Seven African startups are among the eight selected to participate in the inaugural cohort of the Last Mile Money Accelerator, a four-month program funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and managed by IDEO.
The Last Mile Money Accelerator’s aim is to boost inclusive fintech startups by providing grant capital, world-class design support from IDEO and IDEO.org, and connections to key strategic ecosystem partners.
With the rapid growth of digital financial services, those without access to the digital economy are more at risk of exclusion. As a result, the program’s focus is on expanding the number and quality of cash-in/cash-out locations where people can convert cash to digital money and vice versa.
“Cash-in cash-out agents play a critical role in bringing the promise of the digital economy closer to those who need it the most, yet the current models we see today often fall short of delivering on that promise, especially to those in rural areas in emerging markets. There’s a clear need for more innovation in this space, and that’s why we’re excited to support this cohort of world-class entrepreneurs operating across more than 10 countries,” said Dave Kim, programme officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Following a review of 250 applications, the organizers have selected eight startups to participate in the Last Mile Money Accelerator. They include two from Kenya namely: PesaKit, a last mile agent network platform that is advancing digital commerce and financial inclusion, and Tanda, which creates an environment to enable consumers to send and receive money digitally and access key financial services.
Also selected are Tanzania’s Kuunda, a B2B fintech company that has built growth APIs and a liquidity platform for micro-merchants and agent networks; Egypt’s Khazna, which provides underbanked Egyptians with a free prepaid debit card, earned wage access, buy-now-pay-later, bill payment and peer transfers all in-app; Sudan’s Alsoug.com, a classifieds platform that is launching a new fintech platform to support financial inclusion; Ghana’s Boost, which makes it easy for informal retailers to get and sell more of what their customers want; and Burkina Faso’s DuniaPay, a banking app powered by crypto that allows users to save, spend, invest and transfer money.
The cohort is completed by India’s Mool, which provides underserved people with easier access to savings and wealth management products. Each startup will receive assistance with a specific aspect of their growth strategy as part of the program.