Accion Venture Lab Invests in eMoneyPool
Digital Savings Circle Start-up Promises Expanded Access To Financial Services for the Poor
Boston, MA/Washington, D.C., March 4, 2014 – Accion, a pioneer and leader in microfinance and financial inclusion, today announced an investment in digital savings company eMoneyPool (EMP) through its Venture Lab, a $10 million initiative dedicated to providing seed capital and management support to financial inclusion start-ups.
Savings circles – groups of people who save together and take turns accessing the collective savings, also known by names like “chamas,” “tandas,” “ROSCAs,” and more– have for centuries enabled millions of customers lacking access to formal banking to save together and take small loans from those shared savings. Building off of the success of traditional circles, EMP is formalizing and digitizing savings pools in order to make them more accessible and convenient to use for a greater number of people.
Launched in 2012 and headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, EMP enables users to invite friends from their social networks to join and can gradually access larger pools of money outside of their social network through a marketplace of public pools. EMP is also partnering with credit unions and other formal financial service providers to help customers access a broader set of financial services from a range of providers.
“Digitized savings start-ups have significant potential to impact the social and financial inclusion of both existing users of savings circles and potential new, currently under-banked, users worldwide,” said Paul Breloff, managing director of Accion Venture Lab. “By automating the savings circle process, EMP addresses some of the key difficulties associated with traditional savings circles – limited geographical reach and time commitment – and offers further innovations to improve customer experience and provide an “on-ramp” to other quality financial services.”
“We believe eMoneyPool can make a real impact connecting the underbanked to formalized lending institutions through the long established cultural custom of money pools,” said Francisco Cervera, Co-Founder and CEO of EMP. “We’re very excited to have Accion as a partner as we further develop our work. Accion’s longstanding history of work in microfinance is exemplary and we’re honored to be associated with them.”
Venture Lab’s impact investments complement Accion's Frontier Investments Group, which invests in more established but similarly disruptive early-stage companies with demonstrated revenue traction. Both investment vehicles are part of Accion’s ongoing efforts to explore innovative business models that will radically improve the efficiency and enhance the quality of financial-services delivery to the under-banked.
Accion is a global nonprofit dedicated to creating a financially inclusive world where people have the financial tools they need to improve their lives. We are building the next generation of top-tier microfinance institutions, accelerating start-up companies that serve the poor through our impact-investing initiatives, and helping to create a strong industry with high standards. Over more than 50 years, Accion has helped create 63 microfinance institutions in 32 countries on four continents that today reach millions of clients. The Accion U.S. Network is the largest microfinance network in the United States and has served hundreds of thousands of clients with loans and support. For further information, visit www.accion.org.
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Andrea Snyder, PR ManagerAccionTel.+1 617-625-7080 x1010