August 20, 2018—Washington, DC—FINCA International announced the launch of FINCA Ventures, an impact investing platform that provides patient capital and pre- and post-investment support to help early-stage social enterprises achieve growth and scale. Through FINCA Ventures, FINCA International supports innovative solutions to poverty in energy, water/sanitation/hygiene (WASH), education, health, agriculture and financial technology (fintech). FINCA Ventures aims to accelerate the growth of social enterprises developing goods that align with FINCA’s charitable mission, thus fostering a market for extremely affordable, high-quality and life-improving products and services for the bottom of the pyramid.
“For more than three decades, FINCA has given small loans to micro-entrepreneurs around the world,” said Rupert Scofield, President and CEO of FINCA International. “As a pioneer in microfinance, FINCA International created a sustainable and scalable social enterprise. Because of this, FINCA Ventures is uniquely positioned to help social enterprises grow faster and smarter and reach a bottom of the pyramid market more effectively and responsibly.”
Over the past 18 months, FINCA Ventures has invested in six social enterprises that are serving emerging market customers, including:
- Amped Innovation: Designs solar home systems and DC-powered productive use appliances to help those living under $4 per day grow their wallets.
- BioLite: Designs and manufactures clean-burning, electricity-generating cookstoves and solar home systems for off-grid households.
- Eneza Education: Develops hardware-agnostic digital educational curriculums that work on basic feature phones, smartphones and tablets for K-12 students and beyond.
- Good Nature Agro: Partners with smallholder farmers to improve their productivity through soil-enriching legume farming and links them to a high-value legume seed market to grow farmer incomes.
- Ignitia: Sends hyper-local, highly accurate tropical weather forecasts to smallholder farmers via SMS to reduce risk and loss for better harvests.
- Sanivation: Provides waste-to-energy sanitation services to local governments and refugee camps, turning fecal sludge into environmentally-friendly fuel alternatives to charcoal and firewood.
“FINCA International is going beyond general financial inclusion and looking more deeply at access to basic services and the role finance can play,” said Ami Dalal, Vice President and Managing Director for FINCA Ventures. “Combined, FINCA’s work in microfinance and social enterprise generates greater resilience and opportunity, and helps low-income families achieve a better standard of living.”
As part of the investment strategy, FINCA Ventures seeks likeminded partners for co-investment opportunities. This approach strengthens the investment by increasing the available capital and forging partnerships for catalytic impact.
“Schneider Electric Energy Access SAS, managing impact investments for Schneider Electric, is proud to have co-invested alongside FINCA Ventures,” said Christophe Poline, Sustainable Investments Director at Schneider Electric. “We are delighted to see FINCA, one of the early innovators in microfinance, leverage their deep knowledge of developing markets and ability to finance the end-user to support innovation in areas like energy. Together with their market know-how and our own experience in energy access, we can collectively provide investment in companies that goes beyond capital to create complementary synergies.”
FINCA Ventures reflects FINCA International’s commitment to advancing market-led innovations supporting the world’s poor. By linking access to finance with access to basic services, FINCA Ventures can help increase the quality of life and productivity of FINCA’s global customer base, and create opportunities to extend financial inclusion by developing new financial products and services for unbanked and under-banked families.
About FINCA International
FINCA International was founded in 1984 on a radical notion: giving small loans to the poor has the power to transform entire communities in a sustainable way. After impacting tens of millions of lives with responsible financial services, we are widening our focus to catalyze further economic growth and alleviate poverty in underserved markets around the world. We remain boldly committed to market-based solutions, and are supporting the rise of social enterprises delivering basic service and financial innovation to help low-income families and communities achieve a better standard of living. For more information, visit www.FINCA.org or follow us on Twitter @FINCA.
About FINCA Ventures
FINCA Ventures is an impact investing initiative of FINCA International that leverages a global microfinance network to catalyze market-based solutions to poverty. It does so by providing patient capital and pre- and post-investment support to high-impact, early-stage social enterprises that offer affordable, high-quality and life-enhancing products and services for low-income families. For more information, visit www.FINCAVentures.com.
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