Female-led startups dominate Catalyst Fund’s inclusive fintech 2021 cohort – TechCrunch

Catalytic fund, Managed by a global accelerator BFA GlobalAnnounced today the 8th cohort for its inclusive fintech program.

The accelerator, supported by JPMorgan Chase and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, runs major events annually. Selected startups receive £ 80,000 (~ $ 100,000) in grant capital, with six months of support and connections with follow-on investors, with a focus on Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Mexico and India.

In 2020, all five countries had representatives in the accelerator. However, the six startups selected this year are from Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. These startups provide embedded finance solutions; Melis Carraro, Catalyst Fund MD, explains the thought process behind this selection in a statement.

“Today, fintech is rapidly evolving to the point where it is no longer a standalone vertical. Embedded finance offerings have the potential to improve the value of products in adjacent areas, while finding new ways to better know and serve low-income individuals through touch-ways that they already know and Trust.

There are startups here in the 8th platoon. First, from Kenya, Coa Enables users to gain control over their finances and invest. Lami There is an insurance platform and API that enables more individuals and businesses to access insurance coverage. Power Gigs and salaried workers provide access to earned wages and other financial services, and contribute to savings through partner banks.

From Nigeria, Indicina Lending facilities for individuals and small businesses through AI-powered digital credit infrastructure. jet stream Allows businesses in Nigeria and Ghana to export goods across borders and provide access to trade financing.

Representing South Africa, Kandua Connects skilled home service professionals with access to customers, professional tools and digital financial services.

The interesting thing about the companies in this cohort is that they are predominantly led or co-founded by women because all startups except Kandua are a female founder.

“It was a conscious decision that a conscious decision was made to make this collaboration more inclusive for women, especially given the difference of funding and support to women founders in emerging markets,” Carraro told TechCrunch. “For example, the founders in our previous cohort were all men. We are consciously trying to support the founders of many women as we can move forward.”

according to a IFC ReportOnly 11% of seed funding capital in emerging markets goes into companies with at least one woman in their founding team. Despite the evidence from investing in gender-diverse teams, the numbers are lower for later funding, leading to greater growth in the business.

These startups will join Catelist Fund’s existing portfolio of 37 companies that have raised more than $ 122 million in follow-on funding since 2016.

Lami CEO Jehan Abas He says his insurance company will use the investment to enhance its platform features, achieve third-party integration and impose data security and ISO certification. For Indicina and CEO Yvonne Johnson, Capital from the Catalyst Fund will enable the company to expand its platform, adding new AI capabilities to improve credit in Africa.

This cohort, which is all African, represents the Catalyst Fund’s continued effort to support fintech startups on the continent. This adds to the development of a region that has consistently received most of the VC’s wealth coming to the continent. Last year, FinTech accounted for 31% of the total funding per share by African startups Briter Bridge data.

The Catalyst Fund has the support to continue this. Last year, it Announced $ 15 million in additional funding From the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and JP Morgan Chase & Co. to accelerate 30 new inclusive fintech startups by 2022.

Since then, the fund has funded 12 startups and will have to add 18 between now and next year to achieve that objective. But funded Chipper Cash, Turaco, Sokowatch, Cowrywise, Which just closed the $ 3M pre-seed roundThe total number of startups in its portfolio, among others, sits at 43.