Slowing economic growth, rising inflation, and climbing interest rates are straining the business models for inclusive fintechs, creating significant uncertainty and new funding challenges. For the past four years, the Inclusive Fintech 50 (IF50) global innovation competition identified and elevated cutting-edge, emerging inclusive fintechs driving financial inclusion. These high-potential start-up fintechs address limitations in financial services delivery for unserved or underserved customers by offering a solution among credit, insurance, payments & remittances, savings & personal financial management, or infrastructure.

To better understand the outlook for the sector amidst these market changes, CFI interviewed past IF50 winners and fintech investors to learn how they are adapting to these uncertain times and the impact of the funding challenges on their business models and the low-income customers they serve.

CFI’s latest report has found:

  • The total value of deals for early- and growth-stage inclusive fintechs plunged 75 percent in January and February this year from the same time a year ago.
  • The median deal size for growth-stage fintechs appears to drop from $20 million in Q1 2022 to $4.5 million in the first two months of 2023.
  • Despite the funding pullback, inclusive fintechs say they remain committed to serving low-income and vulnerable communities.
  • Investors expect more failures in the short term, but they are cautiously optimistic that the market shakeout will create a healthier sector in the medium term.
  • Business fundamentals is the name of the game today for both fintechs and investors. They are focusing on keeping operational costs low, responding to customer needs, and creating a path to sustainability and profitability.


Eda Dokle

Former Senior Research Specialist

As a senior research specialist at CFI, Eda focused on inclusive finance for agricultural SMEs and digital financial services. Her work at CFI included providing data insights and analysis, advanced analytics, and product development services. Eda previously worked as an internal auditor and as an SME account manager at commercial banks in Albania. She has also served as an assistant professor on the University of Tirana’s economics faculty. She holds a master’s degree in economics and finance from the Institute of Economic Studies at Charles University in Prague and a bachelor’s degree in economics and international relations from the American University in Bulgaria (AUBG).

Chantelle Macey

Project Manager, Inclusive Fintech 50

Chantelle Macey is a consultant with over 12 years of program management experience in global philanthropic and financial services organizations. She has a passion for identifying and supporting financial solutions that can increase the prosperity of low-income people, small businesses, and their communities. Prior to her career in consulting, Chantelle worked as a Program Manager at Mastercard Foundation where she led a team of MSME experts and managed a portfolio of financial inclusion projects with an emphasis on private-sector partnerships. Before joining the Foundation, Chantelle worked for the National Bank of Canada in Credit Risk Management and Corporate Treasury where she was responsible for fixed-income program management and investor relations. She holds a master’s in development economics and a bachelor’s of commerce.

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