On October 31 in Kiev, MetLife Foundation and Village Capital hosted the MetLife Foundation Financial Health Forum: Ukraine, which brought together 10 Ukrainian startups working to improve financial health for low- to moderate-income people and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). At the program’s conclusion, two startups were selected to receive grants from MetLife Foundation following a pitch competition:
- hotline.finance – an online marketplace for banking and insurance products, helping consumers make more informed financial decisions and purchase products online through the financial comparison platform
- MO.Cash – a p2p crowdlending marketplace helping small businesses gain access to additional sources of credit
The ten participating startups were selected from nearly 65 applications, and were chosen based on their potential to scale. They went through a two-day training on Village Capital’s VIRAL Framework, which focuses on scaling successful businesses and raising investment capital. The startups received guidance from mentors, investors and local sector experts, including MetLife senior leaders.
“Taking the time to mentor startups in Ukraine is incredibly important,” said Dymtro Doletskiy, Head of Product, MetLife Ukraine. “Fostering the next generation of great ideas to improve the financial health of low-income people and SMEs is important not just for Ukraine, but also Europe and beyond.”
The startups represented a wide range of financial services, from alternative lending to point of sale services.
“We are grateful for the grant from MetLife Foundation,” said Stas Gontovoy, CEO of hotline.finance, one of the winners of the pitch competition. “The funds will be used to design financial tutorials for all Ukrainians to increase financial literacy in the country.”
“It was a great opportunity for us to gain invaluable experience from mentors – professionals in each of their fields. I want to thank the judges as well as the other participating startups, who chose our company as the peer-selected winner. They believed in our solution, which aims to support small businesses and improve the well-being and financial literacy of Ukrainian citizens,” said Serhii Hladchenko, CEO of MoCash, also a winner of the pitch competition. “The grant will go to helping us scale, as well as funding marketing and further automation of our platform.”
The Financial Health Forum was held at UNIT.City innovation park in partnership with the Ukrainian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (UVCA). It was the final workshop of a two-year initiative developed by Village Capital and MetLife Foundation. Prior forums were held in Poland, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey.
“This is our first forum in Ukraine and we are incredibly impressed with the rapidly expanding local startup ecosystem here. For instance, Gitlab, Grammarly, and People.ai together have raised $267M. This should be a huge inspiration for aspiring and new tech-entrepreneurs all over Ukraine. And thanks to such ambitious projects as UNIT.City, early-stage startups now can grow even faster,” said Ben Younkman, Manager of VilCap Innovations. “We were thrilled to work with MetLife Foundation to bring together these entrepreneurs and help them fulfill their potential to scale.”
The full list of participating startups is below:
- Agency21 (NFC Donation Box)
- Sky Service POS