Inclusive Fintech 50 launches 2020 edition to identify and elevate early-stage fintechs driving financial inclusion and resilience
The initiative aims to unlock resources for innovative startups providing low-income households and businesses with financial tools that can help them support their livelihoods and build financial resilience.
Washington DC, June 15, 2020 – A group of global organizations driving innovation and investment in financial services for low-income populations announced the launch of the 2020 Inclusive Fintech 50 application period. In its second year, the initiative will identify a cohort of 50 high-potential, early-stage, and innovative fintech startups driving financial inclusion and resilience for the 3 billion financially underserved people worldwide.
Inclusive Fintech 50 creates visibility for the most promising inclusive fintechs with a solution among credit, insurance, payments and remittances, savings and personal financial management, and infrastructure addressing challenges of underserved segments. The initiative brings selected fintechs together with leading investors in the space, and develops industry insights from aggregated and anonymized applicant data.
The selection takes place through a competitive process led by an independent judging panel of experts from venture capital, technology, and financial services firms. The competitive process identifies startups poised for success through four criteria: inclusiveness, innovation, scale potential, and traction. Inclusiveness is determined by the degree to which each applicant’s target market includes underserved people and businesses, and the related problem the startup is aiming to solve.
Selected fintechs will benefit from increased visibility, with the opportunity to connect with peers and position themselves for investment through connections to investors. Two of the selected fintechs will also receive cash prizes of USD 25,000 based on the judging panel’s assessment of their contributions to the financial resilience – or the ability to withstand and recover from shocks – of low-income households and micro-, small- and medium-enterprises (MSMEs).
Inclusive Fintech 50 was founded by MetLife Foundation and Visa Inc., 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.
“Now more than ever, fintechs play a crucial role in expanding financial services to vulnerable populations,” said Mark Pickens, Senior Director, Social Impact at Visa Inc. “Visa believes in the power of digital payments as an on-ramp for unbanked and underserved people, which is all the more important as we seek to help lower-income communities to mitigate, adapt to, and recover from economic turmoil.”
Particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has slowed fintech startup investment worldwide, many early-stage inclusive fintechs – those that target underserved populations and are self-funded, seed-stage, Series A, or Series B – face difficulties accessing capital and knowledge resources that can help position them for growth. This is partially due to the limited reach of investor networks outside of financial and innovation hubs. At the same time, the wider fintech ecosystem, including donors and incubators, needs market-level insight to inform strategic investment decisions.
“Financial services act as a stabilizing force for low- and moderate-income people, enabling them to build resilience and plan for the future,” said Evelyn Stark, Financial Health Lead at MetLife Foundation. “COVID-19 has further underscored the importance of being prepared for financial shocks. The 2019 edition of Inclusive Fintech 50 confirmed that fintech startups are creating new models that can reduce the vulnerability of households and businesses and facilitate inclusive growth.”
In 2019, Inclusive Fintech 50 attracted eligible applications from 400 fintechs based in 72 countries and with a combined customer base of nearly 70 million people. The 50 selected fintechs stood out from their peers through innovative business models, cost-effective distribution channels and partnerships, and products tailored to the unique needs of their underserved populations. In addition, the 50 fintechs demonstrated strong alignment between their business models and social impact goals.
Interested early-stage fintechs can apply between June 15 and July 10, 2020. Applications will be accepted in English, Spanish, and French. The 2020 cohort will be announced in October. Visit www.inclusivefintech50.com for more information and to learn about each of the independent judges:
- Nejoud Al Mulaik, Director, Fintech Saudi
- Bindu Ananth, Chair, Dvara Trust
- Tarek Assaad, Managing Partner, Algebra Ventures
- Sarah Austrin-Willis, Senior Director, Financial Health Network
- Ginger Baker, Senior Director of Product, Ripple
- William Bao Bean, General Partner, SOSV
- Henry Baye, CEO, Jersey CI, Standard Chartered Bank
- Keith Berry, Executive Director, Moody’s Analytics Accelerator
- Melissa Bradley, Co-Founder, Ureeka
- Maelis Carraro, Director, BFA Catalyst Fund
- Nadine Chehade, Sr. Financial Sector Specialist, CGAP
- Tamara Cook, CEO, FSD Kenya
- Marta Cruz, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, NXTP
- Max Cuvellier, Head of Mobile for Development, GSMA
- Jacqueline Dufie Mpare, Head of Agency Banking, Ecobank
- Bernhard Eikenberg, Partner, Emerging Markets, Community Investment Management
- Marie-Therese Fam, Managing Partner, Flat6Labs
- Buhle Goslar, Africa CEO, Jumo
- Heather Henyon, Founding General Partner, Mindshift Capital
- Brad Jones, CEO, Wave Money
- Zennon Kapron, Founder/Director, Kapronasia
- Machal Karim, Executive, CDC Group
- Dave Kim, Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- Helen Lin, Principal, At One Ventures
- Terry Luciani, Vice President, Enterprise Innovation, MetLife
- Jojo Malolos, CEO, Digital Equity Ventures and Data Analytics Ventures
- Robert Mitchnick, Vice President, BlackRock
- Tayo Oviosu, Founder & CEO, Paga
- Mark Pickens, Senior Director, Social Impact, Visa Inc.
- Liliana Pozzo, Advisory Services Manager, IFC
- Maria Puch Herreros de Tejada, Institutional Development Director, New Ventures Mexico
- Amir Rizwan, Senior Advisor, Social Investment & Innovation, Comic Relief
- Rocio Robles, Partner, Tenet Consultores, S.C.
- Shwetank Verma, Co-Founder and General Partner, Leo Capital
- Graham Wright, Managing Director, MicroSave
- Zia Zaman, Innovator
- Gabriela Zapata Alvarez, Independent Consultant (Financial Inclusion)
Inquiry and contact information
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