New York, NY - 21 November 2017: Bamboo Capital Partners (“Bamboo”), a leading impact investment private equity firm delivering social and financial value, has led the $7m Series A investment round in First Access, a cutting-edge fintech company that offers a smart data platform for analytics and credit scoring to lending institutions in emerging markets.
The Series A investment supports the launch and continuous development of the platform, as well as the strengthening and growth of product, sales and client success teams. The fourth-generation First Access platform is now live for select financial institutions. This will be extended across other regions early next year.
Following the investment, Bamboo will also appoint Christian Ruehmer to the First Access Board of Directors. The transaction was led by Bernhard Eikenberg and other participants in the investment round include both new and long-time First Access partners, including: The Social Entrepreneurs’ Fund, Impact Engine, 500 Fintech, Colle Capital, and private investors.
Commenting on the investment, Jean Philippe de Schrevel, Founder & Managing Partner at Bamboo, said: “This deal marks the fifth investment of our second Financial Inclusion Fund and we are entering new territory by investing in a cutting-edge credit-scoring company with a huge market opportunity.”
Bernhard Eikenberg, Fund Manager at Bamboo Capital Partners added: “The increasing digitization of financial inclusion leaves First Access in an ideal position to create tremendous value for all stakeholders. We look forward to working with this talented team to scale up their platform and reach new customers across different continents.”
Engineered with unprecedented flexibility, the award-winning platform enables lenders to “go digital” with easy credit appraisal tools, but also offers sophisticated data analytics on credit risk, staff performance and operations over time. It also allows financial institutions to adopt Data Best Practices, built from the First Access team’s collective experience across dozens of countries and through the analysis of over 50 billion transactions and data points. First Access Data Best Practices cover the collection, generation, management and usage of critical, high-quality data to scale finance faster in emerging markets.
Nicole Van Der Tuin, Co-Founder & CEO of First Access, added: “We are thrilled to have Bamboo join First Access as an investor. With their global reach, extensive industry experience and strong portfolio of financial institutions, Bamboo has a deep understanding of our market and will be a key strategic partner as we continue to grow. Financial institutions need scalable, data-driven solutions to grow quickly, at a low cost, if they are going to reach the vast underserved population who want access to credit. We are looking forward to the launch of our most scalable platform yet, reaching new frontiers in user experience, reporting analytics and affordability.”
Rohit Acharya, Co-Founder & Chief Data Scientist of First Access, added: “The First Access platform is a radical departure from the slow, static and expensive technology currently holding back most financial institutions in emerging markets. Most managers don’t have the data or visibility they need into their lending business to be able to scale faster, but there is also a need to start simple and build up from solid foundations. Our new platform offers data-driven tools that are easy to adopt, with transparent data analytics which will inform strong decisions. We look forward to working with Bamboo as a close partner as we scale.”
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About Bamboo Capital Partners
Bamboo Capital Partners is a commercial private equity firm making investments that matter. Bamboo’s investment thesis is centered on access to finance, clean energy and healthcare in emerging markets. It finds game-changing businesses that can tap into significant market opportunities to deliver both financial and social returns. Its investment portfolio includes many financial inclusion focused companies across the world, pursuing low and high tech business models. For more information, please visit http://www.bamboocp.com/.
About First Access
First Access is an award-winning fintech company offering a smart data platform for emerging market financial institutions. For the first time, micro- and SME-lenders have a clear path to a digital future. With an intuitive user experience for digitizing paper-based operations, institutions can collect rich data, monitor trends, and then automate processes as they gain more trust in their data. First Access has leveraged its credit scoring experience to enable incremental change without disrupting day-to-day operations. Financial institutions can grow more sophisticated with data at their own pace, incorporating machine learning insights as they go. Lenders have used First Access credit scores to automate low-risk approvals and decrease underwriting time by 80%. The company has its headquarters in New York City and its Africa regional office in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. For more information, please visit https://www.firstaccessmarket.com/.