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Three Powerful Tools for Fintech Practitioners

Posted By Jane Del Ser, Bankable Frontier Associates, Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, January 17, 2018

By David del Ser

(Watch our video)

Since we launched the Catalyst Fund in 2015, we have helped 15 fintech entrepreneurs deploy novel approaches to bring products and services to their customers. We have distilled the successful patterns and behaviors we have observed into toolkits and posts for those considering fintech methods for their businesses, whether they be startups or established players.


At a high level, successful fintech startups adopt principles of Design, Risk Management and Product Management, and also put modern technologies like smartphones, artificial intelligence and cloud computing at the core of their value propositions. At successful fintech startups Designers, Product Managers, CEOs and Engineers reinforce each other in multidisciplinary teams to explore the overlap between what customers find desirable, what engineers can build, and what the business requires to grow.

Design

The function of Design is to represent the voice of the customer at all times to make sure a company stays centered on what matters most. Design is not a one-off process. In the spirit of customer validation, designers keep tight feedback loops with customers throughout the product development process, from early prototypes to usability testing of new features.


Through user research (UX) techniques like online surveys and one-one-one interviews, designers invest heavily during initial stages in order to know their customers like the back of their hand; what are their problems and pain points, and how can their company help? In fact, designers segment customers into personas to allow the team to constantly keep in mind different user profiles and needs.


Aesthetics matter. Designers work hard to perfect a product’s UI and its look and feel, so it can live up to the high expectations created by WhatsApp or Google. But great design goes beyond just user research and visuals during early product design stages. Successful inclusive fintech startups map out the Customer Journey and Service Blueprint in detail to fully understand the perspective of the user each time they  interact with the company.


Ultimately, great design creates trust, that elusive quality that all startups are chasing and that distinguishes them from their competitors. We’ve captured our lessons for startups to build trust with their customers through their products or services in our Design for Trust Toolkit.


Product Management

But designers can’t work in isolation; they need someone to lead the orchestra - and that’s where a product manager comes in. The PM takes a big picture view and works to ensure that designers, engineers and marketers all work towards the same goal. Crucially, she makes sure the product or service goal is backed by data and evidence. She keeps the whole process nimble through quick agile iterations focused on the activities of users, from initial onboarding to the retention phase. For example, using A/B Testing and usage analytics she captures details of how each users is interacting with every screen to inform engagement.


The effective product manager is very focused on the key metrics for the business, such as customer lifetime value or acquisition costs. She also works hard to explore the best channels to find new customers, including viral referrals and social media. As an example, our portfolio company Destacame has seen lead acquisition costs dropping to less than $3 through these types of digital channels. We explore some of the different tools and frameworks to help startups focus as they chart their journey from idea, to minimum viable product (MVP) and growth in our upcoming product/market fit toolkit.

Modern Technologies

And finally, you can’t have good fintech without the “tech” that is enabling these new approaches.


Most important are the smartphones, which run fintech apps and also act as channels to find and interact with users. For instance, several of our startups use WhatsApp to offer customer support and drive virality, communicating with users in the way they prefer. Smartphones can also be used to generate and capture user data, which is particularly valuable when targeting low-income consumers who traditionally have been anonymous. In that vein, our portfolio company Smile Identity validates and authenticates customer identities using selfies taken on their phones.


In addition machine learning and other artificial intelligence systems can improve customer value propositions and to automate internal processes like credit scoring using data from smartphones and other new sources like satellites. As an example, our portfolio company ToGarantido is exploring chatbots for sales of their insurance policies and customer support. Harvesting is using satellite data to understand credit and insurance risk with just a GPS read. Worldcover doesn’t even need customers to file a claim as their satellite systems award them automatically.


And software engineering helped Escala and Paygo Energy to automate most of their back-office processes to be responsive to their customers. It is easier and more affordable than ever for startups to leverage affordable SaaS solutions to architect their systems. Likewise, cloud computing is also a powerful technology that offers simplicity, lower costs and flexibility. There is no need to commit capital to purchase hardware and the team requires less engineering talent to keep the servers going.

Conclusion

In our experience, companies that harness the powerful combination of design, product management and modern technologies create better and more tailored value propositions. That makes for happier customers, which is what makes businesses thrive. By driving more usage, the fintech triad can create more impact in low-income populations. And digital channels and automated processes can significantly lower costs of serving customers, allowing for expansion to new markets and reducing exclusion.


Learn more by joining us for our webinar on the Catalyst Fund toolkits during the ANDE Sector Update call in January. Register here.


Tags:  Acceleration  accelerator  accelerators  Africa  ANDE Africa  Base of the Pyramid  brazil  Business Models  capacity development  early stage ecosystem  emerging markets  entrepreneurship  finance  financial inclusion  fintech  Grants Rockefeller  impact investing  impact investment  inclusive innovation  India  India; ANDE members  innovation  Kenya  Latin America  mentoring  Mexico  SGBs; accelerators; East Africa  smaholder farmers  smes  social enterprise  social entrepreneurship  social innovation  webinar  West Africa 

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Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) follow-up info

Posted By Kristen Gendron, U.S. Agency for International Development, Friday, January 30, 2015

ANDE members,

Thanks to those who joined yesterday's webinar on Development Innovation Ventures (DIV)! It was great to connect and hear your insightful questions.

