Chris Cusack, Village Capital
+1 (805) 698-3517
Nandika Madgavkar, MetLife, Inc.
+1 (212) 578-5707
(March 15, 2017) Today, Village Capital, in partnership with MetLife Foundation, is launching a multi-year program to build the ecosystem for financial inclusion startups in Poland, Ukraine, Turkey, and the UAE, and support top financial technology startups in each region.
Village Capital and MetLife Foundation will partner with a local entrepreneur support organization in each location to showcase a group of local startups at a day-long forum. Following the forum, they will help the local partner create a long-term roadmap for supporting local financial innovation.
Each location represents a prime testing ground for scaling new financial well-being innovations. In Poland, for example, the rate of online banking adoption is well above the EU average, and Warsaw is home to the back-end financial services that drive the global financial sector. Through this partnership, MetLife Foundation and Village Capital will share learnings that can benefit the financial inclusion community worldwide.
“MetLife Foundation is committed to working with partners, like Village Capital, to build actionable solutions to help individuals and families achieve long-term financial well-being,” said Dennis White, President & CEO, MetLife Foundation. “Together, we hope to identify the innovators in these countries and help them scale their businesses to serve larger numbers of low- and moderate-income individuals and families.”
“In innovation today, many people invest in the most easily identifiable solutions, which are not necessarily the ones that make the biggest difference to low-income people,” said Ross Baird, CEO of Village Capital. “Entrepreneurs can play a critical role in building a financial sector that serves everyone, and our partnership will bring dozens of new entrepreneurs to the table. We’re excited to work with MetLife Foundation and scale new innovations creating a healthier and more equitable financial system.”
In each location, Village Capital will:
- Convene a set of financial technology stakeholders (entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, regulators, corporations) to identify the top financial inclusion problems in that region.
- Identify top entrepreneurs in the region working to improve the lives of low- to middle-income families and provide them with an opportunity to engage with leading investors and showcase their business model.
- Provide two $10,000 grants, courtesy of MetLife Foundation, to top ventures.
- Partner with a local accelerator, which will gain access to Village Capital’s award-winning curriculum for continued entrepreneur support.
The forums will help accelerate financial inclusion in the region creating a long-lasting roadmap for building new innovations.
At each forum event, a participating venture will have the opportunity to pitch their business model to diverse stakeholders, engage with leading investors and receive feedback from local sector experts. Entrepreneurs will also work through a slice of Village Capital’s globally recognized peer-oriented curriculum, which is focused on scaling a successful business and raising investment capital.
At the end of the pitch event, the participating ventures will decide on the two teams among them that receive $10,000 grants, in line with Village Capital’s peer-review philosophy.
Applications for the Warsaw Forum will launch on March 22. The program in UAE will begin in the autumn of 2017, followed by Ukraine in the spring of 2018 and Turkey in the autumn of 2018. We encourage all startups expanding access to financial services and increasing economic empowerment and inclusion for low-wealth populations to contact Chris Cusack at email@example.com.
MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), through its subsidiaries and affiliates (“MetLife”), is one of the largest life insurance companies in the world. Founded in 1868, MetLife is a global provider of life insurance, annuities, employee benefits and asset management. Serving approximately 100 million customers, MetLife has operations in nearly 50 countries and holds leading market positions in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. For more information, visit www.metlife.com.
About MetLife Foundation
MetLife Foundation was created in 1976 to continue MetLife’s long tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. Since its founding through the end of 2016, MetLife Foundation has provided more than $744 million in grants and $70 million in program-related investments to organizations addressing issues that have a positive impact in their communities. Today, the Foundation is dedicated to advancing financial inclusion, committing $200 million to help build a secure future for individuals and communities around the world.
To learn more about MetLife Foundation, visit www.metlife.org.
About Village Capital
Village Capital is a global venture capital firm that finds, trains, and invests in entrepreneurs solving real-world problems. Since 2009 we have been one of the world’s most active early-stage investors, investing in over 70 ventures across 15 countries and supporting hundreds more through our collaborative venture development programs. Village Capital graduates have leveraged initial capital 25:1, created over 10,000 jobs, and served over 6 million customers.
For more information, visit www.vilcap.com and follow @villagecapital on Twitter.