Village Capital, a global venture capital firm that discovers, develops, and invests in entrepreneurs solving real-world problems, has announced a $100k investment in two African financial inclusion-focused startups.
Piggybank.ng and Olivine Technology were selected by a cohort of seven peer companies to receive $50,000 each after a 3-month investment readiness program, Village Capital FinTech Africa 2017, organized in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation and the DOEN Foundation, with platform support from VC4A (Venture Capital for Africa).
Olivine Technology, founded in January 2010, is a software company that specializes in designing and developing automated data capture tools that integrate with best in class third party solutions such as, Quickbooks, Sage Evolution, SAP Business 1, SPSS, and Mpesa.
Piggybank.ng enables Nigerian debit card holders save little amounts of money frequently with minimal effort.
It automates the process of saving tiny amounts daily, weekly or monthly; and then allowing to withdraw for free on only set withdrawal dates.
The program was launched in January to develop the next generation of financial technology entrepreneurs in sub-Saharan Africa.
Each of the seven startups that participated in the full program (selected from over 200 applicants) is focused on improving financial inclusion and livelihoods for low-income populations.
In a process called “peer-selected investment,” participating entrepreneurs evaluated each other across nine indicators of investment readiness and directed investment capital to the top two, peer-selected companies.
“We have seen growing financial access in Africa over the last several years, but growing access does not necessarily mean growing financial inclusion,” said Village Capital CEO Ross Baird.
“There is a real lack of savings, credit, and investment solutions that work for women, youth, farmers, small businesses, and other underserved communities. After witnessing the progress of the FinTech Africa 2017 cohort companies over the past several months, we’re even more excited about their potential to expand financial inclusion in the communities they serve,” he said.
Fintech Africa 2017 is Village Capital’s seventh program in sub-Saharan Africa since 2012, and its second program focused on financial technology.
The program comprised three workshops, in Accra, Ghana; Nairobi, Kenya; and Lagos, Nigeria.
“Village Capital and its partners are committed to helping build a strong entrepreneurial community and ecosystem on the continent. Since running our first program in Africa, Village Capital has seen significant growth, both in interest levels and sophistication, of businesses applying for our programs,” said Lia Mayka, Village Capital Regional Manager in sub-Saharan Africa.
The participating companies received training on investment readiness through a focus on human capital, customer development, strategic partnerships, and investor engagement. The program anchored around one-on-one time with mentors, industry experts, investors, top local business leaders, and potential customers.
Youssouf Sy, Associate Program Manager, Financial Inclusion at the MasterCard Foundation, said: “We have been proud to work with Village Capital to identify and support the next generation of fintech entrepreneurs in sub-Saharan Africa.”
“These entrepreneurs are innovating to increase financial inclusion and improve livelihoods for low-income populations, which is core to our mission and vitally important for the communities the entrepreneurs are serving,” he said.
Since 2009, Village Capital has supported early-stage entrepreneurs developing critical agriculture, education, energy, financial services and health solutions for underserved populations worldwide.
To date, Village Capital has invested more than $300,000 in 11 companies in Africa, with those companies going on to secure more than $5.5m in follow-on funding, excluding grants and awards.