Over the last ten years, catalytic capital — investment capital that is patient, risk-tolerant, concessionary, and adaptable — has played an increasingly important role in filling the gaps left by the rapidly expanding and diversifying field of impact investing and serves to attract more conventional investors to sectors with high development potential. While we do not know the volume of catalytic capital investments in inclusive finance, we know that investments in inclusive finance continue to be a top category of growth.

This report focuses on the role of catalytic capital in the digital credit industry and highlights the limitations of a framework that does not consider broader market-level consequences of such investments. The rapid growth of digital credit has resulted in an influx of investment but also created significant concerns over consumer protection, and the supervisory capacity of local regulators has failed to keep pace with the risks. The report draws lessons from how digital credit markets have evolved and highlights guardrails needed at the market level to ensure that growth is responsible, impactful, and leads to inclusive market development.


Jayshree Venkatesan

Senior Research Director, Consumer Protection & Responsible Finance

Jayshree leads research on fintechs, platforms, and other DFS providers to understand their incentives, practices, and how/if they serve low-income consumers and contribute to advocacy on consumer protection and other policy priorities for inclusive finance and co-leads the development of influence strategies and campaigns with the communications team.

Jayshree joins CFI after working for eight years as an independent global consultant to several partners including CGAP, World Bank, JICA, and ITAD. As a consultant, Jayshree worked on customer-centric business models and challenges faced by customers in accessing and using financial services. From 2009 to 2013, she was part of the founding team at IFMR Trust (now Dvara Trust), where she led a mezzanine fund that invested in microfinance institutions in India.

Jayshree is a senior policy fellow at the Leir Institute housed within the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy where she works on challenges faced by vulnerable segments such as migrants/refugees in accessing financial services. In 2014, Jayshree was awarded the Chevening fellowship for leadership by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK. Jayshree earned an MA in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, an MBA from MDI Gurgaon (India), and a Bachelor’s in mathematics from Mumbai University, graduating at the top of her class.

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