Fintech has the potential to become an engine for social change. The technology has scope to advance income inequality and financial inclusion, as well as providing resources for underserved and underbanked communities to build better lives.
Entrepreneurs now have platforms to create products that expand who is well-served by our financial system. Indeed, Black founders are leading some of the most cutting-edge and progressive startups coming out of the U.S. and Africa. These financial technology players have ambitious goals to deliver tools to decrease debt, boost savings, and provide accessible payment processing systems for everyone.
Here is a list of 10 Black entrepreneurs at the helm of socially responsible fintech enterprises.
How does a highflying media executive set her sights on changing the world? By encouraging children and their families to save, especially Black and Latinx kids, who are most at risk of having a negative net worth. Tanya Van Court’s GoalSetter app is a goal-based savings, gifting, and financial literacy platform made just for kids and families. Users set goals for the things they desire, while parents and relatives deposit money into their accounts to make it happen. The app is also intent on financial literacy, with fun quizzes meant to impart knowledge and entertain. Van Court was previously an executive for Nickelodeon and ESPN, leading major product developments.
You can follow her here @tvancourt
As Rodney Williams describes it, a fateful ride to SXSW set the stage for one of the most innovative technological startups. He met his two co-founders and they came up with the idea of LISNR. The Los Angeles-based company enables secure and seamless person present authentications using the most advanced ultrasonic data technology across retail, payments, and mobility. Williams has been described as a visionary, notably making Ad Age’s “40 Under 40” list.
You can follow him here @rodneybwilliams
Dr. Roshawnna Novellus is the Founder and CEO of EnrichHER, a financial technology platform with regulatory approval to help women secure funding to grow their ventures. The company is disrupting traditional and predatory lending terms through its credit model and lending environment. EnrichHER’s investment platform is fueling the growth of women-led businesses by enabling female founders to secure capital in an affordable and non-dilutive way. Dr. Novellus is a gender equality advocate who believes in economic empowerment and inclusive economic growth.
You can follow her here @DrRoshawnna
BREAUX Capital is a cooperatively owned and operated financial services platform increasing the financial wellness and long-term wealth of Black male millennials. Co-founders Ras Asan, Derrius Quarles, and Brian Williams launched the software platform to address the lack of resources and barriers that Black millennials collectively experience within the financial marketplace.
Since launching via a $500 investment from the founders and no marketing budget, BREAUX Capital has quickly grown across the United States, serving members from Los Angeles to New Orleans, and Raleigh-Durham.
You can follow him here @drquarles
Nate Washington is one half of the brilliant duo behind the micro-payment platform Qoins. Nate and co-founder Christian Zimmerman launched Qoins after Christian experienced a large chunk of his student loans eating away at his paycheck. The recent grads recognized the immense value in helping people get rid of draining debt faster. With Qoins users use your spare change to help pay off your debts faster. Qoins has taken a strong stance in supporting Black people in the movement for social justice.
You can follow him here @nwashjr2
For those who don’t have good enough credit to access a bank loan, there’s an age-old tradition that provides a viable alternative for financing: a lending circle. Groups regularly contribute to a fund and then take it in turns to withdraw monies when it’s their turn.
Sou-sou, which comes from the Yoruba term “esesu,” originated in West Africa, but these informal lending clubs are practiced in many African and Caribbean countries. That’s the inspiration for Washington D.C.-based Invest Sou Sou, a startup that aims to modernize the concept and turn it into a scalable business to help people save money, build credit, and access capital.
You can follow her here @InvestSouSou
After Kiley Summers and his wife Ty’Lisha Summers successfully paid off over $100K in debt, they knew they wanted to help others achieve the same goals. Turning to technology to automate the process, SpenDebt was born. The Houston-based fintech company provides a micro-payment debt solution to help consumers pay off debt as they swipe at the register. By creating a profile, linking bank account information, and setting preferred amounts, users can channel funds to their outstanding debt balances. The couple has engineering backgrounds, working for Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies, respectively.
You can follow him here @MR_KSUMM
Industry heavyweights Moses Onitilo, John Kamara, and Olusegun George have teamed up to spearhead fintech startup Jamborow. The B2B data-driven enterprise offers unmatched financial services for informal workers. Jamborow calls itself Africa’s first inclusive and intelligent fintech platform. Built for the unbanked and underbanked population, these are often street vendors, small-scale entrepreneurs, and the rural population.
“Jamborow was conceived to promote financial and economic inclusion for the developing world,” says Onitilo. “We conducted extensive research by traveling to various parts of the continent. What we discovered is that the grassroots population often suffered the same challenge: the inability to access formal financial services.”
You can follow him here @jamborowfintech
Sheena Allen is the founder and chief executive of CapWay. Launched in 2016, the mobile bank and financial technology company focuses on those who lack fair opportunity and access to mainstream financial services and the cashless economy. Growing up in a small town in Mississippi, where financial institutions are few and far between, Allen saw the perfect opportunity to solve a problem that impacts over 2.5 billion people worldwide from a perspective that most wouldn’t understand. Sheena and her team worked through R&D and beta testing from 2016-2019 before launching in 2020. Before launching CapWay, Allen was at the helm of her first venture, Sheena Allen Apps.
You can follow her here @whoisSheena
Jammber creates fintech products to help content creators get paid faster and more accurately for music streaming or any other online content. Launched in 2013 and co-headquartered in Chicago and Nashville, the startup has created a global payment platform that facilitates one-to-many payments helping creators pay their collaborators and teams while tracking value contribution data along the way. Jammber is a graduate of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center’s Project Music Accelerator Program and has acquired over $5.5M in investor funding since its launch in 2015.
You can follow him here @jammberceo