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Startup Spotlight on Fuse.io




We were pleased to sit down with Dr. Ira Ryk-Lakhman, COO of Fuse.io, to discuss the innovative, inclusive, and accessible technological infrastructure they offer to small businesses globally to bypass bureaucracies and fees associated with traditional finance.

What is Fuse.io?

Fuse.io was launched in 2019 with the aim of offering businesses and developers an end-to-end technical solution that enables alternative payment methods on their applications (Web3 Payments). Our biggest value proposition is that we offer small businesses, often burdened by fees associated with credit cards and not wanting to use cash, a third payment alternative. By operating and using Fuse’s software development kit (SDK), businesses can offer smaller merchants with lesser

tech abilities an easy, seamless, payment solution at lower costs and high reliability. Additionally, we assist businesses with user retention and engagement by creating an easy and cheap payment solution that online and real-world merchants can easily adopt for free, while also building a customized loyalty club, offering their users rewards for their purchasesand maintaining user-engagement in between purchases. Notably, by adopting the Fuse infrastructure, businesses can appeal to new audiences seeking Web3 mobile solutions and payment methods. On top of this, the end-user also profits from this, leveraging fast, cheap, accurate and sophisticated mobile payments. Fuse currently has over 1.5 million accounts created, has facilitated over 128 million transactions, operates in 12 countries, and has a diverse team of some 30 people working globally and from the Tel Aviv HQ. Why does Fuse target emerging markets? In the 1970s, the large payment networks started creating the traditional railways for payment for the Western world, starting in North America, eventually making their way to Europe, and not quite arriving to less developed countries. For a long time, this meant extreme difficulties for developing countries, namely Africa and Asia, that were effectively excluded from the growing popularity of these, now traditional payment infrastructures. Fast forward to the 2000s and it's understood that this was actually a huge advantage - countries within Africa and Asia have been able to completely leapfrog over the traditional payment railways, making more room for innovative practices and coloring outside the lines. This is where we find such a strong business case; Fuse is made for countries that don’t follow the traditional payment railways designed for developed countries. Fuse is for businesses who seek to innovate and replace the back-end dating back to the 1970s with more innovative, secure, and cheaper payment methods. In addition, emerging economies are filled with small businesses contributing to and even powering the economies. Sub-Saharan Africa alone has 44 million micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and as previously mentioned, we put a lot of emphasis on reaching small businesses that would normally be affected by high fees from traditional payment mechanisms, or would struggle to expand due to other payment-related pain-points (such as, currency volatility, access to financial services, and more). One challenge we do encounter surrounds regulation. Africa is made up of 54 countries, all with different rules and regulations surrounding payments. And while it is years ahead of the fintech/blockchain development of Israel, we still see some vagueness with respect to regulatory approaches and therefore it is at times a bit complex to operate in. We have found that our best chance at mitigating this challenge is to partner with local regulated (licensed) companies who know and understand the local regulation better than we do. Regardless, we are providing the tech infrastructure and do not have access, nor will we ever, to the funds running on the platforms built on Fuse. How does Fuse improve the lives of people in emerging markets? We feel that our overall impact lies in Fuse’s ability to promote the growth and financial inclusion of small local businesses and economies. For example, we provide the tech infrastructure for ChromePay to offer its Digital IDs to unbanked populations in Africa, thereby developing local agriculture businesses. Looking at Ethiopia, ChromePay addresses the absence of a national ID system by connecting financial institutions with unbanked digital identity solution integrated with various financial services. Fuse Network granted funding to Chromepay to implement its decentralized identification (D-ID) solution on Fuse and integrate it into ChromePay and Fuse Smart Wallets. Chromepay uses Fuse Network to generate Digital IDs for its users and offers financial services linked to each D-ID through the Fuse Charge solution. Fuse enables ChromePay to offer services such as paying for micro-insurance and facilitates low-cost P2P transfers and remittances. As a result, small-scale farmers stand to gain an increase in accessibility of funds, receive financial education and a

wide range of financial services, adopt new business models, and increase workforce and productivity within rural regions. We are proud to say that because of this, over 3000 farmers th

o offer its Digital IDs to unbanked populations in Africa, thereby developing local agriculture businesses. Looking at Ethiopia, ChromePay addresses the absence of a national ID system by connecting financial institutions with unbanked digital identity solution integrated with various financial services. Fuse Network granted funding to Chromepay to implement its decentralized identification (D-ID) solution on Fuse and integrate it into ChromePay and Fuse Smart Wallets. Chromepay uses Fuse Network to generate Digital IDs for its users and offers financial services linked to each D-ID through the Fuse Charge solution. Fuse enables ChromePay to offer services such as paying for micro-insurance and facilitates low-cost P2P transfers and remittances. As a result, small-scale farmers stand to gain an increase in accessibility of funds, receive financial education and a wide range of financial services, adopt new business models, and increase workforce and productivity within rural regions. We are proud to say that because of this, over 3000 farmers that were previously excluded from the financial system are now included and able to benefit from their work.

What is your vision for Fuse? In the near future I hope to see Fuse working with many more small businesses in emerging markets, as I feel these are the places where we can make the most tangible impact. I look forward to seeing Fuse expand within Africa, taking on different projects to show our applicability to even more use cases. I additionally hope to see our company being promoted more within emerging markets, especially through more developers and marketing professionals working with us from within Africa. On another note, I look forward to pursuing other strategic projects, especially in Israel, as I believe development of our fintech ecosystem is necessary and will put us on the map as the startup ecosystem that we allege ourselves to be.

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