ACCION’s Frontier Investment Group and Elevar Equity Back Payment Solution Designed to Build Financial Inclusion for the Poor
Boston, Mass., September 7, 2010 - ACCION International, through its Frontier Investment Group, and Elevar Equity, a global equity investor, today announced that they have made a $2m investment in GloboKasNet (GKN), a cashless payment solution designed to expand financial inclusion for the poor in developing nations.GKN, headquartered in Chevy Chase, MD, recruits, trains and equips its KasNet Agents—a network of independent merchants that includes general stores, pharmacies, and hardware stores— with a point of sale (POS) device that enables them to perform all the functions of a bank teller or ATM machine using their own cash.
Boston, Mass., September 7, 2010 - ACCION International, through its Frontier Investment Group, and Elevar Equity, a global equity investor, today announced that they have made a $2m investment in GloboKasNet (GKN), a cashless payment solution designed to expand financial inclusion for the poor in developing nations.
GKN, headquartered in Chevy Chase, MD, recruits, trains and equips its KasNet Agents—a network of independent merchants that includes general stores, pharmacies, and hardware stores— with a point of sale (POS) device that enables them to perform all the functions of a bank teller or ATM machine using their own cash.
GKN shares a mutually beneficial relationship with its partner microfinance institutions (MFIs), in which GKN is able to recruit KasNet Agents from among the MFIs’ top clients, while the MFIs are able to reward their best clients with a new source of revenue. GKN is currently providing services to ACCION’s Peruvian partner, Mibanco, as well as to four other commercial financial institutions, including BBVA, through its wholly owned GKN Peru subsidiary.
According to GKN co-founder and CEO Gino Picasso, “What differentiates GKN from past efforts at electronic payments is the personal touch we provide through the KasNet agent. We believe it’s the people combined with the technology that will allow us to realize the vision of expanding electronic payments and eliminate the costly inefficiencies of managing cash transactions.”
ACCION’s Frontier Investment Group is an early stage equity fund that invests in breakthrough technologies and disruptive business models that can powerfully enhance the way financial services are delivered to the poor. Monica Brand, fund manager for Frontier Investments, said, “Innovative payment systems such as GKN’s lie at the heart of our mandate – to bring groundbreaking technologies to the traditional microfinance business model and radically reduce the cost of expanding financial inclusion.”
Elevar Equity is a leading equity investor focused on the underserved four billion in emerging economies such as India, Mexico, Peru and Brazil. To date, the firm has made investments in companies that serve over eight million households at the base of the economic pyramid. According to Elevar Equity co-founder and managing director Maya Chorengel, “GKN’s world-class team has created one of the most elegant payment models at work in the emerging markets. GKN is registering increasing transaction volume from its MFI and banking clients and their end customers in Peru, proving that focus on delivering workable solutions to the poor is met with positive results.“
About ACCION InternationalACCION International is a private, nonprofit organization with the mission of giving people the financial tools they need―microenterprise loans, business training and other financial services―to help work their way out of poverty. A world pioneer in microfinance, ACCION was founded in 1961 and issued its first microloan in 1973 in Brazil. Over time, ACCION has helped build 62 microfinance institutions in 31 countries on four continents. Those institutions are currently reaching 4.9 million clients. In the United States, the U.S. ACCION Network is the largest microfinance network in the country and has served over 24,000 clients with nearly $277 million in loans since the inception of its pilot program in 1991. For more information, visit www.accion.org. For more information about ACCION’s Frontier Investment Group, visit www.accion.org/frontier.
About Elevar EquityElevar Equity is a leading, global growth private-equity investor focused on the underserved four billion in India, Latin America and South East Asia. Elevar seeks to fund growth-oriented entrepreneurs providing financial services and other essential products and services to the base of the economic pyramid in emerging markets. Elevar’s vision is to invest in entrepreneurs who understand that innovation, growth, scalability and profitability combine to create opportunity and prosperity for local communities. Elevar’s team is based in Bangalore, Seattle and the Bay Area. For more information, visit www.elevarequity.com.