$100,000 Awarded to eMoneyPool and Wisebanyan for Their Business Solutions That Benefit Low-Income Americans

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Selected by peer ventures as top businesses that address systemic financial services problems

Solutions from Our Country’s Entrepreneurs

SOURCE: Solutions from Our Country’s Entrepreneurs today announced that $50,000 investments each were made to eMoneyPool and WiseBanyan as the top two entrepreneurial ventures with business solutions to the financial services challenges that impact low-wealth Americans.

eMoneyPool creates a path for individuals to access traditional mainstream lenders by leveraging alternative credit and payment histories. WiseBanyan is the world’s first free online financial advisor that provides access to high-quality investment expertise to individuals of all levels.

As part of the SOURCE initiative, Village Capital runs accelerator programs for entrepreneurs solving major U.S. social problems. The first cohort focused on entrepreneurial ventures that expand access to financial services for unbanked and under-banked Americans. More than 68 million people are “unbanked” (no deposit account at an insured depository institution) or “under-banked” (have a bank account, but rely on alternative financial service providers) according to an FDIC report.

“These teams are solving real problems in a pragmatic way. eMoneyPool’s genius is that they’ve taken a practice—money pools—in which tens of millions of people in the U.S. and close to a billion people around the world participate, and utilized existing behavior to give underserved populations access to formal credit,” said Ross Baird, executive director of Village Capital. “WiseBanyan takes a concept—investing—that historically seems to be available only to the rich, and gives college students, housekeepers, restaurant servers, and people in the middle class an opportunity to build real wealth.”

Fourteen ventures participated in the three-month program, organized in partnership with eBay Foundation, Village Capital’s lead partner for U.S. financial inclusion. The announcement was made at the Village Capital Venture Forum held at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco where the entrepreneurs presented their business plans to a group of angel investors and venture capitalists, potential partners, customers, and community members.

“We embarked on this partnership with Village Capital to find social enterprises with innovative financial services solutions for low-income Americans and give them access to the tools and resources they need to grow their businesses,” said Amy Millington, president of eBay Foundation. “We were delighted to see eMoneyPool and WiseBanyan receive this recognition from their peers, and hope both – and all the participating ventures – grow into profitable businesses with strong social impact.”

SOURCE is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between The Hitachi Foundation, Village Capital, and Investors' Circle that connects entrepreneurs with the investment capital, mentoring, and support needed to grow their businesses. An Investors’ Circle Bay Area local network meeting was held June 25 allowing eMoneyPool and WiseBanyan to meet with potential investors and all of the entrepreneurs were eligible for investment through the network. The 12 other ventures that participated in the Village Capital program are:

  •     AlumVest connects leading startups from U.S. universities with equity crowdfunding
  •     Bashar&Fadia’s allows individuals to access affordable financing and repay based on future income, providing investors an opportunity to invest in personal potential
  •     ePaymentGuard offers affordable risk management and protection against credit card chargebacks for online payment processors
  •     HelloBit leverages digital currency and payment technology to reduce the friction and transaction costs in traditional money remittance
  •     LendSquare is a platform to crowdfund small business loans, allowing individuals to directly support businesses they believe in
  •     LendStreet helps distressed debtors settle, restructure, and refinance their debt while enabling investors to buy the debt at a discount
  •     MoneyWorks provides an integrated solution to repay debt, establish and stick to a budget, and increase financial health
  •     MPower Financing is a peer-to-peer lending platform linking international and underserved college students with affordable student loans
  •     PeopleHedge protects individuals and small businesses from the volatility of foreign exchange rates
  •     Planwise uses online technology to provide financial tools to make help people make better choices in prospective financial and investment decisions
  •     Rezzcard is changing rental payment and collection for affordable housing through mobile electronic payment management
  •     SavedPlus makes savings easier by enabling automatic savings contributions alongside consumer spending

About the SOURCE Partners
The Village Capital FinTech program was made possible by the generous support of eBay Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, the Sorenson Global Impact Investing Center, and The Hitachi Foundation.

About The Hitachi Foundation
The Hitachi Foundation is an independent, philanthropic organization that seeks to discover, demonstrate and expand business practices that both measurably improve economic opportunities for low-wealth individuals in the U.S. and enhance long term business value.

About Village Capital
Village Capital uses the power of peer support to build companies that change the world. We recruit entrepreneurs who are solving major global problems in the areas of health, energy, education, financial inclusion, and agriculture. We operate business acceleration programs with a curriculum focused on improving ventures’ ability to meet customer demand. Through a unique investment model, entrepreneurs themselves decide which innovations receive critical early-stage investment capital from Village Capital and partner investors.

About Investors’ Circle
Investors’ Circle (IC) is the largest and most active early-stage impact investing network in the world. Together with hundreds of angels, venture capitalists, foundations and family offices, IC has propelled over $180 million into more than 280 enterprises dedicated to improving the environment, education, health, and community. A nonprofit organization, IC cultivates its impact investor network, provides opportunities for high-potential impact entrepreneurs to meet impact investors, and facilitates investment.

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Laura Faulkner
since: 01/2014
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