Fintech investment is booming. In 2018, a record USD 111.8 billion was invested in fintech, and the sector garnered extensive media coverage and interest. But despite fintech’s growing profile — and even though it can help unlock trillions of dollars in value by reaching financially underserved households and businesses — fintech solutions have yet to reach the majority of the financially excluded.

It is against this backdrop that MIX worked with MetLife Foundation, Visa Inc., Accion, and IFC to launch the Inclusive Fintech 50, the first global effort to spotlight early- stage fintechs driving financial inclusion. This report highlights key findings from an analysis of the competition’s applicant data. The Inclusive Fintech 50 applicant pool provides new insights into inclusion-focused fintech, itself a subset of the fintech universe. By highlighting these high-potential companies, the hope is to support the efforts of investors, banking partners, and other fintechs working towards a financially inclusive world.

Nikhil Gehani

Former Director, MIX

Nikhil is a director of strategic initiatives for MIX, including Inclusive Fintech 50 and communications. Previously, Nikhil worked in the impact investing and social enterprise fields with organizations including Impact Space, WSUP Enterprises, USAID’s Development Credit Authority, and Encite Capital. Nikhil has over a decade of experience as a marketing, communications and branding specialist, working for global agencies including Digitas and GTB where he led the digital strategy for clients including General Motors, Owens Corning and Sprint.

Marie Valdez


Marie is a consultant with CFI. In her previous role as a director at CFI, Marie was responsible for the successful implementation of Inclusive Fintech 50 — an initiative that recognizes promising early-stage fintechs driving financial inclusion around the globe. She managed program design, execution, and delivery of incentives and knowledge products. Marie has more than 25 years of experience in advising, designing, and implementing holistic solutions for businesses and non-profits in the US, Asia, and Africa. She is passionate about alleviating poverty through education, human empowerment, and financial inclusion.

Blaine Stephens

Former COO, MIX

Blaine serves as advisor to CFI since June 2020, where he is supporting the strategic integration of MIX and CFI.  Prior to CFI, Blaine served as COO at MIX, joining in 2002.  At MIX, he worked with investors, donors, regulators, financial services providers and a team of analysts to create the reporting standards, benchmarks, other information products and market incentives necessary to build data and insights to advance financial inclusion. Blaine has 20 years of experience in microfinance and financial inclusion. Prior to joining MIX, Blaine helped develop the start-up operations for a Moroccan MFI, Al Amana, and collaborated with UNCDF on the development and roll-out of an online microfinance training course for donors and practitioners. Blaine speaks English, French, and basic Arabic and German.

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