Village Capital

Finance Forward Latin America 2020

Program partners

Finance Forward LatAm partner logo lockup

About the program

Village Capital, in global collaboration with MetLife Foundation and PayPal, launched Finance Forward, a multi-year global coalition supporting entrepreneurs on four continents who are building tech-enabled solutions to place-based challenges in financial health, economic mobility, and community resilience. As part of Finance Forward, we will launch an investment readiness program in Latin America in 2020 with the regional collaboration of Moody’s Corporation.

“Fintech can be a powerful force for economic stability and mobility in Latin America” said Daniel Cossío, Regional Manager for Village Capital in Latin America. “We've already seen how this crisis has had the most devastating financial effect on the low income population. Now more than ever we need tech-driven innovation to help small businesses stay afloat and help families manage their income and support the region in what is bound to be a challenging recovery.”

Finance Forward Latin America 2020 will support selected startups through tailored engagements with financial institutions, corporates, investors, and experts in fintech/financial health in Santiago (Chile), São Paulo (Brazil), and Mexico City (Mexico). Startups will also engage in a rigorous feedback and evaluation process with a cohort of startups. At the end of the program, the top two startups selected from their peers will each receive a MetLife Foundation Social Entrepreneurship Grant of USD $50,000. An additional three USD $16,000 grants will also be available for the startups ranked third to fifth.

Village Capital’s investment readiness program has been ranked by others, such as the Global Accelerator Learning Initiative, as one of the best accelerator programs in the world. Finovate also named us the best Fintech Accelerator/Incubator in 2019

Applications for this program are now closed.

Program Timeline

Applications Open

March 19

Apply now!

Applications Close

May 15

Applications are now closed for this program.

Virtual program

August - October (exact dates to be determined).

Virtual workshops due to the travel and meeting restrictions because of COVID-19.

Please note that Village Capital is carefully monitoring the current global health situation and will modify the timings or format of the workshops if needed. At this time, we encourage all interested companies to complete their application regardless of the travel restrictions.


Types of startups we are recruiting

We are looking for startups addressing financial health challenges for low-to-moderate income communities and/or micro/small businesses. We are excited to work with startups addressing any of the areas noted below, yet also welcome solutions addressing additional financial health challenges.

Challenges for People & Families

People and families are experiencing stressful financial situations across interconnected systems — from managing income from multiple jobs with expenses, to financing their education, to taking care of their health, food and housing needs as well as taking care of these needs for loved ones.

Helping families with low wages and a low employment rate to achieve long-term financial resilience and recover from emergencies. Out of 15 Latin American countries included in a study by MoveHub, 3​3%​​ of family income​ goes towards purchasing​ basic food goods. We are interested in innovations that help protect families from financial shocks – to include more advanced tools to help everyday people control expenditures, invest their savings, and manage their assets intelligently by setting realistic and anticipatory priorities – this is especially relevant in a time of global crisis, we are interested in solutions that will focus on systemic changes.

Helping people and households that struggle to manage their income and expenses. Less than 20%​ of Latin Americans save at a formal financial institution, while 16% reported saving in a range of informal ways (e.g., through purchasing livestock, US dollars, property, and jewelry) or simply “under the mattress.” Debt levels among Latin American households are on the rise. In Chile, household debt is ​60% of disposable income​, while in Colombia, Mexico and Brazil, this number is at 30%. We are interested in innovations that help protect families from financial shocks – going beyond basic banking services, to include more advanced tools to help everyday people control expenditures, invest their savings, and manage their assets intelligently.

Helping those that work in the informal economy and/or the growing gig economy that continue to face greater financial disadvantages. According to the World Bank, 60%​ of Latin Americans work in the informal sector and being “informal” has a notably adverse effect on an individual’s ability to save, even more so when considering that on average, ​nearly 80%​ of the lowest earning households are within this economy. Informal work and short-term “gigs” often mean greater vulnerability and insecurity for workers, including, but not limited to the lack of access to social benefits and employment protection mechanisms. We are looking for solutions that will aid workers in a “gig economy” to subdue these vulnerabilities.

