Fintech accelerator Catalyst Fund announces new $15M commitment from UK Aid and JP Morgan

The new commitment will help Catalyst Fund invest in the growth of 30 early-stage companies focused on advancing financial inclusion for underserved consumers.

Global fintech accelerator Catalyst Fund, managed by BFA Global and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA), on Monday announced a new £12 million ($15 million) commitment from UK Aid and JP Morgan.

Over the next three years, the inclusive fintech accelerator will support the growth of 30 additional startups across five key emerging markets for fintech innovation, including Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, India, and Mexico.

In addition to its fund raise, Catalyst Fund also announced Farmart, its latest cohort of inclusive fintech startups, which includes an Indian digital credit platform for farmers.

“We’re thrilled to enter the next phase of this journey, building on lessons learned over the last four years, to position ourselves as the best partners for innovators building affordable, accessible, and appropriate solutions designed to improve the financial health of underserved populations in emerging markets,” said Catalyst Fund Director Maelis Carraro.

This new commitment will enable the programme to apply lessons learned from accelerating startups in emerging markets over the past four years and focus on providing critical pre-seed capital and venture building support, along with accelerating innovation ecosystems in each market to improve startups’ access to capital, corporate partnerships and talent, amongst other things.

Maelis Carraro added, “The additional support from UK Aid and continued support from JP Morgan will enable us to deepen our local footprints and ecosystem development role in each of our key markets, as well as welcome new partners that can support our mission.”

Catalyst Fund was created in 2016 with support from JP Morgan and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support entrepreneurs building solutions that improve the financial health of underserved communities.

“Financial inclusion is the cornerstone of resilient communities and households,” said Carol Lake, Head of International Markets Philanthropy, JP Morgan. “At JP Morgan, as part of our $125 million global commitment to financial health, we are supporting the development and growth of innovative fintech solutions that can help underserved people across the world save, reduce their debt and improve their lives.”

Till date, Catalyst Fund has accelerated 25 fintech startups, who have so far raised over 10x the amount of grant capital they received and are serving over 1.2 million customers globally.

Based on learnings so far, in the next phase, Catalyst Fund will focus more on businesses building solutions that go beyond financial access and inclusion, to improve the overall financial health of underserved consumers.

(Edited by Evelyn Ratnakumar)


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