Sound Businesses: Profiles of companies and business models we are keeping an eye on.
The lack of financial infrastructure in some of the world’s poorest regions — sub-Saharan Africa and parts of South and Southeast Asia, Latin America and the Middle East — is a contributing factor to the destitution that hundreds of millions of people endure. In the past decade, digital banking and mobile phone technology have started to reverse this, allowing mobile payments systems, small loans and wealth management services to blossom in many of these regions.
But larger seed or enterprise funding remains the preserve of conservative, brick-and-mortar banks that are often compromised by endemic corruption, tribal or ethnic loyalties, or religious conflict. Even owning a major agricultural or mineral asset can mean retaining just 10% or less equity as the majority owners siphon off revenue.