Portfolio News

Trustlab Graduates From Seed Stage Funding

Trustlab Blockchain South Africa
Apr 11 , 2018
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South Africa
Amount invested $98,693 USD Funding Status graduated early period Founded in 2012 by Shaun Conway


UNICEF Venture Fund is proud to see portfolio member, Trustlab — graduate. They’ve come a long way – from numerous product iterations, to deep diving into understanding their ecosystem better, strengthening their business model, and gearing up on taking their solution to market. They’re now at a stage to collaborate at a larger scale – as they find new pathways to work with partners, investors, and the open source community.

Marking our graduation with the UNICEF Venture Fund, our Amply platform has field-tested in 77 Centers with 2,700 children registered, and we’ve digitized 55,000 attendance records during our pilot in South Africa.

The challenge

In South Africa, approximately 800,000 children are subsidized by the government to receive early learning programs, nutrition and childcare. To receive this funding, accredited non-state preschool service providers must create registries of children and submit signed claims, to record each attendance. This has been a low-definition system, using paper records and manual processing. Accounting for both the financial flows and performance of these services has been administratively costly, burdensome and information-poor.

Amply is a blockchain application platform for digitizing service-delivery claims and tokenizing impact data.

To address this, we’ve built Amply (our pilot project) to be able to replace the existing paper-based system to register children for a government funded pre-school subsidy in South Africa. Amply is a blockchain application platform for digitizing service-delivery claims and tokenizing impact data. Amply applies cryptography and distributed ledger technologies to generate and record verifiable proofs of service-delivery.

A closer look: Teachers use the Amply mobile app to register children. Each day they capture and submit digitally signed service-delivery claims. A software protocol automatically processes these claims and creates trustworthy accounting and performance records, with verified data — producing cryptographic tokens that can be exchanged for funding.

In more detail, we see Amply to be able to provide…

  • Real-time service monitoring, with business intelligence for optimisation

  • Transparency and accountability for funding and performance

  • Verified digital identity registries for service agents and children

  • Innovative financing mechanisms, using cryptographic tokens

  • Reduction in program administration costs

Children in a classroom

Photo Credits | Top: © UNICEF/UN0315680/Sokol | In Article: © Trustlab 

Key milestones

In South Africa, Trustlab has succeeded in securing a revenue-generating contract to customise the Amply applications for the Smartstart ECD Social Franchise and to provide this platform as a service to 3,000 community-based agents. The ambition of Smartstart is to grow this agent network to 100,000 agents by 2020.

In addition, Trustlab is finalising a service contract to provide the Amply software platform to run the first government-sponsored Social Impact Bond for ECD in the Western Cape province in South Africa.

We have also started the process of due diligence to become a service provider to the national Department for Social Development, to provide the Amply platform for managing the national government early learning subsidy to around 800,000 children, for pre-school attendance.

In the previous 6 months, Trustlab established the ixo Foundation, to internationalize the core open-source software and build up a global network that will continue to build, deploy and use the protocol. We have established agreements with leading organizations to serve as Founding Partners of the Foundation. These organizations include The Innovation Edge, The Gold Standard Foundation, Singularity University Ventures, Blockchain for Social Impact Coalition, Ocean Protocol and others. To fund and operationalize these developments, we raised an additional $200,000 to recruit an international team and initiate a crowd fundraising campaign through a crypto-token sale mechanism, through which we expect to raise at least $25 million by the end of Q1 2018. This work has received high-profile media coverage and we have started building up a strong community of supporters, developers and other stakeholders. Trustlab continues to undertake software development for the Foundation and provides operational support, through a service contract.

This will be a sustainable way of building Trustlab as a sustainable business venture over the next 3-5 years.

What's next

Once funding is in place from the ixo Foundation, we intend to integrate the protocol into OpenEMIS, the open-source Education Management Information System. We have secured an agreement that provides the opportunity to scale up implementation of the protocol across a number of additional countries.

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