Catalyst Fund

Catalyst Fund specializes in early-stage venture building targeting low-income customers in emerging markets, and fosters learning for the ecosystem to unlock capital and spur innovation for financial inclusion. Managed by BFA, the program was founded in 2016 with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

 

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Problem

All around the world, entrepreneurs are trying to solve meaningful problems experienced by people on low incomes. But they can’t do it alone - early-stage innovation can’t scale without access to flexible capital, the right tech, product, and customer expertise in emerging markets, and critical connections to investors.


Solution

Managed by BFA and with the support of JPMorgan Chase & Co., Catalyst Fund works closely with inclusive fintech startups to de-risk their early stages. We help startups shorten their time to product-market fit — validating products or services low-income customers want and that can become viable businesses — and raise funding from later-stage investors.

Since 2016, Catalyst Fund has deployed US$2m in grant capital and US$1m in bespoke advisory services to 20 global startup enterprises.

Through their hands-on work advising startups, they’ve developed the AAA framework (pronounced Triple A), and which stands for Accessible, Affordable, and Appropriate.

AffordableThe AAA Framework, is a practical blueprint for building and assessing products and services that low-income customers need and want. Prioritizing features to meet the AAA framework helps address the challenges of customers who live in low-trust, low-tech, low-resource and last-mile environments.Inclusive fintech startups are reaching low-income customers with life-changing financial products in credit, microinsurance, PAYGo energy and education. These firms are masters at understanding low-income customer needs. By leveraging innovative technology, data analytics, and new business models, they are able to deliver AAA products and services.