Catalyst Fund first launched in 2016, with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and JP Morgan Chase & Co, and fiscal sponsorship from Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. It was created to support entrepreneurs who are building affordable, accessible and appropriate solutions that improve the financial health of underserved communities in emerging markets.
Between 2016 and 2019, Catalyst Fund accelerated 25 inclusive fintech startups across 14 emerging markets. These companies went on to raise over 10x the amount invested in them, and reach more than 2 million (and counting) low-income customers globally.
In January 2020, Catalyst Fund announced the expansion of the program, with support from The UK Department for International Development (DFID) and JPMorgan Chase & Co., to accelerate 30 additional startups operating in five key markets: India, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, and South Africa, by 2022.
However, we know that accelerating startups alone is not sufficient. The environment in which they operate also has to be conducive to their growth, which means capital, talent, partnerships and regulatory barriers have to be addressed. Today, Catalyst Fund is also focused on accelerating the innovation ecosystems in each of these focus markets in order to enable even more fintech startups to grow and reach underserved populations.