Maelis Carraro

Maelis Carraro

Managing Principal Consultant & Director, Catalyst Fund

Maelis Carraro is a Managing Principal Consultant at BFA Global and the Director of Catalyst Fund. She has over 10 years of experience working alongside fintech startups, development finance institutions, microfinance banks and impact investors to pioneer tech and data-enabled solutions that benefit underserved communities in emerging markets. She runs Catalyst Fund and its team and is deeply committed to accelerating early-stage inclusive fintech ventures in emerging markets. To date, she has helped 31 startups across Latin America, Africa and Asia create innovative, affordable and relevant financial solutions for underserved populations, designing tailored venture building projects that meet startups’ needs.

At BFA Global, she also ran the OPTIX program, working with four microfinance banks on digital transformation, behavioral interventions and product design to improve the financial health of people on low incomes.

Previously, she worked at the International Finance Corporation (World Bank Group), advising financial institutions globally on digital innovation and responsible financial inclusion, as well as the OECD, the Grameen Bank, and impact investor-Global Partnerships on impact investing strategies to support micro-businesses in Africa. She also co-founded RemitMas, a savings-focused digital remittances startup for Latino immigrants in the US, which sparked her passion for entrepreneurship and fintech.

Maelis is a Fulbright Scholar and holds a dual MBA and Masters in International Affairs from Columbia Business School and the School of International and Public Affairs. She received her BA Cum Laude from University College London in Political Science and Economics. Maelis speaks English, French, Italian, and Spanish.

Publications by this author

How are inclusive fintech startups responding to COVID-19?
Inclusive Fintech |

How are inclusive fintech startups responding to COVID-19?

After ravaging China and developed economies – Spain, Italy, France, the United States – the novel coronavirus has begun...

By Maelis Carraro
From the Valley of Death to a $14 Million Series A: Sokowatch, Quona and the Role of Philanthropic Capital
Inclusive Fintech |

From the Valley of Death to a $14 Million Series A: Sokowatch, Quona and the Role of Philanthropic Capital

Catalyst Fund welcomes new cohort of inclusive fintech startups creating solutions to improve the financial health of underserved communities...

By Maelis Carraro
8 Steps for fintech startups: Planning a strategic response to COVID-19
Inclusive Fintech |

8 Steps for fintech startups: Planning a strategic response to COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds around us, reported cases across most emerging markets are still relatively low. As of...

By Maelis Carraro
Is India the Next Battleground for African Fintech Startups?
Inclusive Fintech |

Is India the Next Battleground for African Fintech Startups?

Catalyst Fund welcomes new cohort of inclusive fintech startups creating solutions to improve the financial health of underserved communities...

By Maelis Carraro
Can fintech bridge the digital divide in India?
Inclusive Fintech |

Can fintech bridge the digital divide in India?

Forecasters predict that Indians will conduct more than US$1 trillion in digital transactions by 2025. Eighty percent of Indians...

By Maelis Carraro
Meet Catalyst Fund’s Venture-Builders
Inclusive Fintech |

Meet Catalyst Fund’s Venture-Builders

Catalyst Fund bets on talent to deliver tailored technical assistance Entrepreneurs apply to the Catalyst Fund for the money,...

By Maelis Carraro
What are Fintech CEOs saying about the future of inclusive fintech?
Inclusive Fintech |

What are Fintech CEOs saying about the future of inclusive fintech?

An insight, an opportunity, and a challenge Last week, an incredible community of entrepreneurs who are building cutting-edge financial...

By Maelis Carraro
Tres pasos (y un mejor amigo) para encontrar la relación fintech-banco perfecta

Tres pasos (y un mejor amigo) para encontrar la relación fintech-banco perfecta

Tres pasos (y un mejor amigo) para encontrar la relación fintech-banco perfecta Para muchas instituciones financieras dar el salto...

