Seven African businesses have been chosen to participate in the inaugural cohort of the Last Mile Money Accelerator, a four-month programme run by IDEO and sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The Last Mile Money Accelerator’s mission is to boost inclusive fintech companies through grant funding, world-class design help from IDEO and IDEO.org, and connections to important strategic ecosystem partners.
“Cash-in cash-out agents play a critical role in bringing the promise of the digital economy closer to those who need it the most, yet the current models we see today often fall short of delivering on that promise, especially to those in rural areas in emerging markets. There’s a clear need for more innovation in this space, and that’s why we’re excited to support this cohort of world-class entrepreneurs operating across over 10 countries,” said Dave Kim, programme officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The organizers have chosen eight businesses to participate in the Last Mile Money Accelerator after reviewing 250 submissions. PesaKit, a last-mile agent network platform that is driving digital commerce and financial inclusion, and Tanda, which is developing an ecosystem to enable individuals to send, receive, and access vital financial services digitally, are two Kenyan companies.
Tanzania’s Kuunda, a B2B fintech company 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; and Sudan’s Alsoug.com, a classifieds platform that is launching a new fintech platform; and Sudan’.
The cohort is completed by India’s Mool, which provides underprivileged people with easier access to savings and wealth management solutions. Each startup will receive assistance with a specific aspect of its growth strategy as part of the programme.