Accion’s Frontier Investments Group Directs Early- and Growth-Stage Equity to Support Mobile Financial Services for the Unbanked
October 3, 2012, Boston, MA– Accion announced today that its Frontier Investments Group has invested US$3 million in Zonamovil Inc. (“Tiaxa”), a Chilean provider of managed services for the wireless telecom market.
For more than 10 years, Tiaxa has provided mobile network operators globally with billing and rating services for prepaid mobile phone users, as well as innovative financial and business intelligence services that increase operator revenues and improve user satisfaction and loyalty. Tiaxa is now leveraging these capabilities – and the high mobile penetration in its target markets – to provide similar solutions for mobile financial services, particularly to the unbanked user base.
The capital infusion will fund research and development and operations that will help Tiaxa evolve its current suite of mobile financial services.
Frontier Investments is an early- and growth-stage equity vehicle that invests in breakthrough innovations that can enhance financial service delivery to the under- and unbanked. As a hands-on equity partner, Frontier Investments will leverage its specialized financial-technology domain expertise and Accion’s five decades of experience in financial inclusion, consulting and investing in emerging markets.
This news comes on the heels of Accion’s inclusion in the prestigious ImpactAssets 50 2012 list of top impact investing fund managers. Representing US$10.2 billion of capital, IA 50 is an open-source, publicly published database of experienced private debt and equity impact investment fund managers, serving as a resource for advisors and investors seeking to respond to the growing demand for investment opportunities that deliver both financial and social or environmental returns.
Miguel Herrera, Senior Investment Officer responsible for Frontier Investments’ activities in Latin America, will be joining Tiaxa’s board.
“We are excited about Tiaxa’s efforts to transform the millions of cell phones in the hands of microentrepreneurs and the underserved majority into a payment platform for basic services and access to credit,” said Monica Brand, head of Frontier Investments Group.
“We are extremely proud to have Accion come on board,” said Felipe Valdes, Hanoi-based CEO of Tiaxa who spearheads business development outside Latin America. “It’s a great fit between our telco and prepaid balance advance services, our expansion into mobile financial services, and Frontier Investments’ global expertise in this area. We are very excited with the value they have added thus far, the potential for future impact and the energy that pervades our new partner.”
“We’re very excited about working with Tiaxa,” said Michael Schlein, Accion President and CEO. “For Accion, a key part of our strategy is to support potentially disruptive technologies that push the frontiers of financial inclusion.”
Accion is a private, nonprofit organization with the mission of building a financially inclusive world by giving people the financial tools they need to improve their lives. A world pioneer in microfinance, Accion was founded as a community development organization in 1961 and issued its first microloan in 1973 in Brazil. Over time, Accion has helped to build 63 microfinance institutions in 31 countries on four continents that are currently reaching millions of clients. In the United States, the U.S. Accion Network is the largest microfinance lending network in the country and has served tens of thousands of clients, with over $300 million in loans. For more information, visitwww.accion.org.
Founded in 2000, Tiaxa provides the mobile telecom market with infrastructure, clearinghouse and revenue enhancement services, improving the efficiency with which the current prepaid user base is managed, and increasing revenues for major operators around the world. In partnership with mobile operators, Tiaxa also provides innovative mobile financial service propositions to people, with the aim of improving their lives through the application of mobile technology. For more information, visitwww.tiaxa.com.
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