Published in

Introducing FinX

Universal Financial Inclusion in the 21st Century

Logo for FinX, an initiative of Mercy Corps Ventures, the impact investing division of the global development org Mercy Corps
Farmer in Kenya accessing financial services from his phone

What We Mean By Transformative Fintech

  • Emerging technologies are making it possible for any company to become a financial services provider (Angela Strange, a16z). This is happening even faster in developing countries where people are essentially leapfrogging the traditional financial system and transacting exclusively over their phones with mobile money created by telcos (similar to how they leapfrogged traditional telecommunications and the landline). Customers with deep relationships and strong brand loyalty make the possibility of having a non-bank offer you a loan, savings products, or even insurance not just palatable but even preferable.
  • More than 70% of the world’s central banks are exploring the merits of central bank digital currencies. But for this to work we’ll need open and interoperable payment rails — universal, open, and user-directed payment networks (Dante Disparte, HBR).
  • The new fintech “stack” of digital currencies, wallets, and blockchain-enabled applications (decentralized finance) are presenting the promise of no/low-cost access for all, especially for those who need it the most. With user-directed (peer-to-peer) payments, we no longer need to pay high fees to intermediaries — both the sender’s bank and the receiver’s bank — and can transact directly with others. Blockchain-based applications can code compliance “on-chain” and make fraud even easier to detect. All of this means unbanked people can now access free/affordable payments and financial services and/or intermediaries can recalibrate their cost structure and reprice what they offer to be more equitable and accessible.
  • Data empowerment, privacy, and digital ID are providing people with the opportunity to manage their own data and generate value. People can control their data and decide who can access it, while self-sovereign identity systems with data portability could empower users to generate value through their engagement in digital and financial interactions.

Next Generation Impact

  • Demos not Memos — Ground our aspiration on tangible demos, pilots, and investments in companies that emphasize traction against real-world challenges.
  • People First — Take a persona-based approach to test new technologies in relation to people’s/firm’s capacities, needs, constraints, and concerns.
  • Evidence-based — Use rigorous Impact Measurement & Management approaches to test product/market fit, create real data points, and get us beyond “this sounds like it will work.”
  • Transformational — Build catalytic partnerships and drive toward outcomes that are transformational, scalable, sustainable, and replicable within and across countries.
  • Transparent — Develop real world use cases in real-time and share insights, learnings, and failures along the way.



FinX is an initiative of Mercy Corps Ventures that is leveraging the 40+ years of experience in frontier markets and financial inclusion of Mercy Corps to reimagine the financial system with the world’s most vulnerable at the center of its design

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Amanda West

Recovering social entrepreneur excited to work on a fund that puts entrepreneurs first