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Accion Venture Labs, the seed-investment arm of Accion International, has announced additional funding which will allow the firm to extend its support to startups focused on financial inclusion.
Accion has just announced new funding for inclusive fintech startups to the tune of $23 million. The funding was raised through Accion Venture Labs, the company’s seed-stage investment division. Specifically, Accion Venture Labs will be increasing its entire capital base by $33 million, with an extra $10 million coming as a direct investment from Accion.
According to the announcement, the funding will start a collaboration between “a group of third-party impact and commercial investors” which have a similar drive and belief in Accion and hope to back as many fintech startups as possible. The Accion Venture Lab Limited Partnership will be directly focused on fintech startups which have a goal to take advantage of growing technology, to improve the “reach, quality, and affordability of financial services for the underserved at scale.”
The additional funding came in from several contributors including Proparco, Visa Inc., the Impact Assets Giving Fund of Blue Haven Initiative, the MetLife Foundation, the Heifer Foundation, and the Ford Foundation among others. The total amount of funds that represent Accion Venture Lab’s entire capital base, with this new funding, has climbed up to $42 million.
Vikas Raj, the Managing Director of Accion Venture Labs, has suggested that the funding will allow the firm to make bigger plans for its investment efforts. Raj said:
“This new pool of capital enables us to scale our efforts and remain at the forefront of seed stage investing in inclusive fintech.”
Further details suggest that Accion Venture Labs will now begin to consider investments in any startups anywhere in the world, as long as they meet the firm’s specific terms and conditions. Even though there are no serious specific geographical interests, chances are that the firm will be looking at channeling a considerable percentage of the received funds into several African endeavors
. Another Managing Director, Tahira Dosani has added some other geographical regions to this focus as well. According to Tahira Dosani:
“We want to continue to focus on Latin-America, on Sub-Saharan Africa, on Southeast Asia as well as in the U.S. It really is about…where we see the need and the opportunity across the markets that we’re in.”
Ultimately, Accion Venture Lab’s goal is to expand its reach to a lot more markets than it currently operates in. Raj has further said that being focused on a wider reach is key to growth and that there is also an opportunity for income especially as the firm has been able to pull in investments from several parties.
“There is strong potential for inclusive fintech startups to reach historically undeserved communities while generating returns, and the oversubscription of the Accion Venture Lab fund is great validation of our early work investing in more than 40 innovative business operating in 30 markets.”
Launched in 2012 with a $10 million capital base, Accion Venture Labs is also seeking to collaborate with other interested institutions as well philanthropic organizations, to provide specific and significantly advantageous support in a bid to fulfill its goal of providing sustenance to “reach the underserved.”