African fintech startups now have access to more investment and funding opportunities as Accion Venture Lab—the seed-stage investment arm of non-profit Accion—has raised $23 million for a new inclusive fintech startup fund.
The additional $23 million fund brings Accion Venture Lab‘s total capital to $42 million.
Investors in fund now include FMO, the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank; the Ford Foundation; the ImpactAssets Giving Fund of Blue Haven Initiative; Heifer Foundation; MetLife Foundation; Open Society Foundations; Pace Able Foundation; Proparco, the French Development Agency (AFD)’s private sector financing arm; Prudential Financial; Stichting Hivos-Triodos Fund, managed by Triodos Investment Management; and Visa Inc.
Named The Accion Venture Lab Limited Partnership, the new fund will make seed-stage investments in inclusive fintech startups, defined as ventures “that leverage technology to increase the reach, quality, and affordability of financial services for the under-served at scale,” according to a company release.
For Accion Venture Lab Managing Director, Tahira Dosani, the fund will consider startups from any geography, as long as they meet specific criteria but does look to allocate roughly 25 to 30 per cent of its funds to Africa.
She said: “We want to continue to focus on Latin-America, on Sub-Saharan Africa, on Southeast Asia as well as in the U.S. It really is about…where we see the need and the opportunity across the markets that we’re in,” she said.
In line with Accion’s mandate to boost financial inclusion globally, Accion Venture Lab already has a portfolio of 36 fintech startup investments across 5 continents—including 9 in the U.S., 8 in Latin America, and 8 in India.
This year Accion Venture Lab supported a $6.5 million Series A investment in Lulalend, a South African startup that uses internal credit metrics to provide short-term loans to SMEs that are often unable to obtain working capital.