The Catalyst Fund, a JP Morgan Chase and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-backed accelerator that provides mentorship and non-equity funding to emerging markets startups has selected three Africa-focused fintech startups for its 2019 startup cohort.
The new additions to the fund’s program will gain $50,000 to $60,000 in non-equity venture building support and six months of technical assistance. The funds and support are aimed at moving the ventures to the next phase of catalyzing business models, generating revenue and connecting to global VCs.
Catalyst Fund’s 2019 startup cohort will also gain exposure to the fund’s Circle of Investors — a network of impact and commercial backers who can make decisions on investing in and accelerating particular companies.
The tenor for support for Catalyst Fund’s newest cohort of startups lasts through 2019. The ventures will also attend the big SOCAP 2019 tech conference in San Francisco, where Catalyst organizes workshops and meetings with its Circle of Investors.
Commenting, Maelis Carraro, the Deputy Director of BFA, the global tech consulting firm managing the Catalyst Fund said: “We really tailor the kind of help we give to companies so they can reach market fit and proof points that investors want to see to enable the next phase of growth.”
Founded in 2016, the Catalyst Fund’s mandate includes supporting fintech startups that are developing solutions for low-income individuals in emerging markets. The organization has accelerated 20 ventures in Africa, Asia and Latin America that have raised $25.7 million in follow-on capital, according to its latest report.
With the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and JP Morgan Chase as the lead backers, Catalyst Fund partners also include Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and Accion.
JP Morgan Chase’s interest in supporting Catalyst Fund connects to a firm-wide commitment of the global bank to financial inclusion, according to JP Morgan’s Head of Community Innovation Colleen Briggs — who is also a day-to-day Catalyst Fund manager.
That Catalyst Fund’s cohorts have shifted toward Africa focused ventures speak to the thesis for fintech on the continent.
Ventures looking to be part of the Catalyst Fund-supported startup can seek a referral from Catalyst’s Circle of Investors — who make recommendations on new candidates. Catalyst Fund aims to choose 30 startups for its cohort over the next three years, according to program director David del Ser.