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The 2016 Fintech Finance 35: Michael Schlein

Under Michael Schlein, the former Citigroup executive and SEC chief of staff who became Accion’s CEO in 2009, the nonprofit is increasingly known for the fintech financing dimension of its mission to bring financial services to the poor.

  • By Peter Vasiliev

19. Michael Schlein
President and Chief Executive Officer
Accion International
Last year: 21

Cambridge, Massachusetts–based Accion International has had a hand in building 65 microfinance institutions in 32 countries since 1961. Under Michael Schlein, the former Citigroup executive and Securities and Exchange Commission chief of staff who became Accion’s CEO in 2009, the nonprofit is increasingly known for the fintech financing dimension of its mission to bring financial services to the poor. “We have been building double-bottom-line enterprises,” says Schlein, referring to Accion’s goals of “having a big social impact and harnessing the capital markets.” Accion has two vehicles outside of traditional microfinance: Venture Lab, which is supported by the likes of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Credit Suisse, and MasterCard, and has made more than $9 million in seed-stage investments in 24 companies since 2012; and the Accion Frontier Inclusion Fund, which makes early- and growth-stage investments and is managed by Washington-based Quona Capital, a venture firm focused on fintech in emerging markets. “It is the first global fintech fund for the un- and underbanked in the world,” says Schlein, 55, who has a bachelor’s degree in economics and master’s in political science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and in addition to serving as president and CEO of Accion chairs the New York City Economic Development Corp. Frontier Inclusion Fund transactions this year included participation in a Series C funding for Indian small-business marketplace IndiaMART and an $8 million round for Mexican lending platform Konfio, which uses alternative, noncredit data analytics to gauge a prospective borrower’s creditworthiness. “This technology can create a much more predictive profile of users and provide an on-ramp to further financial inclusion,” explains Schlein, adding that nearly 1,000 fintech companies were vetted in selecting about 30 for the current portfolio. “We’re working to ensure that this technology, and the industry’s transition to digital, ultimately improve lives and drive further inclusion.”


The 2016 Fintech Finance 35

1. Jonathan Korngold
General Atlantic
2. Matthew Harris
Bain Capital Ventures
3. Jane Gladstone
Evercore Partners
4. James Robinson III & James
Robinson IV
RRE Ventures
5. Steven McLaughlin
Financial Technology Partners
6. Amy Nauiokas & Sean Park
Anthemis Group
7. Richard Garman &
Brad Bernstein
FTV Capital
8. Gerard
von Dohlen
Broadhaven Capital Partners
9. Darren Cohen
Goldman Sachs Group
10. Hans Morris
Nyca Partners
11. Meyer (Micky) Malka
Ribbit Capital
12. Maria Gotsch
Partnership Fund for New York City
13. Barry Silbert
Digital Currency Group
14. Jay Reinemann
Propel Venture Partners
15. Mariano Belinky
Santander InnoVentures
16. Justin Brownhill & Neil DeSena
SenaHill Partners
17. François Robinet
AXA Strategic Ventures
18. Vanessa Colella
Citi Ventures
19. Michael Schlein
Accion International
20. Kenneth Marlin
Marlin & Associates
21. Rumi Morales
CME Ventures
22. Alastair (Alex) Rampell
Andreessen Horowitz
23. Steve Gibson
Euclid Opportunities
24. Fabian Vandenreydt
SWIFT
25. Vladislav Solodkiy
Life.SREDA
26. Gardiner Garrard III
TTV Capital
27. Nektarios Liolios
Startupbootcamp Fintech
28. Lawrence Wintermeyer
Innovate Finance
29. Bina Kalola
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
30. Hyder Jaffrey
Fintech Innovation
31. Calvin Choi
AMTD Group
32. Janos Barberis
FinTech
Hong Kong
33. Jalak Jobanputra
Future Perfect Ventures
34. Sopnendu Mohanty
Monetary Authority of Singapore
35. Oskar Mielczarek
de la Miel
Rakuten
FinTech Fund

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