Philippines-based financial services startup Bridge has launched after raising $24m from investors including private equity firm Bamboo Finance and its founding principal and chairman Paul Kocourek.
Other firms that provided the funding for the fledgling Manila-based business included non-profit group Accion, German development finance group DEG and Dutch development bank FMO.
Bridge will provide capital to rural and thrift banks focused on low income populations and micro and small businesses.
The firm expects to make its first investments by June this year and invest all $24m within two years.
Paul Kocourek, founding principal of Bridge, said, “The opportunity and need in provincial areas of the Philippines isenormous. Rural finance is the missing component of inclusive banking.
He noted that 82 per cent of provincial Filipinos do not have bank accounts and only six per cent of business growth in small provincial businesses is funded by bank loans.
Kocourek added, “This lack of access to finance means slower job creation, greater risk for the poor and increasing inequality.
“Bridge will help remove this barrier to development and accelerate growth.”
Bamboo currently has assets under management of $250m across 46 investments.
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