Quona Capital's fintech fund for the 'underserved' closes $141m

A consortium of institutional investors contributed $141 million to the Accion Frontier Inclusion Fund to support startups looking to improve access to financial services in emerging markets.

The Accion Frontier Inclusion Fund, a global fintech fund managed by venture capital firm Quona Capital, has secured $141 million in capital contributions from a consortium of institutional investors including Accion, MasterCard, and JPMorgan Chase.

The Washington-based fund will invest in "inclusive fintech" startups that improve the accessibility and quality of financial services in emerging markets including sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and Asia, with a particular focus on Southeast Asia and India.

"Three billion people are left out of, or poorly served by, the global financial system," said Michael Schlein, CEO and president of Accion.

"The fund will support innovators using new technologies to help create a financial system that works for everyone. By focusing on both social impact and financial returns, we believe the fund shows the importance of harnessing the capital markets to solve society's most challenging problems."

The Accion Frontier Inclusion Fund has invested in eight startups to date including: Coins, a mobile payments platform that uses blockchain to provide a suite of services to low income consumers in the Philippines; Konfio, which uses data analytics to deliver working capital loans to micro-businesses in Mexico; and Creditas, which provides home and auto equity loan solutions for the emerging middle class in Brazil.

Other fund investors include MetLife, TIAA Investments, and the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group.

"The diversity and caliber of investors the fund has attracted and the capital they have put behind it is an unambiguous validation of our investment thesis and a milestone for both financial inclusion and the impact investing industry," said Monica Brand Engel, a founding partner at Quona Capital.

In February, a report by professional services firm KPMG showed that global fintech funding slid by 47 percent from $46.7 billion in 2015 to $24.7 billion in 2016. The Australian and Asian regions, however, trended upwards in 2016 with a record $656 million being invested in fintech in Australia and a record $8.6 billion being invested in fintech in Asia.

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