Village Capital, MetLife Foundation, and PayPal Launch Finance Forward

Village Capital has announced the launch of Finance Forward — a global coalition created with MetLife Foundation, PayPal, and local partners to support more than 100 early-stage entrepreneurs building tech-enabled solutions around financial health in the United States, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and India.

Finance Forward will provide capacity-building support for entrepreneurs in the program, as well as $850,000 in capital through grants and direct investments. Based on the past results of Village Capital accelerator programs, the coalition is aiming to drive at least $10 million in follow-on funding to program participants over the next five years.

Finance Forward will feature nine regional accelerator programs and boot camps over the next two years. Each program will drive investment to entrepreneurs building solutions to improve the financial health of low- and medium-income people and small business owners. Participating companies will be eligible to receive capital ranging from $25,000 to $75,000 to help support the growth of their company. 

Village Capital runs the most active financial health accelerator in the world, with 22 past programs that have supported more than 200 startups, many in collaboration with PayPal or MetLife Foundation. In Finance Forward, PayPal and MetLife volunteer leaders will help shape the thesis for each program and provide 1-1 mentorship to entrepreneurs in each region alongside other deeply engaged, industry-leading partners, including Moody’s Corporation for the program in Latin America.

“We’re excited to continue our long-standing work with these two industry-leading partners to broaden the scope of our Financial Health practice,” said Allie Burns, CEO, Village Capital. “We’ve seen real progress on financial inclusion in the past few years, thanks in large part to mobile phones, a changing regulatory environment, and a new generation of companies creating true technology innovation in fintech. But simply being included is only the start; now that people are in the system, we need to make sure they can actually use the system to build their financial health: the ability to manage your income, get a loan when you need it, and plan for your financial future.”

“The onset of fintech has brought new possibilities to the design and delivery of financial services, and broadened aspirations for our work to build financial health for all,” said Sarah Willis, Director, Financial Health at MetLife Foundation. “The Finance Forward coalition stems from a belief that with the right mentors, investments and an emphasis on locally-relevant solutions, tech entrepreneurs will continue to transform the way low-income people benefit from the financial sector.”

“Even with the rapid increase in bank accounts in emerging markets, many people remain significantly underserved by the financial system today,” said Tyler Spalding, Director, Corporate Affairs at PayPal. “We’re excited to build on the last five years of impact with Village Capital to continue supporting entrepreneurs with innovative solutions to improve the financial health of individuals and businesses around the world. This is PayPal’s purpose, and we’re proud to work with Village Capital and their global community of entrepreneurs to democratize financial services for the underserved.”

In total, Finance Forward aims to improve the financial health of 700,000 low-income people and 10,000 micro and small businesses owners. The initiative will also convene meetings with industry leaders in each market; support five accelerators and incubators through Village Capital’s VilCap Communities offering; produce a series of reports on trends and best practices that will be made available to the public; and host a global alumni summit for Village Capital program graduates.

Past participants in Village Capital programs include Indian startup Loans4SME, a platform for small businesses to raise debt capital that has contributed $35 million of working capital to more than 70 businesses, and Mexican startup ePesos, a mobile payments startup that secured one of the largest-ever startup equity raises in Mexican history shortly after participating in the program.

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