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Sh1.5 billion fund to back Kenyan fintech start-ups

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Catalyst Fund Director Maelis Carraro during a tour of a Nairobi-based tech hub in October last year. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA

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Summary

  • The Catalyst Fund says it will bankroll “promising” fintech start-ups in Kenya and four other countries including Nigeria, South Africa, India and Mexico over the next three years.
  • The Boston-based accelerator provides mentorship and non-equity funding to early-stage tech ventures focused on driving financial inclusion in emerging and frontier markets.

A Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation backed fund has announced $15 million (about Sh1.5 billion) to help Kenyan start-ups working to disrupt the financial sector through technology.

The Catalyst Fund also backed by J.P. Morgan and UK Aid says it will bankroll “promising” fintech start-ups in Kenya and four other countries including Nigeria, South Africa, India and Mexico over the next three years.

The Boston-based accelerator provides mentorship and non-equity funding to early-stage tech ventures focused on driving financial inclusion in emerging and frontier markets.

That means connecting people who may not have access to basic financial services — like a bank account, credit or lending options — to those products.

Catalyst Fund will choose an annual cohort of 10 fintech start-ups in five designated countries: Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, India and Mexico. Those selected will gain grant-funds and go through a six-month accelerator programme.

The details of that and how to apply are provided.

“We’re thrilled to enter the next phase of this journey, building on lessons learnt 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 in a statement.