News

Fintech start-ups win the chance to partner with UNCDF

  • July 04, 2019

  • Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

MDEC is primed and working with key players to refine Malaysia’s unique proposition as a dynamic ideal hub from which Fintech companies will be able to launch and serve different markets.

Ms. Surina Shukri
CEO of MDEC

During MyFintech Week’19, the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) chose the winning start ups of its B40 Challenge. UNCDF selected three start ups – GoGet, Senang and Pod – from the fintech start ups that took part in an accelerator program to develop solutions to help low- and moderate- income Malaysians to improve their financial health. The three selected start ups were chosen to pilot their project with the support of UNCDF.

The B40 Challenge is the first major activity carried out by UNCDF in Malaysia and funded by MetLife Foundation through the i3 Program which stands for Innovate, Implement, and Impact. Chosen from over 110 applicants, 18 start-ups worked with UNCDF as part of the B40 Challenge over three and a half months to develop and refined their solutions.

From those 18 start-ups, six were invited to pitch their projects to a panel of industry-leading judges. The panel judges, which included Ms. Surina Shukri, CEO of the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation, Mr. Adnan Zaylani Mohamad Zahid, Assistant Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia, Mr. Niloy Banerjee, UN Development Program Resident Representative for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam, Mr. Krishna Thacker, Regional Director for MetLife Foundation in Asia, Mr. Henri Dommel, UNCDF Director of Financial Inclusion, and Mr. Tillman Bruett, Director, Secretariat of the UN Secretary-General's Task Force on Digital Financing of the SDGs, then selected the final three to work with UNCDF.

“It is wonderful to see the innovative spirit behind these solutions," said Ms. Surina Shukri, CEO of MDEC. “Malaysia is rapidly proving to be a fertile testbed for Fintech solutions and products. MDEC is primed and working with key players to refine Malaysia’s unique proposition as a dynamic ideal hub from which Fintech companies will be able to launch and serve different markets.”

Explaining the motivation behind the i3 Program, Mr. Krishna Thacker, the Asia Regional Director of MetLife Foundation, said, “At MetLife Foundation, we believe financial health should be within every person’s reach. Malaysia has made great progress in ensuring basic financial inclusion for everyone and we think it is the perfect time to move the discussion toward financial health. We’re pleased to support these efforts aimed at improving the financial health of low- to moderate-income communities in Malaysia.

About the 3 selected start-ups:

GoGet is an on-demand workforce platform that helps connect people who need specific jobs to a network of verified workers, called “GoGetters.” The majority of their workforce comes from the low- and moderate- income population. They have been providing people with a flexible way to earn but entered the B40 Challenge after they realized that their “GoGetters” were finding it hard to put the money they earned aside toward short- and long-term savings. By partnering with Pod, another top three team from the Challenge, they have been piloting microsavings in the GoGet platform. But GoGet’s plans don’t stop there, they aim to help “GoGetters” to plan for financial goals, obtain on-demand insurance coverage by partnering with Senang, borrow based on app data and spend with access to fast cash disbursement. With 10,000 verified people who already signed up for work through the app, Go Get has a chance to make a real difference to the financial lives of tens of thousands of Malaysians.

Senang is a platform that offers insurance tailored to the needs of micro-enterprises. They offer insurance that’s simple, flexible, and tailored from as low as RM1 for as little as one day. Senang realized that low- and middle- income Malaysians had unique needs that meant they were finding it hard to insure their businesses. Many of them have more than one job to survive, or have jobs that might not usually be covered. For instance, a freelance cleaner in Malaysia might lose out on valuable wages if something breaks in a house they clean. With Senang, they can insure themselves for as little as a few ringgits just for the day of the week they are working, and by using the Senang API partner platform this insurance can be issued immediately.

Pod is a micro-savings app that helps young Malaysians save money for specific goals. More than 75% of Malaysians would struggle to raise RM1.000 (+/- USD 240) in the event of an emergency. Pod aims to address this through technology. By rounding up users’ leftover change and transferring into savings, users can progress toward their goals without feeling the pinch. Pod is partnering with merchants and retailers nationwide to allow people to save at the point they spend.

Over the next few months UNCDF will work with these three start-ups to provide funding and guidance to help them bring their solutions to market. These solutions will be a key part of UNCDF’s mission, implemented through the Financial Innovation Lab, to bring breakthrough and potentially transformational digital financial service solutions to half a million low- and middle- income people.

Interviews

All founders are available for interviews, please contact rose.payne@uncdf.org for further information.

About i3 Program

The i3 program was collaboratively designed by MetLife Foundation and its grantees including UNCDF, as well as LumenLab, MetLife’s Innovation Center in Asia. The program is delighted to have the support and cross-sectoral collaboration from both government as well as non-government and private sector. The program covers China, Malaysia, Bangladesh, and Viet Nam under the i3 program to achieve the ultimate goal of improving financial health for low- to moderate-income communities.

About UNCDF

The UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) makes public and private finance work for the poor in the world’s 47 least developed countries. With its capital mandate and instruments, UNCDF offers “last mile” finance models that unlock public and private resources, especially at the domestic level, to reduce poverty and support local economic development. UNCDF’s financing models work through two channels: financial inclusion that expands the opportunities for individuals, households, and small businesses to participate in the local economy, providing them with the tools they need to climb out of poverty and manage their financial lives; and by showing how localized investments—through fiscal decentralization, innovative municipal finance, and structured project finance—can drive public and private funding that underpins local economic expansion and sustainable development. By strengthening how finance works for poor people at the household, small enterprise, and local infrastructure levels, UNCDF contributes to SDG 1 on eradicating poverty and SDG 17 on the means of implementation. By identifying those market segments where innovative financing models can have transformational impact in helping to reach the last mile and address exclusion and inequalities of access, UNCDF contributes to a number of different SDGs.

UNCDF in Malaysia works in partnership with Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation and Bank Negara Malaysia and is hosted by The Orbit Malaysia Fintech Hub.

About MetLife Foundation

At MetLife Foundation, we believe financial health belongs to everyone. We bring together bold solutions, deep financial expertise and meaningful grants to build financial health for people and communities that are underserved and aspire for more. We partner with organizations around the world to create financial health solutions and build stronger communities, engaging MetLife volunteer employees to help drive impact. To date, our financial health work has reached 9.9 million low-income individuals in 42 countries. To learn more about MetLife Foundation, visit metlife.org.

For more information, please visit uncdf.org or contact:

Ms. Rose Payne
rose.payne@uncdf.org