SoLo Funds Featued in Inclusive Fintech 50’s 2020 Cohort of Fintech Startups Driving Financial Inclusion and Resilience
The selected fintechs provide innovative solutions – such as working capital for micro-merchants and personal accident insurance for domestic workers – to populations particularly hard-hit by the pandemic.
Inclusive Fintech 50 announced the 2020 cohort of startups driving inclusion and resilience for the 3 billion financially underserved people globally. An independent panel of 35 experts from venture capital, technology, and financial services firms identified the most promising startups providing credit, insurance, savings, and other critical products to low-income households and businesses that are particularly vulnerable to financial shocks like the COVID-19 economic crisis.
The 50 fintechs were selected from a pool of 403 eligible applicants operating in 111 countries based on four criteria: inclusiveness, innovation, scale potential, and traction. The cohort will benefit from connections to leading investors including the IF50 Investors Circle, as well as their peers from the 2019 cohort. Inclusive Fintech 50 was founded by MetLife Foundation and Visa, with support from Accion and IFC, and additional funding from BlackRock and Jersey Overseas Aid & Comic Relief.
Together, these high-potential startups demonstrate the power of financial technology to improve the accessibility, affordability, and convenience of financial services in advanced and emerging markets.
“Innovation in financial services can provide much needed stability to vulnerable populations by leveraging technology to fill gaps and meet their unique needs,” said Mark Pickens, Senior Director, Social Impact at Visa, Inc. “Visa is proud to support fintech innovators helping low-income communities weather the current storm and, importantly, build resilience for the future.”
Brad Jones, CEO of Wave Money and one of the expert judges said, “The final 50 were selected based on strong product-market fit, the experience of their leadership teams, and their potential to scale and reach underserved populations.” The judges also selected two fintechs to receive “Financial Resiliency” prizes of USD 25,000 based on their contribution to strengthening the ability of low-income households and businesses to withstand and recover from the pandemic. Those two companies are:
reach52, which provides micro-insurance to families in Southeast Asia who live more than an hour away from healthcare facilities and have limited incomes.
PesaKit, which helps mobile money agents in Kenya and Tanzania manage shifts in liquidity so they can better serve their customers who have limited access to basic financial services.
“The health and economic challenges created by COVID-19 placed households and businesses on shaky financial footing — especially those who were economically vulnerable before the pandemic,” said Evelyn Stark, who leads Financial Health at MetLife Foundation. “Amid the uncertainty, these fintechs demonstrate how new models can improve financial resilience.”
Launched in 2019, Inclusive Fintech 50 identifies and elevates high-potential, early-stage, and innovative fintech startups driving financial inclusion and resilience. The initiative is implemented by MIX, the global data resource for investors focused on inclusive finance.
The winners are listed below by main operating region.
Headquarters: United States
Operating Countries: United States
SoLo Funds is a peer‑to‑peer mobile marketplace where borrowers can obtain small dollar loans that meet their needs. Seventy‑eight percent of American workers live paycheck to paycheck, often forced into borrowing money from family or friends, or taking loans from payday lenders that average 400 percent APR. SoLo Funds provides access to affordable loans by connecting borrowers to lenders through its marketplace. Lenders earn “appreciation tips” while borrowers set their own payback terms and enjoy same‑day receipt of their funds.