Piggybank.ng and Olivine Technology, were selected by a cohort of seven peer companies to receive US$50,000 each in investment from Village Capital after a three-month investment readiness program, Village Capital FinTech Africa 2017, organized in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation and The DOEN Foundation, with platform support from VC4A (Venture Capital for Africa).
The program was launched in January to develop the next generation of financial technology entrepreneurs in sub-Saharan Africa.In a unique process called “peer-selected investment”, participating entrepreneurs evaluated each other across nine indicators of investment readiness and directed investment capital to the top two, peer-selected companies.
“We have seen growing financial access in Africa over the last several years, but growing access does not necessarily mean growing financial inclusion,” said Village Capital CEO Ross Baird. “There is a real lack of savings, credit, and investment solutions that work for women, youth, farmers, small businesses, and other underserved communities. After witnessing the progress of the FinTech Africa 2017 cohort companies over the past several months, we’re even more excited about their potential to expand financial inclusion in the communities they serve.”
Fintech Africa 2017 is Village Capital’s seventh program in sub-Saharan Africa since 2012 and its second focused on financial technology. The program comprised three workshops, in Accra, Ghana; Nairobi, Kenya; and Lagos, Nigeria.
The participating companies received training on investment readiness through a focus on human capital, customer development, strategic partnerships, and investor engagement. The program anchored around one-on-one time with mentors, industry experts, investors, top local business leaders, and potential customers.
The list of startup firms that participated in the full program:
- IroFit has developed a mobile card reader that allows small businesses to accept card payments anywhere they operate, even in areas with poor internet connections;
- LipaMobile has developed mPocket, a cashless transaction system used in schools by students to purchase goods using smart cards;
- MaTontine digitizes the traditional peer-to-peer savings system in Africa, in order to offer financial services like small loans;
- Olivinetech has created ASiM, a sales (POS) and stock management solution, that networks multiple sites seamlessly, such as an HQ with its warehouses, outlets, field sales/service agents, and customers;
- ng is a FinTech service that works directly with financial institutions to enable debit card holders in Nigeria to save small sums of money frequently through automation of the saving process;
- Student Finance Africa is using predictive analytics and credit assessment tools to assist young people and their families to obtain financial support for education when they need it and to pay it back when they can; and
- TalentBase is a mobile-first payroll software for SMEs across Africa.
Since 2009, Village Capital has has invested more than US$300,000 in 11 companies in Africa, with those companies going on to secure more than US$5.5M in follow-on funding, excluding grants and awards.