Catalyst Fund secures US$15m commitment from UK Aid and JP Morgan

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

With the additional investment, Catalyst Fund will support the development, growth and reach of 30 new fintech solutions to boost financial inclusion for an additional 1 million underserved people in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, India and Mexico, it said in a statement.

The fund said it is focusing on these markets because of their vibrant fintech industries, which house a significant number of early stages startups across Africa, Latin America and Asia, and the need to address critical challenges faced by local underserved consumers.

Concurrently, the Boston-based accelerator also announced its latest cohort of fintech startups, which also includes India’s Farmart, a 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.

“The additional support from UK aid and continued support from J.P. 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.”

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 startup’s access to capital, corporate partnerships and talent.

Carol Lake, Head of International Markets Philanthropy, J.P. Morgan, said, “At J.P. Morgan, as part of our US$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.”

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.

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, the statement said.

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