London-based cryptocurrency exchange Luno has launched an investment arm aimed at pumping millions into crypto and fintech start-ups.
Luno, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Digital Currency Group (DCG), has been involved with funding numerous early-stage projects for several years, but has now taken the step of ramping up its focus on finding and funding future stars of crypto.
Labelled ‘Luno Expeditions’, the global investment arm aims to support the best fintech and crypto/web3 founders on their journeys to build the next generation of financial services.
The team behind the project will now spearhead all of Digital Currency Group’s early-stage investing – both seed and pre-seed – as they look to scale up investments by targeting 200 to 300 projects per year and expand the focus beyond crypto into the broader fintech space.
Heading up Luno Expeditions will be Jocelyn Cheng, who has been appointed Chief Executive Officer over the investment arm.
“I am thrilled to join Luno Expeditions as Chief Executive,” she said.
“These are incredibly exciting times in cryptocurrency and the broader fintech ecosystem. We’ve got ambitious plans to build a leading fund designed around the needs of early-stage founders.
“It will be a privilege to work with ambitious entrepreneurs from all over the world, all intent on solving problems and building the next generation of financial service companies.”
Marcus Swanepoel, Luno’s CEO and co-founder, said the aim of the new investment arm was about helping to build foundations for innovation.
“We know how hard it is to build a company, especially in the fintech space, and with our deep experience building, scaling and operating fintech businesses in some of the hardest markets in the world, we’re looking to support a new generation of entrepreneurs from all over the world do the same,” he explained.
Operating in ‘stealth mode’ over the past few months, Luno Expeditions has already ploughed funds into more than 20 crypto and fintech companies – including a crypto compliance solution in Israel, an NFT marketplace in the United States, a bank dedicated to women in Pakistan and a ground-breaking remittance solution in Tanzania.
Barry Silbert – founder and CEO of DCG – and Marcus Swanepoel have both said they will be closely involved in the initiative and will take leading roles in the investment committee.