Village Capital, MetLife Foundation and PayPal launched an investment readiness program for startups in Europe (including the EU and neighbouring countries) that are using tech, to help low-income individuals and families manage their finances, save for the short- and long-term, and ultimately build wealth. The COVID-19 pandemic will have an unprecedented effect on the financial health of Europeans, with low-income groups and small businesses heavily impacted.

The accelerator is a collaboration between Finance Forward Founding Partners Village Capital, MetLife Foundation, and PayPal, and Program Partners F6S and Impact Hub Berlin. They were encouraging applications from entrepreneurs building high-growth, scalable solutions that would help low-income communities and/or small businesses build strong financial health outcomes for themselves. 

Most traditional financial products, from credit lines to saving accounts, are focused on the needs of high-income people and large corporations. Nearly 40 million Europeans are excluded from the mainstream financial system, which means they struggle to manage their money, access credit or save for the future. Entrepreneurs can fill this gap. Startups have the potential to create high quality, affordable solutions for underserved populations.

Fintechs taking part in Finance Forward Europe program

Of the 80 applications sent by entrepreneurs across the region with selected companies from the UK, Germany, Ireland, Croatia, Spain, and Denmark, 11 startups have been chosen to participate. What’s interesting is that five of these chosen startups are led or founded by female entrepreneurs. And, the participating startups will get intensive feedback from peers and mentors at virtual workshops. These startups will be able to establish connections with potential customers, investors, and industry experts. 

Below are the 11 fintech startups taking part in the cohort to improve the financial health in Europe:

  • CreditStretcher (Denmark):  A building a solution, which enables SMEs to grow by providing fair access to credit via upfront financing on invoices. It also extends interest-free credit to the buyer by 60 days. 
  • Elifinity (UK): Solves the problem of financial vulnerability with its AI-driven platform. It connects with an individual’s data in a secure way to predict existing and upcoming financial challenges. 
  • Finclude (Ireland): Provides a pan-European creditworthiness and affordability score, which lets financial institutions and individuals assess the financial standing of a user by utilising transactional behaviour analysis and machine learning. 
  • FinMarie (Germany): Empowers women to achieve financial independence. It does this by one-stop financial advice and a cost-effective investment solution, which provides an online investment platform using robo-advisor tools. 
  • Libeen (Spain): Enables individuals irrespective of income level or savings to access affordable homeownership via a simple, smart and flexible rent-to-buy lease format. 
  • PiP iT (Ireland): Lets migrants living in Europe to send cross-border payments in cash to pay the bills of their family members more affordably and control how the money is being spent. It is a Digital Cash Collection platform.
  • Portabl (England): Portabl is building a smart financial services SaaS platform that provides flexible insurance, benefits, and financial packages. These will address systemic bias issues that freelance and gig-economy workers face all over the world. 
  • Student Finance (Spain): Focuses on helping partner schools financing students’ education via Income Share Agreements (ISA). This will help increase educational opportunity and empower people to access high-impact careers. It lets users unlock their potential via digital skills. 
  • TellJO (UK): TellJO‘s customer wellbeing assessment empowers social landlords, utilities and financial institutions to better understand and serve vulnerable customers. It is a digital assessment tool that helps prevent payment arrears and minimise financial exclusion by helping customers assess their vulnerability levels and financial capability. 
  • Vested (UK): Provides an impact investing platform, which uses a proprietary algorithm to assess and track the impact of an investment. This way, Vested lets people invest their money in companies and assets with the biggest positive impact on society. 
  • Worig (Croatia): A solution for tenants to simplify access to the housing market by removing the high costs and risks associated with renting a new home. Its solution helps build trust between landlords and tenants by providing secure downpayment options as well as verifiable credit score with its tenant scoring system.

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