruction, Nigerians had traded $99.1 million in Bitcoins by the end of Q1 2021. On Paxful, the country also hit an all-time high of $1.5 billion in trade volume.
However, it appears that the CBN is cracking down on P2P, since Nigeria’s weekly Bitcoin trade volume has decreased by 43%.
“From the beginning, we’ve always been self-regulated,” Sodipo remarked, confirming Busha’s pro-regulation stance. We’ve done KYC and made sure we’re a compliant exchange in every way, despite the fact that we don’t have a license.
“So any day that regulators come knocking, we’re able to let them know ‘even though you didn’t tell us to do this, we’ve always been doing it.’”
Sodipo claimed that with $4.2 million at their disposal, they intend to remain the greatest platform for client experience.
When asked about future growth plans, he stated, “We want to be the platform that connects Africa to the new digital economy.
THE FUTURE OF BUSHA
“The next five years will be very interesting. Even though everyone seems to be clamouring for Bitcoin and crypto, we’re still at the very early stages of crypto.
“In the next five to ten years, I see Busha being your one-stop-shop for everything that has to do with crypto. Whether it’s buying and selling, getting in and out of NFTs, or plugging into DeFi, I see Busha being the place that you think of first when you want to do anything cryptocurrency-related.”
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