IFC and VCs Want to Take Emerging Market Microfinance to Mobile

The developing world needs more fintech companies to extend financial inclusion to consumers and small businesses who aren’t being served by existing banks. That’s the thinking behind several venture capital firms which are working with the International Finance Corporation (IFC). A member of the World Bank Group, the IFC is partnering with Chicago-based Victory Park Capital (VPC) to launch a new fund to invest in fintech companies in the developing world. The partnership aims to improve access to debt capital for financial technology companies that lend to small businesses and consumers in emerging markets.

Brendan Carroll, co-founder and senior partner at VPC, said the fund would look at opportunities in Africa, Asia and South America and also India and China, although both those countries already have active fintech investors.

Investors think more fintech firms will expand financial activity for individuals and SMEs in developing markets.

“We will work with the IFC in looking for fintech companies that are looking to provide more flexible credit to consumers or small businesses,” Carroll said. He expects to find opportunities in Brazil and Argentina where there is massive market opportunity and a lot of transactions take place on mobile devices.

“In many ways their mobile environment is more sophisticated than in the United States.”

The first investment was in Africa with plans to expand to India.

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