Catalyst, a digital payments initiative has announced the launch of applications for its incubator focused on ‘Fintech for the Last Mile’.
The incubator will support financial technology innovations that cater to the specific needs and requirements of small businesses and low-income consumers. Selected start-ups will be supported through grants funding (up to 33 lakhs each), market access, mentorship, technology infrastructure, research, and operations support for conducting product experiments.
They will also have access to Catalyst’s broader ecosystem, including other fintech companies, traditional financial institutions, government departments, policy makers, and knowledge partners through Catalyst’s FinPosium events.
Speaking at the launch, Badal Malick, CEO, Catalyst said, “There are unique challenges faced by low-income underserved groups like financial literacy barriers, high variability in income and expenditure flows, informal credit agreements, difficulty in negotiating complex interfaces, etc. which aren’t being addressed by the current market. Virtually all fintech products in the market today serve the needs of affluent, urban, English speaking and internet-connected audiences. Our incubator seeks to close this gap by supporting entrepreneurs with a vision to develop technology and business solutions that address these unmet needs.”
He added, “Apart from access to Catalyst’s strong network across the venture funding, banking, and fintech industry, grantees will also benefit from our on-ground presence in Jaipur – our ‘digital payments lab’, providing them a chance to test and iterate their solutions with real users and customers, and an established learning infrastructure.”
To support this initiative, Catalyst has established cross sector- partnerships with organisations such as Aspada, SAIF Partners, Accion, MasterCard, Axis Bank, Aditya Birla Payments Bank, Capital Float among others for funding and operational support to the incubatees.
Rakesh Mishra – well-known start up advisor and former Head of Innovation Centre at Infosys is the program advisor for the Incubator. Mentors to the incubator include Rohan Agrish- CTO Capital Float, Sanjay Swamy- Managing Partner Prime Ventures and Alok Mittal- CEO Indifi Technologies.
Catalyst Incubator is inviting applications from start-up businesses for its first cohort till 15th Sept 2017. To apply, interested start-ups can submit their pitch decks at: http://cashlesscatalyst.org/incubator/.
Catalyst is an initiative seeded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as a part of its collaboration agreement with the Government of India (GOI) to increase the adoption of digital payments by underserved and marginalized communities in India.
It is working to help India’s small businesses and low-income consumers unlock the power of digital payments to gain access to broader financial services like credit, savings, insurance, and investments, creating opportunities vital to their prosperity.
Since its launch, Catalyst has entered into a formal agreement with the Government of Rajasthan to set up a “digital payments lab” in Jaipur to transform it into India’s first less-cash city. It has also established a broad partnership of nearly 150 Indian and multinational organizations and is working with select anchor partners to incubate, test, and scale promising digital payment business and delivery models.