Driving Change with Gender-Intelligent Design

Thursday 27th July 2023

Women comprised 53 percent of Alliance fintech member customer bases in 2021, according to our latest Measuring the Value of the Female Economy report. This number is particularly notable since the fintech sector as a whole is overlooking the vast potential of the women’s market: At 27.6 percent, the fintech gender gap is three times greater than the gaps for bank account or smartphone ownership.

To close this gap, the Alliance launched its first hackathon, the Alliance Hack, in 2020. In the past three years, the competition has generated nearly 100 proposals from fintechs interested in developing solutions to serve the female economy. Of these, 53 teams were selected, participating in a one-of-a-kind learning journey on gender-intelligent design and networking with judges and experts from across the tech, commercial banking, international development, global payments, and insurance sectors.

Alliance Hack finalists have gone on to generate strong results with women customers through their gender-intelligent sales funnels. Tyme Group—now South Africa’s largest challenger bank, with a growing footprint in the Philippines—won the inaugural Hack in 2020. Women now comprise 54 percent of Tyme’s fixed-deposit users and 44 percent of retail capital loan borrowers; well above the averages we see across financial services (women comprised 44 percent of deposit accounts and 36 percent of retail loans across the Alliance network in 2021).

Tyme’s Chief Growth Officer Rachel Freeman told us, “Participating in the Alliance Hack really put Tyme on the map. It was Tyme’s first global award, and it set the stage for us to expand our thought leadership on our high touch-high tech model as well as our impact on the ground with women, youth, those in rural areas and social grant recipients.”

LXME won in 2021, answering the challenge to transform the investment capabilities for mass market women with its women-focused money management platform, which has now been downloaded by more than 200,000 women. Its founder, Priti Rathi Gupta, told us, “Winning the Financial Alliance For women Hackathon was a huge validation for the value proposition we are building at LXME. It gave our brand global recognition.”

TRIBE Fintech was the 2022 winner, following an excellent pitch at the Annual Summit in London on its solution to upskill women SMEs. Tribe was recently selected as one of six startups in the inaugural cohort of the Mastercard Star Path Small Business Accelerator, alongside 2021 shortlisted team DigiAlly. Founder Mo Harvey said of their experience with the Hack, “Winning the Alliance Hack has been truly transformational for TRIBE. The access to the Financial Alliance for Women’s global network of members and experts is unparalleled and the support we received afterwards has been incredible. It is a uniquely world-class and impact-focused competition that can really help tech companies unlock global partnership opportunities.”

Across the board, Hack participants say the experience helped them to hone their women-centered strategies and attract potential partners through mentorship and networking opportunities.

Indeed, many are going on to scale through partnerships. Another 2020 Hack shortlisted team, Bixie, partnered with AXA to create affordable healthcare products for women. Last year’s runner-up, Shecluded, was awarded a grant by Google for Startups to expand its lending to women in Nigeria and West Africa, having disbursed over $1 million in growth loans to women since 2019. And 2021 Hack Winner LXME was recently selected for the Google for Startups Accelerator.

We expect to see more of these partnership and acceleration opportunities for women-led and -focused fintechs in the green space soon. Discussions in the Climate Action Working Group over the past eight months have made it evident that many commercial banks would look to work with greentechs as they develop green customer value propositions for women. That is why the 2023 Alliance Hack is seeking solutions for Greening the CVP for Women alongside past keystone challenges: Financing women-owned/led SMEs, Building the Business Capabilities of Female Entrepreneurs, and Transforming Mass Market Women’s Investment Capabilities.

The Alliance is accepting applications now through Sept. 12 for technology-based solutions in each of these critical areas. We encourage you to share this opportunity with your networks and build on the incredible momentum that gender-intelligent fintechs are generating.

Click here to register and learn more.