Gates Foundation Accelerator – DFS Lab – Announces New Investments for African + Asian Fintech Startups, Bringing Total to $1.2m

SEATTLE, April 19, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Digital Financial Services Lab (DFS Lab), a fintech accelerator funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, today announced it would invest $200,000 in four separate startups that are building financial service products for low-income and unbanked consumers in developing markets. Cherehani Africa (Kenya), NALA, (U.S.), Nobuntu, (South Africa), a fourth from Kenya, each received funding.

 “We are excited to have the opportunity to invest in companies that are creating products that will improve, simplify, and enrich people’s lives,” said DFS Lab Director Dr. Jake Kendall. “Our current set of portfolio companies are using technology to create solutions for low-income and unbanked populations, providing high-impact advancement. We look forward to seeing these companies grow and encourage others to look at Africa and Asia for investment opportunities.”

DFS Lab seeks to identify promising entrepreneurs and invest in for-profit companies that focus on consumers in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. In December 2017, finalists representing nine companies from six countries (Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Indonesia, Cameroon, France, and the United States) went through an intensive 1-week bootcamp program to refine their solutions and present them to DFS Lab’s board of experts in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. In addition to financing, the companies selected receive six months of intensive mentorship and integration into a global network of top experts who have agreed to advise them.

DFS Lab is investing in the following companies:

Cherehani Africa is leveraging mobile-based technology to provide credit and distribute personalized financial literacy content to women and adolescent girls who own micro-enterprises.

NALA is building a Venmo-like interface to create a single, unified wallet for Tanzanian smartphone users.

Nobuntu is a community-minded savings product designed to help South Africans prepare for their old age

A fourth startup, still in “stealth mode,” that aims to be the most compliant digital lender in Kenya.