DFS Lab invests $250k in 4 African fintech startups

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Early-stage incubator Digital Financial Services Lab (DFS Lab) has announced it is investing US$250,000 in four African fintech startups that are building products that help low-income consumers in developing markets.

Funded by a US$4.8 million three-year grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, DFS Lab supports high potential entrepreneurs in Africa and Asia, and has invested more than US$600,000 in eight startups since its 2015 launch.

It has now invested in a further four startups: Ghanaian financial verification startup Inclusive, Kenyan agricultural insurance platform Pula, Kenyan peer-to-peer microlending marketplace Pezesha, and artificial intelligence banking assistant Teller, which is based in the United States but has operations in Africa.

All four companies were selected for financing after presenting their products at DFS Lab’s Fintech BootCamp in Sri Lanka earlier this year. In total, finalists representing nine companies from six countries went through the bootcamp programme and and presented their solutions. In addition to financing, the companies will receive six months of intensive mentorship.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to invest in companies that are focusing on consumers in emerging markets,” said DFS director Dr Jake Kendall.

“Expanding access to digital financial services – especially for unbanked populations – can transform people’s lives by providing them with money management tools that most of us take for granted. The companies we are investing in are creating cutting edge solutions that enable the delivery of financial services to low income people around the world – we look forward to working with them.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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