We are excited about working with ANDE members to help drive great innovators to the financial and non-financial resources DIV can offer. I am sharing with you some tools that will be helpful in those efforts. Below/attached you’ll find:

  • Quick description of DIV  
  • Draft social media content: many DIV applicants have found out about us through social media
  • DIV Factsheet (attached): feel free to share widely

I look forward to connecting further with your organizations in these efforts. Please feel free to reach out to me in the ANDE portal anytime.

Warm regards,

Kristen and the DIV team

***********************

About DIV

Development Innovation Ventures is an open competition supporting breakthrough solutions to development challenges around the world. DIV is looking for applicants in any sector, from any organization, company, or individual in almost any country in the world whose innovative ideas match our principles of cost-effectiveness, evidence of impact, and potential to scale. DIV invests grant financing in winners ranging from under $150,000 to $15 million.

Social Media Tools

Twitter

  • Looking for seed financing or scaling support? @DIVatUSAID winners receive up to $15M. Apply today http://goo.gl/dHJ44d
  • Help spread the word about @DIVatUSAID to innovators in #GlobalDev around the world! Apply now! http://goo.gl/dHJ44d
  • #Innovation competition @USAID looks for bold #globaldev ideas from anyone, anywhere. Apply to @DIVatUSAID now. http://goo.gl/dHJ44d

Facebook

  • Do you have the next big idea to change the world? Apply to USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures. You could receive up to $15M for your innovative solution. http://goo.gl/dHJ44d
  • Need seed funding to test and scale your development solution? USAID’s DIV accepts proposals year-round for innovations that will solve the world’s biggest development challenges. Apply now! http://goo.gl/dHJ44d
  • USAID’s DIV is an open competition supporting breakthrough solutions to development challenges around the world. Ideas can come from anyone, any sector, anywhere. Submit your application today http://goo.gl/dHJ44d 

Fact Sheet

Attached to give innovators an overview of DIV. This also on the DIV website.

 

*PS  - If you missed the ANDE - DIV 101 session yesterday and would like to watch, please connect with your membership manager Susannah Eastham.

 Attached Files:

Tags:  Acceleration  Access to Finance  early stage ecosystem  finance  Global. Development  Grants  Grants Rockefeller  High-Growth Entrepreneurship  impact evaluation  impact investment  innovation  Investors  missing middle  Philanthropy; impact investing  Private sector development  Public sector  social ent  social enterprise  social impact  social metrics 

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Guardian Newspaper Interview with Peter Damian Mbama

Posted By Oluwatosin Kukoyi, RegCharles Finance and Capital Ltd, Friday, April 19, 2013
Hello all, 
Please find below the link to an interview conducted by Guardian Newspaper with Peter Damian Mbama (MD/CEO, RegCharles Finance and Capital Ltd) on the Control of Inflation and Determination of MPR.
 
http://www.ngrguardiannews.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=119205:determination-of-mpr-inflation-control-need-new-strategies-says-mbama&catid=31:business&Itemid=562
 
Happy Reading!

Tags:  accelerators  Access to Finance  Africa  Agriculture  ANDE Members  early stage ecosystem  East Africa  Entrepreneurship  Environment  Financial Times  Grants Rockefeller  impact investing  inclusive business  Incubation  Philanthropy  Philanthropy; impact investing  SGBs; Environment; accelerators; energy  Social entrepreneurship  supply chain  sustainability  Women  Youth 

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The Rockefeller Foundation to Award Grants of up to $100,000 for Ideas on Transforming Livelihoods in the Informal Economy

Posted By Mary Mwangi, Argidius Foundation, Monday, February 25, 2013

Greetings from the Centennial Innovation Challenge Team!

Last year, The Rockefeller Foundation launched the first Innovation Challenge in order to identify breakthrough ideas that solve some of humanity’s most pressing challenges.

In celebration of our centennial, The Rockefeller Foundation has this year launched the Centennial Innovation Challenge, which is an open call for ideas and innovations that will transform the livelihoods of poor or vulnerable people working in the informal economy. The Rockefeller Foundation is calling on your ingenuity and on-the-ground experience to chart new paths that will transform the lives of billions working in informal economies across the globe

It is often out of necessity that 1.8 billion people find their livelihoods in the informal economy –the business enterprises and jobs that exist partially or completely outside of government regulation.Informal employment is a significant and growing part of the world’s economy; it accounts for around 50% of employment in North Africa and in Latin America, 65% of employment in Asia, and 72% in Sub-Saharan Africa.Informal workers lack basic safety nets like pensions and health insurance, and are typically without recourse if they are denied pay or are compelled to work in unsafe conditions. Improving working conditions, legal rights, and social benefits for informal workers would open new pathways to economic and social empowerment for millions of poor or vulnerable people worldwide.

The Centennial Innovation Challenge will consider as many as 10 of the finalists for the opportunity to apply for a grant of up to $100,000 and win support in proposal-writing to enable the further development of submitted ideas.

Interested parties can submit their innovative ideas for the Centennial Innovation Challenge Transforming Livelihoods in the Informal Economy by April 1, 2013.

The competition is open to all individuals and organizations (charitable organizations, private companies, or public entities, as well as formal or informal entities, e.g. an association, guild, student group, or village) from all countries. We will consider all entries that meet the eligibility requirements.

All entries will not be available for public viewing and only the Centennial Innovation Challenge team and expert judges will assess the entries. All intellectual property rights will be retained by the entrants

For any assistance or clarity in completing the entry form or for further information, please contact Jaqi at jaqi@rfinnovationchallenges.org.

Please circulate this information to all your networks.

Tags:  Grants Rockefeller 

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