Last Mile Money is launching a FinTech accelerator for startups innovating around Cash-In/Cash-Out (CICO) challenges in South Asia and Sub Saharan Africa.
What is Last Mile Money?
Last Mile Money is a global collaborative network focused on connecting underserved communities to the digital economy. It is a program led by IDEO and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation working closely with the Women and Money program of the former which operates in six countries: Tanzania, Bangladesh, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, and India; to surface the complex realities that keep women excluded from financial services and build Digital Financial Services (DFS) that unlock new opportunities to include women.
What are CICO services and why are they important in DFS?
In emerging markets around the world, there is a trend being observed that the customers who want to use DFS can do so only if they’re able to convert cash into e-money and back again, as needed. In other words, the expansion of DFS among a larger clientele base depends not only on providing more attractive DFS use cases to people but also on building out broader, more convenient CICO networks that enable more people to start using DFS.
CICO has become a very important prerequisite for the acceptance of FinTech startups across the globe including in countries like Pakistan with the increasing popularity of platforms like EasyPaisa, JazzCash, UPaisa etc.
What does it have for you?
Last Mile Money prototypes, pilots, and invests in new ventures alongside a global network of businesses, NGOs, philanthropies, and governments to enable digital inclusion through innovative DFS that reach to all levels of a society.
Grant Capital: The startups that are selected for the Last Mile Money accelerator will receive $50K USD.
Product Design Support: The selected startup will receive product design support from the designers of IDEO, which is a global design company having world-class design thinkers and innovators. Last Mile Money program helps DFS ventures in building digital confidence. It does so by providing tools developed by partners like IDEO, Google, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation which help teams design digital services for internet users of different kinds. Startups will be able to see their applications with fresh eyes, design new flows, develop innovative interaction patterns, or even brainstorm a brand-new product.
Networking opportunity: Last Mile Money’s pool of design thinkers and mentors would help the selected startup reach its audiences by refining its strategies on each step. The networks would help the startups in increasing their customer base, reach out to potential business partners, attract investments and find new suppliers.
What sort of projects does Last Mile Money undertake?
- Ecommerce: Last Mile Money took an initiative in India named Smart Shaktis. It partnered with Hindustan Unilever Limited to enable over 100,000 rural women merchants to order and pay their distributors digitally.
- Inculcating Design Confidence: Last Mile Money catalyzes product teams to build inclusive digital services for new internet users. It has provided tools (developed by IDEO, Google, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) to many fintechs to help product teams design digital services that work for everyone. Regardless of where they live, what language they speak, or which device they use.
- Empowering Mobile Money Agents: Last Mile Money convened a cohort of 7 mobile money agent networks in India and East/West Africa who collectively reach 300,000 agents. They partnered directly with both the agent networks and rural agents to co-design solutions to the key challenges they’re facing, including agent onboarding, liquidity management, and increasing agent revenue.
- Easing the Remittances Route: For people who live and work abroad, sending money home can be expensive, complicated and nerve wracking. Identifying this problem, Last Mile Money partnered with NOW Money, a fast growing neobank serving new-to-banking users, to design a better digital banking experience around money transfers.
Why should you be applying?
This is a great opportunity for anyone with an innovative CICO solution. As mentioned above, the selected startup will receive world class product design support from IDEO designers, network connections, and $50k USD in grant capital.
Deadline: July 11th, 2021!
Accelerator website: https://lastmile.money/accelerator
Application form: https://tinyurl.com/37jvnh8r
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