Australian fintech among global winners in financial inclusion

  • By Christine St Anne

Australian company Frollo is among the winners in the Inclusive Fintech 50 awards, a global competition that promotes early stage fintechs driving financial inclusion. 

MetLife Foundation and Visa launched the initiative in February with partner Accion and World Bank Group member IFC to help inclusive fintech companies attract capital and resources to benefit the three billion unbanked around the world. 

Working with banks Frollo has built an engagement platform to help people improve their personal finances particularly for those “who live from “pay cheque-to-cheque” said Frollo founder and CEO Gareth Gumbley (pictured). 

The business was awarded a $65,000 grant. 

“Thank you to MetLife for the opportunity to develop our platform that will our business to scale. We are so excited,” Gumbley said. 

According to a statement from MetLife, the 50 winners – which were selected from nearly 400 eligible applicants – demonstrate the power of financial technology to expand access, usage, and quality of financial services in advanced and emerging markets. 

We want to support startups that are addressing the holistic needs of these target segments with the ultimate goal of improving their financial health, Sarah Willis, MetLife Foundation 

About 30 percent of the winners provide credit products to underserved segments including micro, small and medium-sized businesses, and about 25 percent offer infrastructure solutions like biometrics software that allow financial institutions to expand access to previously excluded groups. 

Fintechs offering insurance, payments and remittances services, and savings and personal financial management tools each made up approximately 15 percent of the winners.

Nearly 70 percent of the winners are pre-Series A, yet these startups managed to garner 8 million in combined customers. 

In terms of geographic distribution, nearly one-third operate in more than one region, and another third operate exclusively in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

Twenty percent of the selected fintechs operate exclusively in South Asia, and 8 percent each in North America and East Asia and the Pacific. 

The remainder comes from Latin America & the Caribbean and MENA.

“Inclusive Fintech 50 demonstrates that there are lesser-known fintechs able to reach underserved populations with appropriate financial products,” MetLife Foundation director of financial health and inclusion Sarah Willis said. 

“We want to support startups that are addressing the holistic needs of these target segments with the ultimate goal of improving their financial health.”