LISTEN NOW: Rapid Innovation: How Fintechs in Africa and Asia are Adapting to COVID-19



The Centre for Financial Inclusion at Accion host the Inclusive Fintech 50 initiative, a yearly competition by an independent judging panel of experts to identify 50 early-stage fintech driving financial inclusion and resilience. This webinar features two of the winners, Tomilola Adejana of BANKLY from Nigeria and Puneet Gupta of Kaleidofin from India, and is moderated by Maha Khan Insight Manager at the Centre for Financial Inclusion.

Tomilola and Puneet shared their approach to developing their business and fundraising. It was clear to see that both companies looked at increasing the economic growth and resilience of their customers, took time to understand their issues, concerns, and goals, and from there developed products that can be bundled for customers. Both target the low/irregular income segment, which can be profitable at the right scale, though attracting funding can be more challenging.

COVID-19 and lockdown had an impact on Kaleidofin and Bankly – both saw savings drop and funds withdrawn, but this is seen as a positive as these savings helped customers survive and also built their trust. Once lockdowns eased then customers began to save small amounts again. Both companies also saw new opportunities arising, Bankly had invested in an agent network and could leverage to provide domestic remittances, cash in/out, and other services. Kaleidofin used their data to build credit scores for customers to help them access credit and eight companies are using their score and over $300 million has been dispersed.

The competition also allows market-level insights generated from aggregated and anonymized applicant data. You can read more about those findings in the 2020 Inclusive Fintech 50 White Paper.

Two key highlights found in this year’s competition are:

  • Payments and savings and financial management fintechs grew their services between December 2019 and May 2020. Fintechs are also increasingly using digital delivery channels likes platforms to increase uptake and acquire new customers
  • Female-led fintechs are still facing a persistent gap in access to funding.