Nigeria’s WellaHealth and Flex Finance, and South African PayMeNow are among six startups selected to join Catalyst Fund’s inclusive Fintech accelerator managed by BFA Global.
Each startup will receive £80,000 (US$100,000) in grant capital, bespoke and expert-led venture building support for six months and 1:1 connections with investors and corporate innovators that can help them scale.
This is part of Catalyst US$15 million additional Fund announced 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.
WellaHealth is a 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. The company has previously raised US$120,000 in pre-seed funding.
Flex Finance provides a 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 while South African PayMeNow has a 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.
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 the 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.
To date, the Catalyst Fund has accelerated 31 portfolio companies that have gone on to raise more than US$64M in follow-on funding and reach over 2 million low-income customers.