Challenges for Micro & Small Businesses

People that own and are employed by micro and small businesses are also experiencing stressful financial situations — especially when it comes to managing personal versus business needs, building and accessing credit, and accessing coverage and benefits.

Enabling MSMEs to access the capital they need to finance their businesses. There is a ​$250 billion​ financing gap facing SMEs in Latin America and the Caribbean, only 7%​ of MSMEs have access to credit. Many operate in the informal economy and in cash, which means they lack a credit history. As a result, MSMEs have to rely on interest rates as high as 40%​ from informal lenders. We are interested in innovations that encourage and incentivize financial institutions to lend to “shop owners” and other MSMEs – particularly nontraditional (low-to-moderate-income, female-owned, otherwise-diverse) MSMEs – in a sustainable way.

Helping MSMEs manage and measure their cash flow to withstand growth challenges. In Mexico around 8% of all MSMEs are asking for urgent credit at the end of each year to stay afloat, while 7 out of 10 new businesses don’t make it past one year of operations. In Colombia, something similar happens, with 20% of new businesses closing each year. We are interested in solutions that will allow MSMEs to manage and have better control over their finances, giving them the tools and information they need to withstand the challenges of scaling or keeping their doors open.

Overall factors we consider
  • Focus on inequities: Solutions supporting communities facing financial health inequities based on age, gender, geographic location or income level. 

  • Focus on people, family or micro/small businesses: Solutions addressing financial health challenges either for individuals, families and/or micro and small businesses employing communities facing financial health inequities.

  • Focus on economic opportunity: Solutions that measurably improve the income and/or wealth level of individuals and families.

  • Focus on agency: Solutions that empower users with agency over their financial decisions

  • Cultural and behavioral sensitivity: Solutions that use a creative, cultural, and behavioral lens.

Eligible startups must have
  • Legal incorporation as a for-profit entity.

  • Market-based solution that tackles a financial health challenge for low-to-moderate income communities in Latin America.

  • Operations in Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina or Peru.

  • Have a minimum viable product (MVP), and raised less than $1M in equity.

  • Have at least one full-time founder based in Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina or Peru.

  • Have meaningful customer or business validation (not limited to revenue, it can also be successful pilot studies, number of users, and/or strategic partnerships).

Benefits for startups

Benefits startups will receive
  • Top two (2) peer selected startups will receive USD $50,000 in grant capital from MetLife Foundation

  • Ability to network and receive mentorship from potential strategic partners, customers, and founders

  • Ability to network and receive mentorship from prominent Latin American and U.S. investors

  • Diverse and inclusive network of mentors and founders within financial health and Fintech

  • Startups will receive a stipend for one (1) founder/C-suite member to travel to selected emerging fintech cities in different countries for workshops

  • Twelve (12) days of interactive workshops tailored to help their company identify early milestones and prepare them for their next round of capital (if relevant)

  • Access to an investment analyst who will coach them 1:1 on building a financial model, identifying unit economics, and on using financial metrics to drive both their business and investor diligence

  • Participate in mock board meetings with representatives from financial institutions, corporates, fintechs, and investors that can help their organization scale

  • Exposure on Village Capital’s program website and other communications collateral

Program Advisory Board

Common FAQs we receive from startups

  • What is the main goal of the program? The program is designed to help startups identify early milestones and prepare for your next round of capital (if relevant). In short, through virtual and in-person workshops, we deliver a targeted, award-winning curriculum and provide countless connections to prepare startups for growth. 

  • Do you require us to move to the cities of the program? No. We require one (1) founder/C-suite member to travel to the cities where the workshops will be held, only for the length of each workshop. We also require that the same founder/C-suite member participate in all activities of each workshop. Additional team members are welcomed to join the workshops. Startups will receive a stipend for one (1) founder/C-suite member to travel to the workshops.

  • Do you take equity for participating in the program? No. Village Capital is structured as a non-profit and cannot take equity. If financial considerations prevent you from participating, please discuss this with us on a case-by-case basis.

Please reach out to to learn more.