The Inclusive Fintech 50 was run by MetLife Foundation with partners Accion and IFC and was designed to help early-stage fintech companies attract capital and resources to benefit the world’s 3 billion financially underserved people.
The 50 winners, chosen from nearly 400 eligible applicants, demonstrate the power of technology to expand access, usage and quality of financial services.
Some of the winners include JULO, a credit company; CELe Coin, a payments and remittance company; Resolve, a savings and personal financial management firm; and BASIX Sub-K, an infrastructure firm.
Of the 50 companies, roughly 30 per cent provide credit products to underserved segments and 25 per cent offer infrastructure solutions like biometrics software.
The remaining offer insurance, payments and remittance services as well as savings and personal financial management tools.
The director of financial health and inclusion at MetLife Foundation, Sarah Willis Ertur, said the competition demonstrated that there were lesser-known fintechs who were striving to help the world.
“We want to support start-ups that are addressing the holistic needs of these target segments, with the ultimate goal of improving their financial health.”
Nearly 70 per cent of the winners are pre-series A yet already had a combined 8 million customers.
A third of the companies operated exclusively in Sub-Saharan Africa, while 20 per cent operated exclusively in South Asia, with 8 per cent each in North America and East Asia and the Pacific.
The rest are scattered throughout Latin America and the Caribbean and MENA, with a forthcoming white paper to provide insights into the applicants, winners and lessons learnt.
Visa Inc.’s head of social impact, Marianne Mwaniki, said investment capital often overlooked these fintechs, but the competition showed there was high potential in the segment.
“This group of winners makes clear that there are high-potential start-ups with viable products and business models — and they’re ready for investment,” Ms Mwaniki said.