A Nigerian Fintech Startup REACH is one of the finalists of the Digital Financial Services Lab (DFS Lab) Boot Camp in Sri Lanka.REACH is an innovative app that helps you set, track, and achieve your financial goals.It is a group savings tool, helping customers plan savings for big life moments. REACH partners with Zenith Bank to bring automation and security to savings plans. REACH also offers its customers discounts on high-priced items like cars and flights through its partnerships with vendors in Nigeria.
The bootcamp is organised by the FinTech incubator, Digital Financial Services Lab (DFS Lab), Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a global initiative that brings together 20 of the most promising entrepreneurs who are working on innovative digital financial services and products for the mass market in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
Participants representing nine companies from six countries (Canada, Ghana, India, Nigeria, Kenya, and the United States) will present their solutions to DFS Lab’s board of experts at a six day bootcamp in Negombo, Sri Lanka. This is a chance to benefit from hands-on advice from industry stalwarts, as well as the opportunity to be awarded a share of over $2 million of total investment and a further six months of intensive mentorship.
“Expanding access to digital financial services will help transform emerging economies and improve people’s lives,” said DFS Director Dr. Jake Kendall. “These bootcamp finalists are working on solving some of most pressing issues in the financial technology space and we are excited to see the products they are creating.”
DFS lab finalists are from the following startups:
Bloom Impact: Bloom Impact, based in Ghana, is a free online marketplace that matches micro and small businesses with lenders that will best fit their needs. Bancus also matches businesses with the right savings accounts for their business. Bancus’s data-driven approach significantly reduces financial service providers’ acquisition costs and efficiently provides small businesses with access to credit.
Inclusive: Inclusive, based in Ghana, is an API that verifies financial identities across Africa. Financial institutions across Africa can plug Inclusive’s API into their digital channels to achieve seamless user onboarding, eliminate redundant identity checks, access quality and secured data sources, and improve fraud detection and investigation all while providing the highest level of security.
Olly: Olly, based in India, is a smart credit card that allows customers to switch it ‘on’ or ‘off’ to give the customer full control over their transactions and to prevent fraud. Olly also allows customers to create one-time-use virtual credit cards for online transactions so that their original credit card information isn’t shared.
My Oral Village: My Oral Village, based in Canada, is a not-for-profit organization that creates ‘oral’ financial tools and services to give financial access to the illiterate and innumerate population. My Oral Village also engages in oral financial numeracy research to find innovative ways towards financial inclusion among the illiterate and innumerate.
Pezesha: Pezesha, based in Kenya, is Africa’s peer-to-business microlending marketplace, using analytics to match lenders with creditworthy low income micro businesses. The platform gives small business access to credit while generating great returns to lenders.
Pula: Pula is an insurance intermediary for small-scale farmers in Africa that safeguards their crops and allows farmers to invest in their farms.
Reach: Reach, based in Nigeria, is an innovative group savings tool, helping customers plan savings for big life moments. Reach partners with Zenith Bank to bring automation and security to savings plans. Reach also offers its customers discounts on high-priced items like cars and flights through its partnerships with vendors in Nigeria.
Signzy: Signzy, based in India, is a ‘digital trust system’ that provides identification, background checks, forgery detection, and contract management systems that are safe, legal, and convenient. Signzy uses the latest in biometrics and blockchain technology, providing extremely high levels of security and accurate identity verification.
Teller: Teller, based in the United States, is an artificial intelligence banking assistant that allows customers to communicate with banks through their favorite messaging platforms without needing to download a new app. Teller’s chatbot can answer hundreds of financial questions, as well as provide advice on saving, budgeting, improving one’s credit score, investing, and retirement. It also helps banks to automate the simple, repetitive questions that they receive, providing timely customer service.
About Digital Financial Services Innovation Lab
Digital Financial Services Innovation Lab (DFS Lab) is an early-stage incubator that supports high potential entrepreneurs refine, grow and launch FinTech businesses in developing countries. Focused on empowering communities in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, DFS Lab delivers mentorship and strategic advice to early-stage start-ups pioneering transformative technologies that empower the poorest, profitably and at scale.
It gives entrepreneurs access to extensive networks and relevant, world class advice on how to build successful ventures that change the way low-income consumers interact with digital financial services. Funded by a $4.8 million three year grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the initiative is housed at Caribou Digital, a specialist in building inclusive digital economies.