2019 Accion Venture Lab’s Company Builder for Innovative Fintech Startups

Deadline: February 13, 2019.

Accion Venture Lab invests capital in and provides support to innovative fintech startups that improve access, quality, and affordability of financial services for the underserved at scale.  They have invested in 40 seed-stage startups around the world that leverage innovative technology and business models to offer financial solutions to underserved communities.

In late 2017, they launched our Company Builder program to utilize the experience we have gained to further financial inclusion and support the growing entrepreneurial ecosystem in Nigeria.

To do this, Company Builder first selects a diverse group of aspiring entrepreneurs with experience in financial services, technology, and user design and then works with them over the course of a 6 month program to

(1) identify problems related to financial inclusion in Nigeria and co-create new ideas on how to address these problems.

(2) validate these solutions with customers in the field.

(3) build innovative fintech startups from scratch.


Once admitted to the program, participants will meet and collaborate with each other to generate and validate business model ideas with the goal of launching an inclusive fintech startup. In support of this goal, Accion Venture Lab will help participants:

1. Generate ideas with future co-founder(s)

  • Meet co-founders – We are recruiting approximately 15 potential founders with a diverse set of skills to generate ideas and form startup teams.

  • Develop and refine ideas – We select our cohorts based on individual talent and ambition alone and do not require business ideas as part of the application process. We will review research, conduct focus groups, and generate, refine, and rank ideas over a series of sessions.

2. Validate your idea with your potential co-founder(s)

  • Set clear expectations – We will work with the team to develop a validation plan detailing the proof points and metrics needed to verify the idea.

  • Translate ideas into minimum viable products (MVPs) – We will help move ideas from theoretical to practical through development of an MVP during the validation period.

  • Test potential co-founders – We will encourage participants to work together to determine who they work best with.

The teams who have had the most success validating their ideas will be able to pitch Accion Venture Lab’s Company Builder for continued support. This program is highly competitive and not every participant of the team will receive support in launching their venture; for those who don’t make it, we’ll stay engaged via an alumni network. Those that move on will be able to:

3. Build a company

  • Raise pre-seed investment for the new company – This is a core phase in which participants deliver proof points needed to raise a seed round. We will provide up to $100,000 to ensure that participants have the resources needed to pilot the business full time.

  • Receive continued mentoring – Participants will continue to work with the Accion Venture Lab team and be pushed toward piloting and growing the business by focusing on product, customers, and preparing for further investment.

  • Be the majority owners – Unlike most company builder programs, we will not take majority stakes in the companies created through the program. This ensures that the founders are fully engaged in and responsible for the success of their venture.




1. They are looking for those with exceptional founder potential at any stage of their career.

2. This is the best program to find potential cofounder(s) and build a seed-funded fintech startup from scratch in Nigeria.




Please review the materials below for complete program information:

Company Builder overview deck

Company Builder webpage and blog posts


Accion Venture Lab’s Company Builder

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