Today, Village Capital, the venture development organization that finds, trains and funds entrepreneurs working to solve global challenges, and PayPal Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq:PYPL), the global technology platform and payments leader, announced an expanded global relationship to support entrepreneurs focused on democratizing access to financial services for low-wealth individuals, families and small businesses. Together, with the support of local ecosystem partners, they will operate three venture development programs in 2016, supporting emerging FinTech innovators in Latin America, the United States and India. The joint initiative represents the first time a lead program partner has entered into a global collaboration with Village Capital to accelerate innovation in one of its areas of impact.
Since 2009, Village Capital has supported early-stage entrepreneurs developing critical agriculture, education, energy, financial services and health solutions for underserved populations worldwide. To date, Village Capital programs have supported over 500 entrepreneurs with individualized mentorship, access to investor and partner networks and support through Village Capital’s award-winning curriculum. At the end of each venture development program, participating entrepreneurs evaluate each other across six indicators of investment readiness and direct at least $50,000 of investment capital to the top two, peer-selected entrepreneurs.
“At PayPal, we believe that affordable, convenient and secure financial services should be a right for everyone, and not a privilege for the affluent,” said Franz Paasche, VP of Corporate Affairs at PayPal. “Through our expanded relationship with Village Capital, we’re pleased to help build a more supportive ecosystem for FinTech social impact entrepreneurs, which we see as critical to our vision of improving the financial health of underserved individuals and businesses around the world.”
The first-of-its-kind collaboration with PayPal will help approximately 40 additional FinTech start-up ventures make measurable progress toward increasing financial participation for underserved populations. Over the next two years, these ventures are expected to generate jobs and enable households and small businesses in communities worldwide. Empowering their success, PayPal employees in each market will offer their skills and expertise to the participating ventures by serving as speakers, ongoing program advisors and one-on-one mentors.
“The traditional system of brick-and-mortar financial institutions simply isn’t meeting the needs of millions of people across the world. With PayPal, we’ll be supporting entrepreneurs across the world who are developing solutions that help families save, invest, access credit and, ultimately, build wealth,” shared Ross Baird, Executive Director of Village Capital.
This year’s first program will launch in April with events in Mexico City. Village Capital Fintech: Mexico 2016 will be convened with additional support from U.S.-based investment management firm BlackRock and local engagement from Mexico-based financial services provider Crédito Real. Village Capital has identified 10 early-stage ventures from across Mexico that will participate in the venture development program.
To begin recruitment for the Village Capital FinTech: US 2016 program, PayPal and Village Capital will also host the 2016 FinTech Entrepreneur Showcase on March 12 during SXSW, providing an opportunity for FinTech entrepreneurs from across the United States to demonstrate their solutions. Ten leading candidates for the upcoming program will present their ventures to an invitation-only group of investors, community leaders and potential partners. They’ll receive feedback from a panel of sector leaders including PayPal, The Case Foundation, Kapor Center for Social Impact and Student Loan Genius, a Village Capital graduate and portfolio company.