Village Capital, with support from MetLife Foundation in Brazil and Mexico and Moody’s, is launching Finance Forward Latin America 2021, the third iteration of the investment-readiness program for early-stage financial health startups in Latin America.
Part of a multi-year global coalition to support entrepreneurs on four continents, last year’s regional program supported ventures from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico. This year’s program will support one cohort of 10 to 12 Latin American startups, which will be announced in August.
10-12 startups, addressing financial health challenges for low-to-moderate income communities and/or small and medium businesses, are selected to participate.
Startups will engage in a rigorous feedback and evaluation process with a cohort of their peers, as part of Village Capital’s award-winning curriculum.
As we recruit entrepreneurs, we will focus on innovation that responds to the urgent needs of workers and small businesses in Latin America, a region that has seen major challenges from the coronavirus pandemic:
Workers: Latin America has a large informal economy that has been devastated by the pandemic. For the first time, Village Capital Latin America is prioritizing innovating around the Future of Work: technology that helps gig and contract workers reduce income volatility, upskill their skill sets, and access better benefits and emergency cash.
Small Businesses: Millions of small and medium-sized businesses have closed their doors due to the pandemic and more are expected to do so. We’re interested in innovation that will increase access to tools, technology and financing for SMEs that often operate informally and depend on physical channels to reach their customers.
On a broader scale, we are also interested in innovation that incentivizes both businesses and individuals to transition into the formal economy.
Have legal incorporation and operations as a for-profit entity in at least one Latin American country.
Have a market-based solution that tackles the challenges for low-to-moderate income communities and individuals in Latin America.
Have at least one full-time founder based in Latin America.
Be in compliance under local fiscal and business law.
Have a minimum viable product (MVP), and raised less than $1M in equity.
Have meaningful customer or business validation (not limited to revenue, it can also be successful pilot studies, number of users, and/or strategic partnerships).
Focus on inequities: Solutions supporting communities facing financial health inequities based on age, gender, geographic location or income level.
Focus on individuals or small and medium businesses: Solutions addressing financial health challenges for individuals and/or small and medium businesses.
Focus on economic opportunity: Solutions that measurably improve the income and/or wealth level of individuals and businesses.
Focus on agency: Solutions that empower users with agency over their financial decisions.
Focus on cultural and behavioral sensitivity: Solutions that use a creative, cultural, and behavioral lens.
Benefits startups will receive:
Ability to meet with and receive mentorship from potential strategic partners, investors, potential customers, and other founders.
Ability to network and receive mentorship from prominent Latin American and U.S. investors.
Access to a diverse and inclusive network of mentors and founders within the financial health and fintech sectors.
Access to an investment analyst who will coach them 1:1 on building a financial model, identifying unit economics, and using financial metrics to drive both the business and investor diligence.
Access to live and asynchronous sessions tailored to a virtual learning environment to help their companies identify early milestones and prepare for their next round of capital (if relevant) or big expansion.
Participate in mock board meetings with representatives from financial institutions, corporates, experienced entrepreneurs, and investors that can help their company scale.
Exposure on Village Capital’s program website and other communications collateral.
Join our growing network of mentors here.
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 workshops, we deliver a targeted, award-winning curriculum and provide countless connections to prepare startups for growth.
Do you take equity for participating in the program? No.
For more detailed responses to these and more questions. Please click here.