MetLife Foundation and Visa Inc., with global nonprofit Accion and IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, announced a new initiative to recognize the top 50 early-stage fintechs contributing to financial inclusion around the globe. The “Inclusive Fintech 50” will culminate in a list of the most impactful, emerging fintechs that demonstrate the power of financial technology to expand access, usage and quality of financial services in advanced and emerging markets.  

The initiative brings together four organizations driving investment and influence in technology and innovation for financial inclusion. The initiative will be implemented by MIX, the global data resource for socially responsible investors and businesses focused on inclusive finance.

“The migration to digital financial services improves the lives of individuals, supports stronger businesses and spurs economic progress and prosperity. Fintech companies are driving innovation, especially as it relates to un-served and underserved populations,” said Marianne Mwaniki, Global Head of Social Impact at Visa Inc. “This initiative will help investors identify those high-potential companies and, in turn, help those companies attract the capital and knowledge they need to scale their business for maximum social impact.”

Investors often cite difficulty in identifying prospective fintech investees, especially those contributing to inclusion, while financial service providers struggle to identify appropriate fintech partners. “Though capital is available to well-known and established fintechs, it’s less so for the early-stage companies focused on financial inclusion,” said Sarah Willis, Director of Financial Health at MetLife Foundation. “This effort will create visibility into a pipeline of inclusive fintechs that are reducing costs in delivery, improving the customer experience and ultimately creating an environment where low- to moderate-income people can build resilience, expand their economic opportunities and plan for the future.”

The competition will assess fintechs across the following criteria: inclusiveness, business model innovation, scale potential, and traction. A panel of more than 20 industry experts from venture capital, fintech, banking and other sectors will review applicants and select the winners:

  • Nejoud Al Mulaik, Director, Fintech Saudi
  • Bindu Ananth, Chair & Trustee, Dvara Trust
  • Ginger Baker, Head of Product, Financial Services, Facebook
  • Dan Barker, Vice President, BlackRock
  • Marla Blow, Founder & CEO, FS Card Inc.
  • Marcelo Castellanos, Regional Industry Manager, IFC
  • Nadine Chehade, Senior Financial Sector Specialist, CGAP
  • Alejandro Del Bosque, Director, Banco Azteca
  • Paul Edwards, Executive Chairman, Merryn Capital
  • Bernhard Eikenberg, Fund Manager, Bamboo Capital Partners
  • Sergio Furio, Founder & CEO, Creditas
  • Nick Hughes, Founder & Strategy Director, M-KOPA
  • Zennon Kapron, Founder & Director, Kapronasia
  • Machal Karim, Executive of Development Impact, CDC Group
  • Françoise Lamotte, SVP, Head of Digital, MetLife EMEA
  • Rob Levy, VP Financial Health, CFSI
  • M. Yasmina McCarty, Head of Mobile for Development, GSMA
  • Amolo Ng’weno, CEO, BFA
  • Ken Njoroge, CEO, Cellulant
  • Tayo Oviosu, Founder & CEO, Paga
  • Anju Patwardhan, Managing Director, Creditease
  • Parag Rao, Country Head of Payments Business & Marketing, HDFC Bank Ltd
  • Clinton Townsend, Director, Visa
  • Zia Zaman, Chief Innovation Officer, MetLife Asia
  • Gabriela Zapata Alvarez, Independent Consultant

Interested early-stage fintechs should apply between February 11 and March 8 by visiting Winners will be announced in June 2019.


Media Contact

Sarah Kelly                                                       
MetLife Australia                                   
+61 (0)411 893 890                     


Media Contact

Sarah Kelly                                                       
MetLife Australia                                   
+61 (0)411 893 890                     

About MetLife Foundation

At MetLife Foundation, we believe financial health belongs to everyone. We bring together bold solutions, deep financial expertise and meaningful grants to build financial health for people and communities that are underserved and aspire for more. We partner with organizations around the world to create financial health solutions and build stronger communities, engaging MetLife employees to help drive impact. To date, our financial health work has reached more than 6 million low-income individuals in 42 countries. To learn more about MetLife Foundation, visit

About MetLife

MetLife Insurance Limited (MetLife), an affiliate of MetLife, Inc., is a specialist provider of life insurance to affinity partners, superannuation trustees and employers in Australia. MetLife has expertise in designing and executing direct insurance programs for partners’ customers and insurance solutions to meet the needs of specific member groups. MetLife has been a specialist provider of life risk insurance products in Australia since 2005. For more information, visit

MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), through its subsidiaries and affiliates, is one of the world’s leading financial services companies, providing insurance, annuities, employee benefits and asset management to help its individual and institutional customers navigate their changing world. Founded in 1868, MetLife has operations in more than 40 countries and holds leading market positions in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. For more information, visit

About Visa, Inc.

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network - enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of connected commerce on any device, and a driving force behind the dream of a cashless future for everyone, everywhere. As the world moves from analog to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce. For more information, visit About Visa, and @VisaNews

About Accion Venture Lab
Accion Venture Lab is a seed-stage investment initiative focused on fintech for the underserved. Venture Lab invests capital in and provides support to innovative fintech startups that improve access, quality, and affordability of financial services for the underserved at scale. Since launching in 2012, Venture Lab has invested in 40 early-stage startups that operate in over 30 countries worldwide. Venture Lab is a part of Accion, a global nonprofit committed to creating a financially inclusive world, with a pioneering legacy in microfinance and fintech impact investing. Accion catalyzes financial service providers to deliver high-quality, affordable solutions at scale for the three billion people who are left out of – or poorly served by – the financial sector. For more than 50 years, Accion has helped tens of millions of people through our work with more than 110 partners in 50 countries. For further information, visit

About IFC

IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In fiscal year 2018, we delivered more than $23 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit

About MIX

MIX is the leading global data resource for socially responsible investors and businesses focused on inclusive finance.  MIX’s data platform covers thousands of mission-focused financial service providers in more than 100 developing markets.  MIX collects, analyzes, and maintains data on financial services providers.  That data is shared both as a public good for the advancement of the industry and on a fee-paid basis for subscribers interested in more detailed market intelligence.  MIX helps socially responsible investors who move 10 billion USD annually to monitor their portfolios and increase their investments in underserved sectors and geographies, including agricultural finance and inclusive fintech.  Founded in 2002, MIX has data analysts in every region of the world.  Learn more at

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