Over the summer, people around the world reported decreases of income between 30 to 80 percent, as well as decreases in savings.
The pandemic has highlighted the difference between financial inclusion and financial health. The former is about access to a bank account, the latter is about resiliency, security, and people’s ability to plan for the future. While fintech has been celebrated for its potential to bring about more access to banking and payments, a study supported by MetLife Foundation found that access doesn’t paint the full picture. In Kenya, 82 percent of people had an account, but only 9 percent were financially secure. In the United States, 93 percent had an account, but only 33 percent were secure.
This gap is only widening nearly a year into the pandemic and global economic crisis. With the majority of countries on the edge of recession, there’s never been a greater need for innovation that helps people weather the storm and improve their financial health.
Finance Forward is a multi-year global coalition – led by Village Capital and our founding partners MetLife Foundation and PayPal – to support entrepreneurs building tech-enabled solutions to challenges around financial health. This year, many of the companies selected for Finance Forward cohorts are addressing financial challenges exacerbated by the pandemic. Here are a few examples.
Stoovo (San Francisco, United States)
As more workers become full-time freelancers in a challenging economy, Stoovo (Finance Forward US) uses AI to help gig workers earn more – recommending the best-paying gigs, platforms and times to work. Stoovo also offers a cash advance service that lets people take home the same amount every month, and avoid income volatility.
Markit (Beirut, Lebanon)
Grocery delivery has more than doubled in many countries in the Middle East since the start of the pandemic, creating an opportunity for small corner stores -- or a danger of getting left behind. Markit (Finance Forward MENA) is an on-demand grocery delivery service, allowing the owners of small and medium-sized grocers to offer their inventory and delivery services to customers through an online platform.
U-Zave (Santiago, Chile)
Saving for the future is a key indicator of financial health. But less than half of people in Latin America say they are able to save for the future. U-Zave (Finance Forward Latin America) helps Latin Americans build their savings through a platform where a percentage of every purchase they make is collected in a mutual fund that they can use to build a nest egg.
Finclude Ai (Dublin, Ireland)
Migrants have been at the frontline of COVID-19 response but have been locked out of financial stability. Finclude (Finance Forward Europe) is poised to relieve a major pain point for Europeans - providing a pan-European creditworthiness and affordability score - which disproportionately affects economic migrants working in other EU countries.
Supermoney (Mumbai, India)
Workers and business owners are facing one of the most challenging economic outlooks in years. In India, Supermoney (Finance Forward India) is a financial wellness platform helping gig economy workers and micro entrepreneurs who may lack access to traditional financial services.
Entrepreneurs and investors: want to get involved in Village Capital’s network of financial health solutions? Our matching platform, Abaca, has a network of more than 6,000 entrepreneurs and investors. Get started on Abaca for free today.