Rocket Fuel Winner: Takadao gets eyeballs and credibility

Rocket Fuel Winner: Takadao gets eyeballs and credibility

Startups: if you want to know how you could benefit from LEAP 2024 and take your startup to new heights, this is one for you.

Each year at LEAP we host the Rocket Fuel Pitch Competition. As well as a share of the $1 million prize fund, the competition will get your business in front of key industry investors and innovators and stir up global interest in what you’re doing.

We’ve been catching up with the winners of the 2023 competition to find out how they’re doing six months later. So first up, let’s chat with Sharene Lee, Co-Founder at Takadao – the winner of Aviatrix Award for the most innovative startup pioneered by women founders.

Could you briefly share the story of how and why you started Takadao?

“At Takadao, we're on a mission to build community-based financial services that provide excluded communities with alternatives to traditional banks and insurance companies.

“As a Muslim, I've typically been excluded from traditional financial services as most of these are not shariah-compliant. In addition to the Muslim community, there are many communities around the world that are also excluded from banking and insurance for other reasons, generally related to profit.

“It's time to change that and the rise of blockchains and cryptocurrencies give us a way to build new infrastructure that can be community-based and decentralised. Rather than focusing on maximising shareholder profits, at Takadao, the community are the shareholders and our products are structured to maximise community well-being.”

“To that end, we have two products in our ecosystem: Takaturn, a cooperative savings and loan program; and Takasure, a cooperative takaful insurance DAO.”

Why did you decide to enter the Rocket Fuel competition?

“LEAP is the biggest and most important event in the region and the Rocket Fuel competition was a great opportunity to get on the big stage and get people to join us on our mission. The prize money was attractive too!”

How did you feel when you won the Aviatrix Award?

“Needless to say, it was a thrilling moment. The conference and exhibition over the previous days had been eventful so this was a great way to say goodbye to LEAP.”

Since LEAP 2023, how has being a competition winner helped you achieve your goals?

“It's certainly brought us eyeballs and validation. Being an early stage startup in the crypto space, it's often hard to overcome initial scepticism. Winning the Rocket Fuel prize demonstrated that international investors understood and embraced what we are doing, which helps with market validation. Since then, we've inked a number of partnerships, closed our pre-seed round (soon to be announced) and launched our first product.”

And what are the next steps for your startup?

“It's just the beginning for us, there's a lot of work to be done. Our main focus today is to iterate on our product and to build a valuable service that lives up to our mission and to serve our community by giving them the tools to achieve financial freedom and protection.”

What would you say to a startup that was considering entering the Rocket Fuel competition in 2024?

“Go for it. Take it seriously, it's very competitive and you need to work at it to get to the finals.”

Thanks to Sharene Lee at Takadao. Take your startup to the next level with the Rocket Fuel Competition 2024.


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