International Finance

JP Morgan, UK Aid invest $15 million in Catalyst Fund

Catalyst Fund JP Morgan

Catalyst Fund has received $15 million in investment from JP Morgan and UK Aid, TechCrunch reported. Catalyst Fund is an inclusive fintech accelerator managed by BFA Global and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. 

Established in 2016, the Boston-based accelerator was backed by JP Morgan and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Catalyst Fund will back 30 fintech startups in  Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, India and Mexico over the next three years. These markets are in its prime focus because they house a significant number of early-stage startups. 

Catalyst Fund also provides mentorship and non-equity funding to early-stage tech ventures in emerging and developed markets. 

Catalyst Fund Director Maelis Carraro in a statement said, “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. 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.” 

Catalyst Fund has accelerated 25 startups to date. Interestingly, African startups account for 56 percent of the accelerator’s portfolio in 2019. Its African payments startups including ChipperCash and SokoWatch have raised seven-figure rounds and ventured into new markets. 

Africa has dominated the accelerator’s portfolio because of the continent’s rising startups and need for financial inclusion. By numbers, Africa is home to the world’s largest unbanked population. The World Bank data showed that 66 percent of Sub-Saharan Africa’s 1 billion people remain unbanked. 

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