THC Spotlights is shining a light on creative technologists who are helping to solve problems in their community and doing it with maximum impact. Erikan Obotetukudo is the CEO and managing partner of Audacity Fund & President of Crypto for Black Economic Empowerment.
Imagine trekking through the city of Lagos, Nigeria with 15K worth of naira, a once unstable currency, in your backpack in hopes of finding a place to exchange it into U.S. dollars. Now imagine not being able to convert that naira into USD without a third party company. This was the very reality facing founder and Erikan Obotetukudo and it sparked her journey as an entrepreneur and public figure, working to ensure Africans have safe systems for peer-to-peer lending, borrowing and trading.
Erikan is positioning herself as a voice for those without. Whenever Erikan Obotetukudo addresses a crowd, she emits an undoubted charm, channeled through her amiable nature. She possesses a unique ability to simultaneously captivate and educate. And people can’t help but listen.
Her work addresses financial problems affecting African citizens and their access to common transactions. One such issue involves “remittance,” sending money to folks overseas via electronic payments, checks and drafts. As an LA native with family in Nigeria, Erikan is familiar with the practice of sending money back to relatives in Nigeria. Unfortunately, sometimes those transactions wind up getting lost and disappearing.
When remittance authorities like Western Union or Money Gram fail to account for lost money, families are left with their transactions incomplete. Though remittances exist to ensure the secure transfer of money from one country to another, many Nigerians struggle to obtain the money owed to them. That’s why Erikan tapped into the potential of crypto as an alternative financial infrastructure to this ongoing remittance issue.
With an industry projected to rake in almost 1.3 trillion dollars globally by 2030, Erikan is ensuring Nigerians get their fair share. She has started the first venture capital fund focusing on crypto start-ups led by African and Black entrepreneurs. With this trailblazer at the helm, Audacity Fund is partnering with investors including IDEO CoLab Ventures and Electric Capital. The Fund plans to invest about $100,000 quarterly in three start-ups. Eligible start ups must focus on decentralized finance (Defi), with preference given toward those working with Africa.
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Written by Brittany Wallace
Edited by Naomi Arroyo & Cruz Arroyo