Female-led startups dominate Catalyst Fund’s inclusive fintech 2021 cohort

Female-led startups dominate Catalyst Fund’s inclusive fintech 2021 cohort

Catalyst Fund, a world accelerator managed by BFA Global, introduced the eighth cohort for its Inclusive Fintech Program right this moment.

The accelerator, backed by the JP Morgan Chase and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, runs the flagship program yearly. With a deal with Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Mexico and India, chosen startups obtain £80,000 (~$100,000) in grant capital, six months of help and connections with follow-on buyers.

In 2020, all 5 international locations had representatives within the accelerator. However, the chosen six startups this yr are from Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa. These startups supply embedded finance options; Maelis Carraro, Catalyst Fund MD, explains the thought course of behind this choice in an announcement.

“Today, fintech is quickly evolving to the purpose the place it’s now not a standalone vertical. Embedded finance choices have the potential to enhance the worth of merchandise in adjoining sectors considerably whereas discovering new methods to raised attain and serve low-income people by way of touchpoints they already know and belief,” she stated.

Here are the startups within the eighth cohort. First off, from Kenya, Koa permits customers to save lots of and make investments, gaining management over their funds. Lami is an insurance coverage platform and API that permits extra people and companies to entry insurance coverage protection. Power permits gig and salaried staff entry to earned wages and different monetary companies, and contribute to financial savings by way of accomplice banks. 

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From Nigeria, Indicina facilitates lending for people and small companies by way of AI-powered digital credit score infrastructure. Jetstream permits companies to export items throughout borders and entry commerce financing in Nigeria and Ghana.

Representing South Africa, Kandua connects expert residence service professionals with entry to clients, skilled instruments and digital monetary companies.

What is attention-grabbing in regards to the corporations on this cohort is that they’re predominantly led or co-founded by ladies as all startups besides Kandua have a feminine founder.

“It was a aware resolution to make this cohort extra inclusive for girls given the hole in funding and help to ladies founders, notably in rising markets,” Carraro stated to TechCrunch. “For instance, founders in our earlier cohort have been all male. We are consciously making an effort to help as many ladies founders as we are able to going ahead.”

According to an IFC report, solely 11% of seed funding capital in rising markets goes to corporations with a minimum of a girl on their founding crew. The numbers are decrease for later-stage funding regardless of proof that investing in gender-diverse groups results in extra substantial enterprise outcomes.

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These startups will be part of the Catalyst Fund’s present portfolio of 37 corporations, which have raised over $122 million in follow-on funding since 2016.

Lami CEO Jihan Abass says her insurance coverage firm will use the funding to boost its platform options, get extra third-party integrations, and put knowledge safety and ISO certifications in place. For Indicina and CEO Yvonne Johnson, the capital from Catalyst Fund will allow the corporate to increase its platform, which can embody new AI capabilities to enhance credit score in Africa.

African fintech dominates Catalyst Fund’s 2019 startup cohort

This cohort, which is all-African, represents Catalyst Fund’s continued effort to help fintech startups on the continent. It provides to the expansion of a sector that has constantly obtained a lot of the VC cash coming into the continent. Last yr, fintechs accounted for 31% of the entire funding raised by African startups per Briter Bridges knowledge.

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Catalyst Fund has the backing to maintain this going. Last yr, it introduced $15 million in extra funding from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and JPMorgan Chase & Co., to speed up 30 new inclusive fintech startups by 2022. 

Since then, the fund has financed 12 startups and might want to add 18 between now and subsequent yr to attain that goal. But having funded Chipper Cash, Turaco, Sokowatch, Cowrywise, which simply closed a $3M pre-seed spherical, amongst others, the entire variety of startups in its portfolio sits at 43.


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