SUMMARY

Atikus is a financial inclusion company that helps financial institutions in developing countries better identify, quantify, and mitigate their operational and credit risk. Atikus' solutions combine data analytics, digital platforms, and risk transference, seeking to transform the way they acquire, analyze, and adopt credit clients. By maximizing their financial and operational capacity, Atikus can help financial institutions reach more clients and improve economic opportunities for low-income individuals. With its social objectives in mind, Atikus' interventions have a specific focus on supporting micro-enterprises and SMEs owned and operated by women, youth, and rural/agricultural individuals.

Company Overview

CEO: Kate Woska
Website: www.atik.us
Founded: 2013
Market: Rwanda
Product: SaaS solutions & credit insurance
Sponsor: Gray Ghost Ventures

Over the next six months, Atikus will receive $75,000 USD in grant capital and receive mentoring from its Catalyst Fund sponsor, Gray Ghost Ventures, as part of the first cohort. The company will also work with BFA to identify specific advisory engagements towards strategic milestones and a growth trajectory.


THE Problem and Solution

Approximately 60% of MSMEs are un(der)served today, and the current supply of available capital falls dramatically short of the additional $2.3 trillion global demand for MSME credit. While this segment represents a major share of private sector growth and employment opportunities in developing and emerging economies, a number of market barriers restrict capital flows to many creditworthy MSMEs. These barriers often include balance sheet limitations, operational efficiencies, and lack of robust and/or reliable market- and client-level data. Leveraging proven tools such as technology, data analytics, and risk transference in a combined fashion, Atikus can address many of the areas currently limiting financial inclusion for MSMEs, reduce investment constraints, and facilitates growth in a safe, controlled way.

Atikus’ technology platform, LoanSkout, streamlines processes, collects data, and distributes high value risk transference solutions (namely, Atikus’ one-of-a-kind credit insurance offering) to achieve impact for its clients. At its core, LoanSkout is a beginning-to-end credit administration application that facilitates new client identification and outreach, credit applications and approvals, and post-disbursement due diligence. LoanSkout helps financial institutions better understand and engage with their MSME clients, thereby decreasing their risk and proving that MSMEs can be the key to both portfolio growth and performance. To power LoanSkout’s new client outreach functionality, Atikus works with organizations that serve and strengthen the MSME community (i.e. financial literacy training providers). Well-supported MSMEs make better borrowers, which increases the segment’s attractiveness to financial service providers. Bridging the supply/demand divide and fostering a community based on a shared client segment will unlock the economic potential of the underserved – one loan, one business, and one entrepreneur at a time.

The Innovation

  • Atikus increases the market for credit, accelerating financial institutions’ portfolio growth while managing their risks.
  • It is a catalyst for financial institutions to hedge risk, better leverage existing assets,
  • and scale operations to serve more clients.
  • Its comprehensive credit insurance helps financial institutions smartly and safely grow their credit portfolios without proportionally increasing risk.
  • Digital credit administration reduces financial institutions’ credit-related costs,
  • improves their processes by eliminating paper-based activities and duplicative
  • processes, and provides enhanced data analytics.
  • More targeted client acquisition tool helps financial institutions identify and engage with qualified client leads, generated via partners screened by Atikus.

The Value Proposition

  • Atikus' inter-linked solution minimizes risks for financial institutions, enhances their operational efficiency and outreach.
  • Collects institutional and client level data across supply and demand-side activities to improve the value proposition for MSME clients.
  • By increasing the financial & operational efficiency of financial institutions, Atikus expands the amount of available capital to qualified MSMEs in developing and emerging markets.

THE LEARNING AGENDA

We see a strong fit with Atikus' service offering and the Catalyst Fund's objective to accelerate early-stage inclusive fintech innovators. We believe Atikus will provide an excellent learning opportunity in understanding:

  • 10x Better Value Proposition: Do the efficiency/expediency improvements via IT offer a path to greater profitability and/or stability leading to improved portfolio performance?
  • Ecosystem & partnerships: How do fintech startups choose and build partnerships with financial institutions? 

Awards / Recognition

  • Atikus won Village Capital’s FinTech program in Kenya in 2015
  • Atikus was a finalist in 2015 in the HiiL’s SME Development Challenge and was selected to participate in Seedstars
  • Atikus won the Audience Choice Award at NYU’s $200K Challenge in 2014
  • Atikus has been written about by Forbes, Accion’s Center for Financial Inclusion, CNBC, Crain’s New York Business, and ELLE Magazine