Past Accelerator: Inclusive Fintech

The Catalyst Fund Inclusive Fintech Accelerator supported early-stage innovators in emerging markets who are building affordable, appropriate, and accessible inclusive fintech solutions for the world’s 3 billion underserved.

The Catalyst Fund accelerates the tech ecosystem by bringing together leading global and local innovators to form circles of investors, corporate institutions, talent networks, and other enablers, who commit to working with us to advance the wider ecosystem.

About the program

1.7 billion people globally remain excluded from the formal financial system and 3 billion lack the financially tools they need to be financially healthy and resilient. The Catalyst Fund Inclusive Fintech Accelerator provided catalytic capital (grants and recoverable grants), coupled with bespoke, hands-on venture building to inclusive fintech startups building solutions to close this gap. The program supported fintech and embedded fintech startups across three main innovation areas: financial health, essential services, and the future of work.


Partners + supporters

The Catalyst Fund Inclusive Fintech Accelerator, managed by BFA Global and fiscally sponsored by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, was supported by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), JPMorgan Chase & Co., PayPal, and FSD Africa. It was originally launched in 2015 with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and raun until December 2022.

Our Programs are supported by


Investor Advisory Committee (IAC)

Six leading fintech and emerging market investors supported sourcing for our early-stage inclusive fintech accelerator. Each member nominated one high-potential startup for the program in each cohort, and mentored and supported that company. The IAC included BTV, Accion Venture Lab, Anthemis, Gray Ghost Ventures, Quona and Flourish.


Investment Criteria

Investors considered seven criteria when selecting fintech companies. Preference was given to local entrepreneurs from the five focus markets, and women entrepreneurs.

Tech-enabled innovation:

Startup has an innovative product and business model enabled by technology

Inclusion & scale

To potential to scale and meaningfully increase financial inclusion and financial health of excluded populations


Capital would substantially impact team’s ability to test and improve their product


Product is at MVP stage or built, has at least one customer, working to achieve product-market fit


At Target market/operations of the startup is in emerging markets, focusing on Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, India, and Mexico


Preference for teams led by local and/or women founders, with local teams in the country of operation

Learning potential

Potential for insights from the company to meaningfully contribute to a learning agenda to advance the collective knowledge of the industry


Focus countries

We selected startups operating in five key markets: Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Mexico and India. These countries are home to fintech startup hubs within their regions, but their populations also demonstrated significant gaps in financial health at the inception of the program.

Partner with us

We partner with founders building tech solutions for climate adaptation and resilience