Seven African startups are among the eight chosen to participate in the inaugural cohort of IDEO’s Last Mile Money Accelerator, a four-month program supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and managed by IDEO.
The Last Mile Money Accelerator aims to boost inclusive fintech businesses by providing grant funding, world-class design expertise from IDEO and IDEO.org, and connections to important strategic ecosystem partners.
With the rapid growth of digital financial services, those without access to the digital economy are more at risk of exclusion. As a result, the program’s focus is on expanding the number and quality of cash-in/cash-out venues where people can convert cash to digital money and vice versa.
“Cash-in cash-out agents play a key role in bringing the digital economy’s promise closer to people who need it the most, but current models often fall short of delivering on that promise, especially in rural areas in emerging nations.” “We’re pleased to assist this cohort of world-class entrepreneurs operating across more than ten countries because there’s a clear need for greater innovation in this field,” said Dave Kim, program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The organizers have chosen eight firms to participate in the Last Mile Money Accelerator after reviewing 250 applications. PesaKit, a last-mile agent network platform that is speeding digital commerce and financial inclusion, and Tanda, which is establishing an ecosystem to enable people to send, receive, and access key financial services digitally, are two Kenyan companies.
Tanzania’s Kuunda, a B2B fintech firm that has built growth APIs and a liquidity platform for micro-merchants and agent networks; Egypt’s Khazna, which offers underbanked Egyptians a free prepaid debit card, earned wage access, buy-now-pay-later, bill payment, and peer transfers all in one app; Sudan’s Alsoug.com, a classifieds platform that is launching a new fintech platform to support financial inclusion;
The cohort is completed by India’s Mool, which provides underserved people with easier access to savings and wealth management tools. Each startup will receive assistance with a specific aspect of its growth strategy as part of the program.