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Credit Stretcher and Finclude Ai Peer-Selected for Investment During Village Capital’s Finance Forward Europe 2020 Accelerator Program

Each startup will receive $45,000 in grant funding from the MetLife Foundation

29 October, 2020 (Washington, DC) Village Capital today announced that Credit Stretcher and Finclude were peer-selected to receive investment as a part of Finance Forward Europe 2020, an investment-readiness program that is a part of Finance Forward, a multi-year global coalition led by founding partners MetLife Foundation and PayPal to support entrepreneurs on four continents who are building tech-enabled solutions to place-based challenges around financial health.

“Coronavirus has significantly impacted the financial health of millions of Europeans, 40 million of whom were already financially excluded from the traditional banking system prior to the pandemic,” said Marta Zaccagnini, Program Manager for Village Capital Europe. “The Next Generation EU (NGEU) coronavirus recovery plan shows that European governments understand that digital products are a necessary and timely solution to many of Europe's most intractable problems, including financial health. Here at Village Capital we are proud to be working with early-stage startups such as CreditStretcher, who are providing fair access to credit to small business owners, and Finclude, whose pan-European creditworthiness product is poised to relieve a major pain point for Europeans, which disproportionately affects economic migrants working in other EU countries.”

“PayPal and its employees are committed to serving financially excluded populations across Europe,” said Michael Klein, Leader of the local PayPal Germany GIVE Team, an employee volunteer group. “It has been a privilege to have the opportunity to use our internal expertise to help the next generation of startups scale and grow, like P, who are developing a solution for migrants in the EU to pay bills for their families back home”.

“The MetLife Foundation’s mission is to build financial health and improve resilience of customers to deal with uncertainty” says Carmina Dragomir,  General Manager of Metropolitan Life Romania. “COVID-19 has made us reassess and rethink so much. To me innovation means reinvention which makes this the perfect time to be supporting the ten startups from Finance Forward Europe who are developing innovative solutions to solve financial health challenges in Europe. 

Credit Stretcher and Finclude were selected for investment by a group of peer entrepreneurs on the final day of Finance Forward Europe 2020, a 5 week long virtual venture development program managed by Village Capital in collaboration with MetLife Foundation and PayPal. The ten entrepreneurs in the program evaluated each other through an investor lens, using eight specific investment criteria that leverage Village Capital’s Abaca Pathway. Credit Stretcher and Finclude were ranked “most investment ready.” The two companies are focused on the following:

  • CreditStretcher (Copenhagen, Denmark) is building a solution that will enable SMEs to grow by providing fair access to credit through upfront financing on invoices to the small and medium businesses, and extending interest-free credit for up to 90 days to the buyer.
  • Finclude (Dublin, Ireland) provides a pan-European creditworthiness and affordability score, enabling financial institutions and individuals to universally assess the financial standing of a user by utilizing transactional behavior analysis and machine learning, on top of open banking APIs.

Three further companies, Vested Impact, Libeen Smart Housing and Pipit, who ranked 3-5 in the peer review process, will receive $20,000 in funding from the MetLife Foundation. These three companies are focused on the following:

  • Vested (London, England) is an impact investing platform that employs a proprietary algorithm to assess and track the impact of an investment to enable people to invest their money in companies and assets that have the biggest positive impact on society.
  • Libeen #SmartHousing (Madrid, Spain) enables individuals, regardless of income level or savings, to access affordable homeownership through a simple, smart and flexible rent-to-buy lease format.
  • Pipit (Galway, Ireland) enables migrants living in Europe to send cross-border payments in cash to pay family members’ bills more affordably, while controlling how the money is being spent.

The remaining companies in the Finance Forward Europe 2020 cohort were:

  • Elifinity (London, England)  is solving the problem of financial vulnerability in the UK and abroad through an AI-driven platform that connects with an individual’s data in a secure way to predict current and future financial challenges. 
  • FinMarie (Berlin, Germany) empowers women to achieve financial independence by offering one-stop financial advice and a cost-effective investment solution. The solution provides an online investment platform that uses robo advisor tools, and offers education about money and investing through one on one mentor sessions and social media workshops.
  • Portabl (London, England) provides flexible insurance, benefits and financial packages to address systemic issues that freelancers and gig-economy workers face globally. 
  • TellJO (Brighton, England) TellJO's customer wellbeing assessment empowers social landlords,  utilities and financial institutions to better understand and serve vulnerable customers.
  • Worig (Zagreb, Croatia) is building a solution for tenants to simplify access to the housing market by removing the high costs and risks associated with renting a new home.

For more information, reach out to Rustin Finkler at Village Capital (rustin.finkler@vilcap.com).

About Village Capital

Village Capital helps entrepreneurs bring big ideas from vision to scale. Our mission is to reinvent the system to back the entrepreneurs of the future. Our vision is a future where business creates equity and long-term prosperity. Since 2009, we have supported more than 1,000 early-stage entrepreneurs through our investment readiness programs. Our affiliated fund, VilCap Investments, has invested in more than 100 program graduates, including 8 early-stage US fintech companies like Vault, Fig Loans, and Finix.

About MetLife Foundation

At MetLife Foundation, we are committed to expanding opportunities for low- and moderate-income people around the world. We partner with nonprofit organizations and social enterprises to create financial health solutions and build stronger communities, while engaging MetLife employee volunteers to help drive impact. MetLife Foundation was established in 1976 to continue MetLife’s long tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. From its founding through the end of 2019, MetLife Foundation provided more than $860 million in grants and $85 million in program-related investments to make a positive impact in the communities where MetLife operates. Our financial health work has reached more than 13.4 million low- and moderate-income individuals in 42 countries. To learn more about MetLife Foundation, visit the website here.

About PayPal

PayPal has remained at the forefront of the digital payment revolution for more than 20 years. By leveraging technology to make financial services and commerce more convenient, affordable, and secure, the PayPal platform is empowering more than 300 million consumers and merchants in more than 200 markets to join and thrive in the global economy. For more information, visit paypal.com.