Catalyst Fund announces nineth cohort of inclusive fintech startups
Global inclusive tech accelerator Catalyst Fund, managed by BFA Global, has announced its ninth cohort of fintech companies that are building solutions designed to improve the resilience of underserved customers and communities.
To date, Catalyst Fund has raised more than $247 million in follow-on funding and reached over 6.5 million low-income customers.
A Kenyan startup, Kazi, which connects skilled and casual informal workers with jobs on demand and provides them with access to business advisory and financial services such as digital payments and tools leasing, is among the six companies included in the latest cohort drawn from Nigeria, South Africa, India and Mexico.
These companies will join Catalyst Fund’s existing portfolio of 45 companies and receive catalytic capital, bespoke and expert-led venture building support from BFA Global, and direct connections with investors and corporate innovators that can help them scale.
In addition, the Catalyst Fund Inclusive Fintech program welcomes PayPal as a new supporter as it explores the role digital finance can play in enabling climate resilience with select companies over the next two cohorts. PayPal joins existing supporters UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Maelis Carraro, MD, Catalyst Fund: Climate change is already severely impacting low-income populations in emerging markets, who lack financial safety nets to cope with these additional shocks. Digital finance can be a game changer in enabling climate resilience solutions to better reach vulnerable populations, as we’ve already seen the ways in which it can enhance the breadth, depth, and affordability of solutions across industries.
Underserved communities in emerging markets are the most vulnerable and exposed to the impact of climate change, though they contribute the least to harmful emissions. These populations tend to rely on the physical environment for their livelihoods and domestic food consumption, are more likely to live in climate disaster-prone areas, and have more of their wealth in physical assets prone to destruction during climate-related disasters.
These populations are also most likely to be excluded from formal financial services and lack social or financial safeguards. Worsening climate change impacts can therefore push households and small businesses further back into poverty and exacerbate their vulnerability.
Franz Paasche, Chief corporate affairs officer, PayPal: At PayPal, we believe that financial technology can help underserved individuals and communities build resilience to climate-related disasters and capture economic opportunities in the global climate transition.
Kim Bromley, Head of financial service, UK FCDO: Investing in digital solutions for climate resilience is essential to building a greener, more inclusive future for African economies.
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