Catalyst Fund announces three African startups to join new cohort


  • WellaHealth: Nigeria-based
    platform offering affordable healthcare coverage to protect families from the
    financial shock that comes from unexpected health emergencies, including
    hospital cash during COVID-19
  • Flex Finance: Nigeria-based
    financial management tool that enables micro- and small businesses to digitize
    operations and establish a digital footprint that can enable them to improve
    operations, operate digitally, and become eligible for credit lines and other
    financial services
  • Mango Life: Mexico-based digital
    insurance platform offering affordable and accessible health and life insurance
    plans for underserved individuals
  • Graviti: Mexico-based
    pay-as-you-go service which offers unbanked families access to sustainable
    household infrastructure appliances via affordable financing, so they can save
    money on essential services, stabilize earnings, and begin to rebuild after the
    COVID-19 crisis
  • PayMeNow: South Africa-based
    financial wellness app that allows low-income workers to access part of their
    earned wages before payday, providing access to much-needed liquidity while
    empowering them to avoid the costs and dangers of debt
  • KarmaLife: India-based financial
    services suite enabling India’s growing population of gig and essential
    services workers to smooth uneven cash flows, stabilize incomes and access
    savings and insurance

“The
COVID-19 crisis has negatively impacted the health and financial stability of
underserved workers and small businesses across the world,” said Colleen
Briggs, Head of Financial Health and Community Development, JPMorgan Chase.
“Helping ensure that people in hard-hit communities have access to fintech
tools that can improve their financial health is a key prerequisite for an
inclusive economic recovery.”

Kim Bromley, Head of
Financial Services, DFID, said: “COVID-19 has highlighted fintech’s vital role
in widening access to financial services to the most vulnerable people.
Catalyst Fund support will help fintech companies improve their resilience to
future crises enabling them to provide critical solutions to low-income
customers through the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.”

Each
startup in this cohort was sourced and approved by Catalyst Fund’s Investor
Advisory Committee (IAC), comprising experienced fintech and emerging markets
investors, including: Anthemis, Quona Capital, 500 Startups, Flourish Ventures,
Accion Venture Lab and Gray Ghost Ventures.

In
addition to supporting portfolio companies, the Catalyst Fund team is focused
on strengthening local innovation ecosystems, including global and local
investors and corporate innovators, through establishing “Circles”, or
communities, of peer-investors and corporate innovators. Members range from
Microtraction and Novastar Ventures, to Savannah Fund and VestedWorld. These
firms share Catalyst Fund’s mission to support the growth of inclusive fintech
startups in emerging markets to expand access to accessible, affordable, and
appropriate products to the underserved.

In
January, Catalyst Fund announced $15 million in
additional funding

from UK aid and JPMorgan Chase & Co., to accelerate 30 new inclusive
fintech startups across Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Mexico, and India who are
building affordable, appropriate and accessible solutions for underserved
customers, by 2022. To date, Catalyst Fund has accelerated 31 portfolio
companies that have gone on to raise more than $64M in follow-on funding and
reach over 2 million low-income customers.








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