The Catalyst Fund Inclusive Fintech Accelerator supports early-stage innovators in emerging markets who are building affordable, appropriate and accessible inclusive fintech solutions designed for the world’s 3 billion underserved.
The Catalyst Fund Inclusive Fintech Accelerator is managed by BFA Global and fiscally sponsored by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. The flagship program is supported by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. It was originally launched in 2015 with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Six leading fintech and emerging market investors from around the world form the Inclusive Fintech Investor Advisory Committee. They manage sourcing for our early-stage fintech accelerator. Each member nominates one high-potential startup for the program in each cohort, and mentors and supports that company throughout their journey with Catalyst Fund. They then evaluate de-risked startups from Catalyst Fund for investment. The IAC includes:
Many startups experience a “valley of death” at the early stage, during which they run out of capital before they can reach product-market fit, sufficiently refine their product and generate traction with customers. We fill the funding and support gap during this testing and iteration phase, bringing early-stage startups to the point where they’re investment-ready, with up to £80,000 in flexible grant capital.
Investors consider seven criteria when selecting fintech companies.
Preference is given for local entrepreneurs from the five focus markets and for women entrepreneurs.
Startup has an innovative product and business model enabled by technology
Potential to scale and meaningfully increase financial inclusion and financial health of excluded populations
Grant resources would substantially impact team’s ability to test and improve their product
Product is at MVP stage or built, has at least one customer, working to achieve product market fit
Target market/operations of the startup is in emerging markets, focusing on Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, India, and Mexico
Preference for teams led by local and/or women founders, with local teams in the country of operation
Potential for insights from the company to meaningfully contribute to a learning agenda to advance the collective knowledge of the industry
The Catalyst Fund Inclusive Fintech Accelerator targets sectors based on their potential to benefit underserved communities, as well as the extent to which we can have a catalytic, tipping point effect for startups working in those sectors through our acceleration process.
We are focused on supporting tech innovators across key areas where embedded fintech approaches are crucial to developing better and more impactful solutions, including:
We select startups operating in five key markets: Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Mexico and India. These countries are home to fintech startup hubs within their regions, but their populations also demonstrate significant gaps in financial health.