By Maelis Carraro
Montando (el) cohete hacia las microfinanzas digitales

Montando (el) cohete hacia las microfinanzas digitales

Una revisión de las experiencias de los clientes con préstamos y depósitos de ahorros sin efectivo en Bangladesh Coautora...

By Maelis Carraro
Riding (the) Rocket to Digitized Microfinance
Digital Financial Services |

Riding (the) Rocket to Digitized Microfinance

A review of customers’ experiences with cashless loan and savings collections in Bangladesh Co-authored with Ashirul Amin SAJIDA adopts...

By Maelis Carraro
Three Steps (and One BFF) for a Perfect Bank-Fintech Match

Three Steps (and One BFF) for a Perfect Bank-Fintech Match

For many financial institutions today, going digital has the potential to unlock new market segments, streamline operations, cut risks...

By Maelis Carraro
Meet the Five Startups Shaping the Future of Inclusive Fintech in Emerging Markets
Inclusive Fintech |

Meet the Five Startups Shaping the Future of Inclusive Fintech in Emerging Markets

Through Innovations in e-Commerce, Blockchain, Mobile Money Integrations, and Agrifintech At Catalyst Fund, we have been working with a...

By Maelis Carraro
Build Trust, Engagement, and Loyalty: Five Ways to Innovate Like a FinTech
Inclusive Fintech |

Build Trust, Engagement, and Loyalty: Five Ways to Innovate Like a FinTech

Trust is a key element of a company’s branding, and when it comes to financial services for low-income demographics,...

By Maelis Carraro
Risky business: how to de-risk your fintech startup before it’s too late
Inclusive Fintech |

Risky business: how to de-risk your fintech startup before it’s too late

Co-written by Elizabeth Davidson If you’re a fintech entrepreneur, it’s probably not news to you that failure is more...

By Maelis Carraro
How social entrepreneurs can strike partnerships with big companies
Inclusive Fintech |

How social entrepreneurs can strike partnerships with big companies

  Image: REUTERS/Krishnendu Halder It can take a lot of effort to get partnerships with big companies off the...

By Maelis Carraro
Why We Invested: Meet the Newest Catalyst Fund Companies
Digital Financial Services |

Why We Invested: Meet the Newest Catalyst Fund Companies

Abalobi from South Africa, created a fisher-driven mobile app suite We’re excited to announce the latest companies to join...

By Maelis Carraro
Getting Early-Stage Fintech Startups Investment-Ready
Inclusive Fintech |

Getting Early-Stage Fintech Startups Investment-Ready

When we met Miguel Duhalt, CEO of Comunidad4Uno in Mexico City, he was working day and night to launch...

By Maelis Carraro
How are Fintech Startups Leveraging Data and Innovative Business Models to Reach Low-income Customers?
Inclusive Fintech |

How are Fintech Startups Leveraging Data and Innovative Business Models to Reach Low-income Customers?

Meet the 5 new Inclusive Fintech Startups in the Catalyst Fund Catalyst Fund is a philanthropic grant fund at...

By Maelis Carraro
How do we help Colombian Families Save for College?
Inclusive Fintech |

How do we help Colombian Families Save for College?

Catalyst Fund Learning Agenda Series #4, ESCALA The Reality of the Low-Income Customer Pedro Tobon has been worrying about...

By Maelis Carraro
How Can Insurance Help Smallholder Farmers?
Climate Action |

How Can Insurance Help Smallholder Farmers?

Catalyst Fund Learning Agenda Series #3, WorldCover The Reality of the Low-Income Customer Robert is a father of four...

By Maelis Carraro
How Can Digital Financial Products Be 10 times Better to Deepen Financial Inclusion?
Digital Financial Services |

How Can Digital Financial Products Be 10 times Better to Deepen Financial Inclusion?

Meet the Newest Inclusive Fintech Startups in the Catalyst Fund Catalyst Fund offers up to $100K in fast and...

By Maelis Carraro