Runway Fund — an emergency relief fund assembled by the co-founders of OnChain Capital to help startups impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic — has been “overwhelmed” by the number of applications.

Cointelegraph spoke to Ran Neuner, host of CNBC Africa’s Crypto Trader and co-founder of both OnChain Capital and Runway Fund, to find out more about the project's plans to assist struggling start-ups.

The fund is open to applications from startups in all jurisdictions and has received 400 submissions from startups worldwide in only two weeks.

Neuner states that the fund has received “more requests than we ever could have imagined,” adding that Runway’s staff is “working 20 hours a day across different time zones to review every application.”

“Sadly, the number of affected startups is huge, much more than we expected,” Ran states, adding, “We are in the final stages of [due diligence] with three companies already and hope to make the first investments by early next week.”

Runway Fund hopes to raise $100 million

The fund was launched with $10 million in funds provided by Neuner, OnChain’s other co-founder Yossi Hasson, and contributions from “high net worth individuals.”

The fund intends to seek out a further $90 million from OnChain Capital’s investor network in the future:

“We faced a dilemma as to whether we should raise money first or launch the fund. We opted to get going as quickly as possible and then continue raising based on the response. Needless to say, we will now go out and raise more capital [...] We have had a lot of interest from potential investors.” 

Ran Neuner "particularly impressed" by African startups 

While Neuner notes that the quality of all of the startups that have applied to the fund is “mind-blowing,” he states that African applicants have stood out above the rest.

“I have been particularly impressed by the African Entrepreneurs, they have very novel businesses and the caliber of the teams has been impressive,” he states, adding, ”I did not imagine that Africa would be so far ahead, even though I am from Africa.”