Accion has announced that its seed-stage investment arm Accion Venture Lab is adding $33M to its initial capital pool, with the launch of a new $23M fund and an additional, separate $10M investment from Accion.
The new fund is targeted at fintech startups that aim to increase the reach, quality, and affordability of financial services for the underserved. In Africa, Accion has invested in Nigeria’s Lidya, an SME e-invoicing and invoice solution.
In Kenya it has invested in Apollo Agriculture- a tech-enabled smallholder agriculture financing, Kopo Kopo- a merchants mobile money acceptance and cash advance service and Pula-an agricultural insurance product to smallholder farmers in Africa and India.
In South Africa, Accion has invested in Lulalend, an online lender for MSMEs and Lumkani-an insurtech company that provides insurance to highly vulnerable, low-income families.
According to Michael Schlein, President and CEO of Accion. “Fintech startups are finding new ways to provide products and services that help these underserved people. Yet often startups lack the capital and strategic support they need to grow and scale their impact. Accion Venture Lab addresses this need.”
Launched in 2012 with $10 million in capital, Accion Venture Lab has emerged as a leader in fintech impact investing at the seed stage. For every dollar Accion Venture Lab has invested, its portfolio companies have raised an additional $13 in equity capital from later-stage investors.
Accion Venture Lab will provide both capital and extensive strategic and operational support across a broad range of functional areas to help the fintech startups reach three billion people who still have no access to financial products.
Accion Venture Lab Managing Director Tahira Dosani. “Capital must be paired with strategic and operational support that is informed by a deep knowledge of the sector, target customer, and a deliberate focus on how new technologies can help the underserved build better lives. We can accelerate the growth trajectories of companies through our capital plus approach to investing.”
Startups that provide ways to save money, get a loan to build a business, pay a bill, or protect their health and property with insurance are the most targeted.
The Venture Lab portfolio focuses on insurtech, agricultural finance, digital lending, holistic MSME finance solutions, and personal financial management among others.
“There is strong potential for inclusive fintech startups to reach historically underserved communities while generating returns, and the oversubscription of the Accion Venture Lab fund is great validation of our early work investing in more than 40 innovative businesses operating in 30 markets,” said Venture Lab Managing Director Vikas Raj. “This new pool of capital enables us to scale our efforts and remain at the forefront of seed stage investing in inclusive fintech.”