Village Capital, with support from MetLife Foundation and PayPal,have selected by peer entrepeneurs both Blockchain and AI enabled ecommerce marketplace Distichain and Markit to receive equity-free investment as a part of Finance Forward MENA 2020. An investment-readiness program, Finance Forward MENA 2020 is part of Finance Forward, a multi-year global coalition to support entrepreneurs on four continents who are building tech-enabled solutions to place-based challenges around financial health.
“We congratulate the winners who, like their peers, are striving to put peoples’ lives and businesses on stronger financial footing in one of the most unequal regions in the world,” said Alicia Sornson, Manager of Programs & Partnerships in MENA at Village Capital. “Now more than ever, their solutions are needed to help address challenges which have only intensified due to the pandemic. The region’s entrepreneurs are well-qualified and highly motivated to achieve impact and we will be following their progress with great interest.”
“By bringing together a group of emerging fintechs through Finance Forward, we are able to elevate organizations that are at the forefront of financial health in MENA,” said Ossman Charabati, SVP, Head of Employee Benefits EMEA and Head of Levant at MetLife, and Advisory Board member for Finance Forward. “MetLife Foundation and MetLife congratulate Distichain and Markit for developing powerful new business models that will help ensure lower-income people and small businesses benefit from the financial sector in the region.”
Distichain and Markit were ranked “most investment ready.” The two companies are focused on the following:
- Distichain (UAE) is an AI and Blockchain e-commerce and e-procurement platform that facilitates open trade between companies, regardless of geography or size, by partnering with banks to evaluate transaction risk in real-time.
- Markit (Lebanon) is an on-demand grocery delivery service, allowing small and medium-sized grocers to offer their inventory and delivery services to customers through an online platform.
Three additional companies, Datacultr Fintech Limited, HubPay and Buyback Bazaar Technology, who ranked 3-5 in the peer review process, will receive $20,000 in grant funding from Metlife Foundation. These three companies are focused on the following:
- Datacultr Fintech Limited (UAE) is a platform that allows lending institutions to use smartphones as collateral for loans to new-to-credit customers while allowing devices to remain in the users’ possession.
- HubPay (UAE) is a digital wallet for the remittance community which aims to lower the cost of remittances while creating a digital wallet that fosters financial inclusion.
- Buyback Bazaar Technology (UAE) is an online portal that facilitates emergency access to cash in exchange for personal items, which users can ‘buyback’ within a specified period.