In 2019, Accion connected people and businesses with the financial tools they need to manage their daily lives in difficult times and prepare for the future. In an era of economic disruption and uncertainty, these tools are critical to helping the underserved build resilience against emergencies and financial shocks.
- Advise: We provided strategic guidance and technical assistance for financial service providers and fintechs reaching underserved and vulnerable populations. We offered specialized oversight through board governance.
- Invest: Accion’s support helped companies test new models and create new ways to meet the financial needs of the underserved, even as reaching these populations became more difficult—and more urgent.
- Influence: Our research and insights pushed the industry to better serve, protect, and empower clients facing a surge of unprecedented challenges.
By combining these elements, Accion supported underserved families and businesses facing unprecedented challenges—as well as the financial service providers striving to help them. Accion’s Global Advisory Solutions team helped its partners quickly leverage new technologies to overcome challenges, ensure quality services, and lower the cost of providing financial services at scale, helping more people benefit from the security offered by the formal financial sector. Seven partners around the world have now joined our ongoing project with the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, which seeks to drive the digital transformation of millions of microbusinesses and the financial institutions that serve them.
Accion Global Investments supported inclusive, well-managed, and scalable organizations around the world amid widespread uncertainty and shifting business conditions. This team helped inclusive financial service providers around the world, like Dvara KGFS in India, strive to reach and cater to underserved populations. With 276 branches and more than 1 million enrolled customers, Dvara has brought financial services to rural clients across Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, and Uttarakhand. Dvara also secured a new round of funding in 2019 that will enable it to pursue expansion into new places, strengthen its presence in existing places, and enhance its digital architecture to provide more customer-centric services in rural India.
Accion Venture Lab continued investing in and supporting innovative fintech startups that improve access, quality, and affordability of financial services for the underserved. Venture Lab added $33 million to its initial capital pool with the launch of a new $23M fund and an additional, separate $10M investment from Accion. The new fund brings together a group of third-party impact and commercial investors that share Venture Lab’s commitment to innovative fintech startups that leverage technology to increase the reach, quality, and affordability of financial services for the underserved at scale.
Accion continues to leverage a strategic partnership with Quona Capital, a venture capital firm that invests in growth-stage fintech companies in emerging markets, to develop the financial inclusion ecosystem around the world. For example, with support from Venture Lab and Quona, Konfio has become a leading small business lender in Mexico by using alternative data to better understand applicant behavior. Konfio started by offering unsecured loans to small businesses and now a offers a credit card, financial education, and insurance products to underserved clients.
Each Accion team continued pursuing opportunities with the greatest potential to create a financially inclusive world: