The accelerator experts Catalyst Fund has gained $15 million of support funds from JP Morgan and UK Aid and they intend to use the money for 30 fintech startup companies in Africa, Asia, and Latin America over three years. The Boston based company gives mentorship and non-equity funding to startup companies in their early stages and drive them to the goal of financial inclusion in emerging and frontier markets.
In summary, they do provide funds to startup companies that do not have access to basic financial services, like a bank account, credit or lending options.
Catalyst Fund is selecting 10 fintech startups yearly from five countries: Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, India, and Mexico. Selected companies will be given funds in the form of grants and then go through their six-month accelerator mentorship program. If you wish to apply or want more detailed info to apply here.
“We’re offering grants of up to $100,000 to early-stage companies, plus venture building support…and really…putting these companies on a path to product-market fit,” Catalyst Fund Director Maelis Carraro told TechCrunch.
Selected companies will gain exposure to the fund’s investor network and investor advisory committee that include Accion and 500 Startups. With the available funds, the Catalyst Fund will be adding more global partners that support accelerator programs to make the program well educated. The list of such partners is not yet out but Carraro did mention two potential partners which are India’s Yes Bank and the University of Cambridge.
Catalyst fund has a success title of 25 accelerated startups through its program. Such as African payments venture ChipperCash and SokoWatch. They have been a huge success that we’re able to raise seven-figure rounds and grow well into new markets.
The fintech accelerator company was founded in2016 and backed up with funds by JP Morgan and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. But it’s now supported and managed by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and global tech consulting firm BFA.
Africa fintech startups have been the most sorted and efficient in their accelerator companies comprising 56% of the portfolio into 2019.
They are more interested in Africa because they see there are major goldmines in the continent but lack of funds makes it hard for them to progress.
From statistics, Africa is known to have the largest number of the world unbanked population and has a huge number of underbanked consumers and SME’s.
Roughly 66% of Sub-Saharan Africa’s 1 BILLION people don’t have a bank account, according to World Bank data.
These huge numbers are the reasons why a huge amount of Africa VC (Venture Capital) go into fintech startups providing payment solutions to the continent.
There are various notable outside names that which to invest in Africa like Twitter/Square CEO Jack Dorsey who of recent took an interest in the potential of cryptocurrency in Africa and the Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs have also into fintech startups on the continent.
JP Morgan does not have any plans to invest in Africa startup companies at the moment, well not directly and it’s taking a long review about its support of the accelerator, according to Colleen Briggs – JP Morgan’s Head of Community Innovation.
“We find financial health and financial inclusion is a…cornerstone for inclusive growth…For use if you care about a stable economy you have to start with financial inclusion,” said Briggs, who also oversees the Catalyst Fund.
This statement aligns with JP Morgan’s 2019 announcement of a $125 million, philanthropic, five-year commitment to improve financial health in the U.S. and Globally.
In recent news, JP Morgan Chase posted some of their financial accomplishments on Wall Street, with Q4 profits of $ 2.9 billion. So we are all in suspense to know if the company will shift its income-generating powers to businesses and venture funding in Catalyst Fund markets such as Nigeria, India, and Mexico.
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