The Berkeley Blockchain Xcelerator congratulates Fall 2019 cohort participant Leaf for attaining a Phase I SBIR grant for $225,000 from the US National Science Foundation’s Division of Industrial Innovation & Partnership.
Leaf is a global virtual bank to help refugees and migrants safely store and transport their money across borders. The UN has designated 68 million people as refugees, with another 100 million at risk of becoming refugees. As families are forced to flee, they cannot safely store and transport assets across borders, making them targets in the short-term and economically excluded in the long-term. Both migrants and refugees often rely on international remittances but lack a way to receive them safely. With Leaf, customers can avoid the risks of carrying their life’s savings in cash, receive money conveniently and affordably from friends and family, and retain more of their wealth when fleeing conflict. Leaf is also closing a partnership with Western Union, which will serve as a global cash-in/cash-out partner for Leaf. In addition, the company has been recently highlighted in Forbes as a premier fintech solution for refugees.
This is one of the most competitive government grants and a testament to Leaf’s innovative technology, as the grant is for the commercialization of frontier technologies and cutting-edge research. The SBIR grant will enable Leaf to further build out services and raise external investment.
SBIR is one of the US government’s best-kept secrets and is actually the largest funder of startups in the world. With this award, Leaf qualifies to apply for up to $1 million in non-dilutive funding in 2021. The SBIR process was complex, arduous, and incredibly time-consuming. Applying is not for the faint of heart or anyone afraid of paperwork. We are very happy for the entire Leaf team’s achievement. SBIR Award