About Catalyst Fund

Supporting inclusive tech innovators in emerging markets


Our story

Catalyst Fund was born as a global accelerator for inclusive fintech startups in 2015, managed by BFA Global, with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and JPMorgan Chase & Co., and fiscal sponsorship from Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. It was created to support early-stage startups building affordable, accessible and appropriate digital financial solutions that improve the financial health of underserved communities in emerging markets. 

The Catalyst Fund startup accelerator program worked to fill important gaps in the innovation ecosystems across emerging markets, including: lack of patient capital to test and iterate products in-market, lack of skill sets to rapidly build viable solutions for underserved customers and lack of personal connections with global and local investors and corporate partners. The program tackled these challenges by offering a combination of catalytic grant capital, bespoke venture-building support from market and sector experts and access to a global network of investors and corporate innovators, while sharing insights, learnings and toolkits with the broader inclusive tech ecosystem.

The Catalyst Fund operates under a proven model. Our portfolio companies have gone on to secure follow-on funding, amounting to over US$573 million in total, and currently serve more than 13.2 million individuals and MSMEs globally. Building on lessons learned and core strengths, we are creating a family of accelerator programs with support from multiple partners where fintech can be a force for good. This will enable us to further our mission of improving the wellbeing of the world’s underserved individuals and small businesses.

Today, the Catalyst Fund is a $25MM pre-seed fund and accelerator backing high-impact tech startups that seek to improve the resilience of underserved, climate-vulnerable communities. We partner with mission-driven founders that share our vision of a world where every individual has the tools and opportunities they need to thrive.


Inclusive fintech startups video series: Produced by Innovate Finance and BBC Storyworks

Hear how fintech innovation is transforming financial health in Africa, from the customers served by Catalyst Fund portfolio companies Sokowatch, Turaco, Abalobi and Spoon Money.