Kenyan shopkeepers, Chinese farmers and U.S. migrant workers are all vital parts of the global economy. The formal economy, though, has mostly left them behind.
According to the most recent edition of the World Bank’s Global Findex, 1.7 billion adults worldwide lack access to financial services. The Findex also found, however, that two-thirds of the same group had a cell phone. That gap between technology and financial services penetration is what the emerging inclusive fintech sector aims to close. Since 2010, investors have sunk $100 billion into fintech startups.
Still, such investment often doesn’t reach fintech founders in developing markets, Raj Vikas, Accion Venture Lab’s managing director, told Karma. “There is a set of startups using new tools [to] engage with and serve those who have been ignored by the financial system, but institutional investors are not investing in these companies,” he said.