Accion Venture Lab launches $23m fintech-focused fund

Accion Venture Lab, the seed-stage investment initiative of global nonprofit Accion, is adding $33 million to its initial capital pool, with the launch of a new $23-million fintech-focused fund and an additional $10 million investment from Accion.

Accion Venture Lab launched in 2012 with a capital of $10 million. The latest vehicle brings Accion Venture Lab’s total capital under management to $43 million.

Accion estimates it would invest about 30 per cent of the fresh capital in emerging markets in South and Southeast Asia, VCCircle reported.

Investors in Accion Venture Lab now include FMO, the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank; the Ford Foundation, the ImpactAssets Giving Fund of Blue Haven Initiative; Proparco, the French Development Agency (AFD)’s private sector financing arm; Stichting Hivos-Triodos Fund, managed by Triodos Investment Management; and Visa Inc, among others, per a statement.

“Despite progress, three billion people still have no safe or simple way to save money, get a loan to build a business, pay a bill, or protect their health and property with insurance,” said Michael Schlein, President and CEO of Accion.

“Fintech startups are finding new ways to provide products and services that help these underserved people. Yet often startups lack the capital and strategic support they need to grow and scale their impact. Accion Venture Lab addresses this need.”

Accion Venture Lab — typically the first institutional investor in its portfolio companies — provides both capital and extensive strategic and operational support across a broad range of functional areas, the statement added.

For every dollar Accion Venture Lab has invested, its portfolio companies have raised an additional $13 in equity capital from later-stage investors, Accion said.

“There is strong potential for inclusive fintech startups to reach historically underserved communities while generating returns, and the oversubscription of the Accion Venture Lab fund is a great validation of our early work investing in more than 40 innovative businesses operating in 30 markets,” said Venture Lab Managing Director Vikas Raj.

“This new pool of capital enables us to scale our efforts and remain at the forefront of seed-stage investing in inclusive fintech.”

Since its launch, Accion Venture Lab has invested in more than 35 early-stage startups that operate in over 25 countries worldwide.

In December last year, Accion Venture Lab successfully completed its third investment exit, selling its stake in Indian fintech company Aye Finance (Aye). It previously announced exits from Palo Alto and Mexico City-based payments solutions company Clip in February 2017 and India-based lender Varthana in November 2016.