Our SoCAP 16 ReCAP

The Catalyst Fund Panel, The Customer Trust Workshop and A Very Happy Hour

Catalyst Fund was quite busy at SoCAP16 with a session panel about the funds approach to accelerating early stage inclusive finch startups, a special workshop about building customer trust and hosting a fintech ecosystem happy hour. Actually, we’re not sure if the team was entirely at SoCAP. Their bronzed complexions and intense fatigue made rest of team think that was some “conference.” Wave hunting by day. Trance by night. Stories that stayed behind.

From left to right: Nick Quintong (PayGo Energy), Tahira Dosani (Accion Venture Lab), David Del Ser (Catalyst Fund), Colleen Briggs (JPMC), and Dave Kim (Gates)

The Catalyst Fund Sessions

Our session “Next in Financial Inclusion: A New Type of Fund to Catalyst Inclusive Fintech” was received really well. Dave Kim did a superb job of moderating and peppering the panel with questions and thoughtful takeaways. We were pleased that the panel showcased our unique mix of forces at work at Catalyst Fund: donors, impact investors, entrepreneurs and fund managers. It is this formulated approach of blended grant capital, wraparound services that should accelerate inclusive fintech companies more meaningfully, in concert with the startup and market needs.

Philanthropic capital is still needed to bridge the funding gap for early innovators who can’t yet access impact investors capital #SOCAP16
Starting the In DFS We Trust Workshop

In DFS We Trust

At the same time, the Catalyst Fund team was hard at work to launch the first edition of the “In DFS We Trust” workshop for the Catalyst Fund investees, Destacame, PayGo Energy, WorldCover, Atikus and ESCALA. Part of our support to investees is internal programming that addresses knowledge building needs of early stage startups. In this case, we started with how to build customer trust.

Digital Financial Services (DFS) are the next frontier of financial inclusion. There is no doubt that tech applied to financial inclusion can solve a lot of delivery and distribution problems. But consider the human and behavioral factors of the customers. In these markets, especially in financial services and for data companies, building trust is a significant challenge as we’re talking about one’s money. For new and unproven fintech entrants, developing trust is key to reaching customers and capturing market share.

The workshop focused on identifying what the dos and don’ts are along each startup’s customer journey to create and maintain trust with the users. The team discussed many variables that contribute to customers’ perception of trust and distilled it in 5 core elements:

  1. Competence
  2. Control
  3. Transparency
  4. Appearance
  5. Confidentiality

Each startup took a deeper a look at their own customer journeys to see where they are creating or destroying trust. Startups found the exercise very valuable.

“Trust is central to our value proposition and the success of our business,” said said all the CEOs at the table.
“I found the exercise very useful, especially for PayGo, and I’m going to build on it when I get back to my team,” the CEO of PayGo Energy stated.

As a next step, the Catalyst Fund Team will work on refining the framework and creating a set of resources for the benefit of all future cohorts. Stay tuned!

Catalyst Fund Mavericks from left to right: Maelis, Nick, Nancy, Tahira, David, Jonathan, Adam, and Mary

Time to Be Merry

To top off our packed week at SoCAP, Catalyst Fund partnered with Accion Venture Lab, Village Capital and CFSI at the Fintech Happy Hour. Our collective efforts brought together several hundred attendees to meet over 20 startup companies leading innovation in inclusive fintech for an evening of conversation and exchange. It is exciting to see how rapidly this space is growing as well the creativity of solutions that are getting closer and closer to underserved customers.

We look forward to next year’s conference and seeing how much our alumni have grown and introducing our latest investees.


Catalyst Fund accelerates promising inclusive fintech startups and spurs innovation in financial inclusion in emerging markets with the support of the Gates Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co and the collaboration of Accion Venture Lab, Omidyar Network, Gray Ghost Ventures, Quona Capital and Rockefeller Philanthropy Associates.

Stay connected by signing up for the Catalyst Fund mailing list and joining the Inclusive Fintech Group on LinkedIn.

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