The selected fintechs provide innovative solutions – such as working capital for micro-merchants and personal accident insurance for domestic workers – to populations particularly hard-hit by the pandemic.
WASHINGTON, October 20, 2020 – Inclusive Fintech 50 announced the 2020 cohort of startups driving inclusion and resilience for the 3 billion financially underserved people globally. An independent panel of 35 experts from venture capital, technology, and financial services firms identified the most promising startups providing credit, insurance, savings, and other critical products to low-income households and businesses that are particularly vulnerable to financial shocks like the COVID-19 economic crisis.
The 50 fintechs were selected from a pool of 403 eligible applicants operating in 111 countries based on four criteria: inclusiveness, innovation, scale potential, and traction. The cohort will benefit from connections to leading investors including the IF50 Investors Circle, as well as their peers from the 2019 cohort. Inclusive Fintech 50 was founded by MetLife Foundation and Visa, with support from Accion and IFC, and additional funding from BlackRock and Jersey Overseas Aid & Comic Relief.
Together, these high-potential startups demonstrate the power of financial technology to improve the accessibility, affordability, and convenience of financial services in advanced and emerging markets.
“Innovation in financial services can provide much needed stability to vulnerable populations by leveraging technology to fill gaps and meet their unique needs,” said Mark Pickens, Senior Director, Social Impact at Visa, Inc. “Visa is proud to support fintech innovators helping low-income communities weather the current storm and, importantly, build resilience for the future.”
Brad Jones, CEO of Wave Money and one of the expert judges said, “The final 50 were selected based on strong product-market fit, the experience of their leadership teams, and their potential to scale and reach underserved populations.” The judges also selected two fintechs to receive “Financial Resiliency” prizes of USD 25,000 based on their contribution to strengthening the ability of low-income households and businesses to withstand and recover from the pandemic. Those two companies are:
“The health and economic challenges created by COVID-19 placed households and businesses on shaky financial footing — especially those who were economically vulnerable before the pandemic,” said Evelyn Stark, who leads Financial Health at MetLife Foundation. “Amid the uncertainty, these fintechs demonstrate how new models can improve financial resilience.”
Launched in 2019, Inclusive Fintech 50 identifies and elevates high-potential, early-stage, and innovative fintech startups driving financial inclusion and resilience. The initiative is implemented by MIX, the global data resource for investors focused on inclusive finance.
The winners are listed below by main operating region. Full profiles can be viewed at www.inclusivefintech50.com/2020-cohort.
Inclusive Fintech 50 elevates promising early-stage fintechs driving financial inclusion and resilience around the globe through a competitive process led by an independent panel of judges from venture capital, technology, and financial services. Applicants are assessed on the degree to which their target market includes underserved people or businesses, and whether their innovation offers a new value proposition, shows early-stage traction, and can have a noticeable impact on the more than 3 billion financially undeserved people globally. Inclusive Fintech 50 was founded by MetLife Foundation and Visa, with support from Accion and IFC, and additional funding from BlackRock and Jersey Overseas Aid & Comic Relief. The initiative is implemented by MIX, the global data resource for investors focused on inclusive finance. Learn more at www.inclusivefintech50.com.
At MetLife Foundation, we are committed to expanding opportunities for low- and moderate-income people around the world. We partner with nonprofit organizations and social enterprises to create financial health solutions and build stronger communities, while engaging MetLife employee volunteers to help drive impact. MetLife Foundation was established in 1976 to continue MetLife’s long tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. From its founding through the end of 2019, MetLife Foundation provided more than $860 million in grants and $85 million in program-related investments to make a positive impact in the communities where MetLife operates. Our financial health work has reached more than 13.4 million low- and moderate-income individuals in 42 countries. To learn more about MetLife Foundation, visit metlife.org.
Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network – enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of connected commerce on any device, and a driving force behind the dream of a cashless future for everyone, everywhere. As the world moves from analog to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce. For more information visit About Visa and @VisaNews.
BlackRock’s purpose is to help more and more people experience financial well-being. As a fiduciary to investors and a leading provider of financial technology, our clients turn to us for the solutions they need when planning for their most important goals. As of September 30, 2020, the firm managed approximately $7.81 trillion in assets on behalf of investors worldwide. For additional information on BlackRock, please visit www.blackrock.com/corporate
In 2018, Comic Relief and Jersey Overseas Aid announced a four-year £8 million partnership called ‘Branching Out: Financial Inclusion at the Margins’ to improve access to affordable financial services for those at the margins of society in in Sierra Leone, Rwanda and Zambia. Comic Relief and Jersey Overseas Aid believe that one of the best ways to do this is by transferring knowledge to build responsible and inclusive financial systems, incubating FinTech, and focusing on service delivery to increase bottom-of-the-pyramid access to financial services including bank accounts, savings, insurance and credit, providing low-income households with the means to plan for the future as well as unexpected events. The partnership grants support a diverse set of organisations, made up of international and local NGOs, with each grantee delivering programmes designed to meet different community and national needs in addressing financial inclusion.
Accion’s seed-stage investment initiative Accion Venture Lab provides capital and extensive support to innovative fintech startups that improve the reach, quality, and affordability of financial services for the underserved and have the potential to scale. Backed by commercial and impact investors since the launch of its third-party fund in 2019, Venture Lab has invested in more than 40 early-stage startups that operate in 30 countries worldwide. Venture Lab is a part of Accion, a global nonprofit committed to creating a financially inclusive world, with a pioneering legacy in microfinance and fintech impact investing. Accion catalyzes financial service providers to deliver high-quality, affordable solutions at scale for the three billion people who are left out of – or poorly served by – the financial sector. For nearly 60 years, Accion has helped tens of millions of people through our work with more than 160 partners in 55 countries. For further information, visit https://www.accion.org/venturelab.
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In fiscal year 2019, we delivered more than $19 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org
MIX is the leading global data resource for socially responsible investors and businesses focused on inclusive finance. As a unit within the Center for Financial Inclusion, MIX’s data initiatives encourage the growth of inclusive markets and support informed thinking on the future of financial services. MIX convenes stakeholders to build common data standards that create transparency and develops strategic insight from complex data to help sectors flourish. Founded in 2002, MIX has served as a trusted data partner for socially responsible investors who move USD 10 billion annually. Learn more at www.themix.org.