Catalyst Fund, managed by BFA Global and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA), has announced a new £12 million GBP ($15 million USD) commitment from UK aid and J.P. Morgan to advance financial inclusion for underserved people across the world.
Catalyst Fund will over the next three years support the growth of 30 additional startups across five key emerging markets for fintech innovation: Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, India, and Mexico.
The Fund is also announcing its latest cohort of inclusive fintech startups, including Pesakit – Kenya-based app for mobile money agents; Kwara – Kenya-based online and mobile banking platform for Savings + Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs); Cowrywise – savings and investment tool targeted toward Nigerian youth; Meerkat – South Africa-based debt counseling and savings product; Farmart – India-based digital credit platform for farmers and Spoon – South Africa-based savings and credit offering for women-owned, subsistence enterprises.
With the additional investment from UK aid and J.P. Morgan, Catalyst Fund will support the development, growth and reach of 30 new fintech solutions to boost financial inclusion for an additional 1 million underserved people in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, India and Mexico.
Catalyst Fund is focusing on these markets because of their vibrant fintech industries which house a significant number of early-stage startups across Africa, Latin America and Asia, and the need to address critical challenges faced by local underserved consumers.
This new commitment will enable the program to apply lessons learned from accelerating startups in emerging markets over the past four years and focus on:
- Providing critical pre-seed capital and bespoke venture building support; broadening the pool of investors who receive 1:1 connections with Catalyst Fund companies; accelerating the innovation ecosystems in each market to improve startups’ access to capital, corporate partnerships and talent; and share best practices toolkits, learnings and insights with the global fintech community to spur innovation across markets.
The new support from UK aid, in addition to the continued support from J.P. Morgan and fiscal sponsor Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, will enable Catalyst Fund to build on learnings and insights from the organizations’ home markets in London and New York.
“Financial inclusion is the cornerstone of resilient communities and households,” said Carol Lake, Head of International Markets Philanthropy, J.P. Morgan. “At J.P. Morgan, as part of our $125 million global commitment to financial health, we are supporting the development and growth of innovative fintech solutions that can help underserved people across the world save, reduce their debt and improve their lives.”
Catalyst Fund was created in 2016 with support from J.P. Morgan and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to support entrepreneurs building solutions that improve the financial health of underserved communities.
To date, Catalyst Fund has accelerated 25 fintech startups, who have so far raised over 10x the amount of grant capital they received and are serving over 1.2 million customers globally.
“Catalyst Fund is itself an innovative example of collaboration across sectors and assets,” said Melissa Berman, President & CEO of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. “We are proud to be a part of an initiative that combines mentoring from impact investors, grant capital from committed donors and advisory services from expert consulting firm BFA Global.”