Quona Capital, Accion close $141m fintech fund for emerging markets

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US-based non-profit organisation Accion International and venture capital firm Quona Capital Management Ltd have raised a $141-million fintech fund to invest in companies that work on providing access to financial services for under-served in emerging markets including Asia.

 Announcing the final close of the Accion Frontier Inclusion Fund on Sunday, Accion said the oversubscribed fund was raised from an array of leading institutional investors including global insurance companies, investment banks and asset managers, a university endowment, prominent foundations and family offices, as well as development finance institutions.

“The Fund will focus on emerging markets in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and Asia (with a particular emphasis on India and Southeast Asia) that have demonstrated the greatest potential for inclusive fintech,” the non-profit said in its statement.

The fund has invested in some Southeast Asian and Indian companies: Philippines based mobile payments platform Coins, India-based NeoGrowthIndiaMART,  CreditMantri.

About three billion people are left unserved or poorly served by the global financial system. According to the World Bank, only 46 per cent of adults in South Asia and 69 per cent of adults in East Asia and the Pacific (developing only) have a bank account.

“The Accion Frontier Inclusion Fund aims to accelerate fintech innovations – in areas such as alternative credit, payments, small and medium enterprise (SME) finance, and insurtech – that expand access to quality financial services in emerging markets in Asia and other regions that have demonstrated the greatest potential for inclusive fintech,” the statement from Accion said.

The Fund will support innovators using new technologies to help create a financial system that works for everyone. By focusing on both social impact and financial returns, we believe the Fund shows the importance of harnessing the capital markets to solve society’s most challenging problems. said Michael Schlein, CEO and President of Accion.

“The diversity and caliber of investors the Fund has attracted and the capital they have put behind it is an unambiguous validation of our investment thesis and a milestone for both financial inclusion and the impact investing industry,” said Monica Brand Engel, a founding partner at Quona Capital, the Fund manager.

Among the fund’s investors include Accion; AXA Impact Fund; Blue Haven Initiative; Calvert Equity Portfolio; the Dalio Foundation; FMO (Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden); Heifer Foundation; IDP Foundation, Inc.; IFC (International Finance Corporation), a member of the World Bank Group; JPMorgan Chase & Co.; The Lemelson Foundation; Mastercard; MetLife; PG Impact Investments; Private Market Impact Fund; Prudential Financial, Inc.; Quona Capital; The Sandy River Charitable Foundation; Skopos Impact Fund; TIAA Investments, an affiliate of Nuveen; Triodos Fair Share Fund and Triodos Microfinance Fund, funds managed by Triodos Investment Management; Wallace Global Fund; and William A. Gee.

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