The early-stage accelerator supports firms using mobile technology, machine learning, artificial intelligence, blockchain and other technologies to extend financial services to billions of underserved customers in Africa, Latin America, India and Southeast Asia.
The initiative, backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, has now backed 20 companies with $100,000 each, provided tailored technical assistance and delivered access to a dedicated network of investors. A dozen of the companies that sought follow-on funding have raised an average of $1.5 million each.
The rise of mobile banking and payment transfers get headlines but uptake is still low, says Catalyst Fund’s David del Ser. “We’re accelerating inclusive fintech companies whose solutions will achieve greater usage and help address the complete financial lives of these populations.”
The new cohort includes Hover, which helps developers add in-app mobile payments quickly; Payagri, which lets small Indian farmers access credit and funding; Banco Maré, which uses blockchain to faciliate banking transactions in one of Rio de Janeiro’s largest favelas; Leaf, which helps refugees transfer assets across borders using blockchain; and East African informal retailer e-commerce platform Sokowatch.