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Startups Peer-Selected for Investment During Village Capital’s Finance Forward US 2020 Accelerator Program

Manifest and Home Lending Pal will receive $45K and three other startups will receive $20K in grant funding from MetLife Foundation

Washington, DC (December 7, 2020) —Village Capital, with support from MetLife Foundation and PayPal, today announced that two startups, Manifest and Home Lending Pal, were selected to receive grant funding as a part of Finance Forward US 2020.

Finance Forward US 2020 is an investment-readiness program that is part of Finance Forward, a multi-year global coalition to support entrepreneurs on four continents who are building tech-enabled solutions to place-based challenges around financial health.

“Over the past decade we’ve seen advances in financial inclusion in the U.S.,” said Marcia Chong Rosado, Future of Finance Practice Lead at Village Capital. “But, simply being included is not enough, especially during a pandemic. We see clearly that the products and services in our communities need to enable people to actually build their financial health — to manage their income, get a loan when they need it, and plan for their financial future. I’m incredibly excited to work with startups like Manifest, Homelending Pal, Dovly, Perch, and Stoovo who are making this a reality for communities in the U.S.”

“MetLife Foundation is proud to support Finance Forward’s entrepreneurs,” said Meredith Ryan- Reid, Head of Financial Wellness & Engagement, MetLife. “On top of being innovative in their use of digital technology, these entrepreneurs are deeply committed to serving low-and moderate-income people and helping those most affected by the pandemic build financial health in these difficult times.”

“Too many people in the U.S. are historically excluded, overlooked and underserved by the financial system," said Julie Vennewitz-Pierce, Director of PayPal Gives at PayPal. "For the past seven years, PayPal has worked with Village Capital to support entrepreneurs with innovative solutions to improve the financial health of individuals and small businesses around the world. We congratulate the peer-selected companies of Finance Forward US 2020 who are making an impact in the small business community and people across the U.S.” 

Manifest and Home Lending Pal were selected for investment by a group of peer entrepreneurs on the final day of Finance Forward US 2020, a 5-week-long virtual venture development program managed by Village Capital in collaboration with MetLife Foundation and PayPal. The 11 entrepreneurs in the program evaluated each other through an investor lens, using eight specific investment criteria that leverage Village Capital’s Abaca Pathway. Manifest and Home Lending Pal were ranked “most investment ready” and will receive $45K each in grant funding from MetLife Foundation. The two companies are focused on the following:

  • Manifest (Chicago, Illinois) makes 401(k) transfers seamless - maximizing retirement outcomes and eliminating administrative hurdles.
  • Home Lending Pal (Orlando, Florida) is utilizing blockchain as part of a protocol for assessing mortgage purchase readiness risk through federated attestation-based identity verification.

Three additional companies, Dovly, Perch, and Stoovo, who ranked 3-5 in the peer review process, will receive $20K in grant funding from MetLife Foundation. These three companies are focused on the following:

  • Dovly (Phoenix, Arizona) is an advanced credit repair engine that tracks, manages, and fixes credit.
  •  Perch (Los Angeles, California) helps people improve their credit score, save towards goals, and learn more about personal finances— all in one app.
  • Stoovo (Sunnyvale, California) gives independent workers access to earning opportunities and financial products that reduce income volatility.

The remaining companies that worked to accelerate their businesses as part of the Finance Forward US 2020 cohort were:

  • All_ebt (Pasadena, California) is expanding food stamp use to online platforms.
  • FundBLACKFounders (New York City, New York) is a rewards-based crowdfunding platform for Black-owned small businesses and startups.
  • Golden (San Anselmo, California) is financial care for 50M senior parents - alerting families to secure their loved ones’ financial health – stopping fraud, reducing expenses, paying for healthcare, and increasing income and benefits.
  • Hurry Home (South Bend, Indiana) is the path to homeownership for families looking to purchase their first home valued at $80K or less.
  • Lifesaver (New York City, New York) provides an inside sales platform for community and regional financial institutions in the US.
  • Nickels (Ann Arbor, Michigan) provides digital products that unlock new business opportunities for banks by using behavioral science to improve their customers’ financial health.

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 metlife.org.

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.