Catalyst Fund raises $3.5m from FSD Africa to accelerate and scale pre-seed impact ventures in Africa

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Global inclusive tech accelerator Catalyst Fund, managed by BFA Global, has secured a US$3.5 million investment from specialist development agency FSD Africa to anchor its presence in Africa, and scale its work as a leading accelerator and pre-seed impact fund for emerging market entrepreneurs. 

Catalyst Fund supports inclusive tech innovators in emerging markets offering inclusive solutions for underserved and climate-vulnerable communities. FSD Africa, meanwhile, is a specialist development agency working to help make finance work for Africa’s future. 

To date, Catalyst Fund has backed 61 startups across emerging markets that have together raised more than US$573 million in follow-on funding and reached over 13.2 million low-income customers. The next cohort of startups will feature fintech solutions that build the resilience of underserved and climate vulnerable communities in emerging markets.

With FSD Africa’s backing, Catalyst Fund will invest and offer hands-on venture building support to high-impact startups that improve the resilience of underserved and climate-vulnerable communities, with a goal to support 40 pre-seed impact ventures in Africa. The accelerator will also continue to build strong innovation ecosystems by activating investors, capacity building networks, and corporate innovators to unlock capital, attract talent and share knowledge about fintech solutions tailored to those communities’ needs. 

“We are thrilled to welcome FSD Africa as an anchor investor of Catalyst Fund to enable our next phase of growth. The challenge of climate adaptation is central to our core mandate of accelerating innovation that improves the resilience and livelihoods of the world’s most vulnerable communities, particularly women,” said Maelis Carraro, managing partner of Catalyst Fund. 

“As a woman-led fund, we are particularly proud to share that at least 40 per cent of the founders in our portfolio will be women and at least 80 per cent local to their country of operation. We seek to both transform the lives of vulnerable households and businesses, but also to accelerate the overall innovation ecosystem.”

Juliet Munro, director of digital economy at FSD Africa, said her organisation believed that a strong, fair and accessible financial system was crucial to a sustainable future for Africa’s people and its environment. 

“In particular, we believe that finance can play a major role in tackling climate-vulnerability and that by harnessing the power of fintech innovation we can help address market barriers to building out much needed climate resilience solutions. Our partnership with Catalyst Fund will spur innovation by investing in and supporting entrepreneurs while at the same time helping to influence and expand the pool of investment into this space,” she said.

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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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