Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Black-Owned Financial Tech Firm MoCaFi Raises $3 Million To Help Close Racial Wealth Gap


Newark, NJ -- Mobility Capital Finance (MoCaFi), a financial technology company that is committed to bringing financially underserved communities in the United States into the digital banking economy, has closed $3.5 million in a Series Seed funding round. Wole Coaxum, founder of the company, is an African American former Wall Street and insurance industry executive.

The Series Seed round was led by Radicle Impact Partners with other institutional investors including Newark Venture Partners (NVP), Partnership Fund for New York City, Social Venture Circle of Philadelphia, SustainVC, WinWin, Portfolia, and Capital Access Holdings. Several family offices participated as well. Winston & Strawn served as Company counsel.

"MoCaFi delivers high quality, appropriately priced products and services to communities across the country," said Coaxum. "Financially vulnerable people, especially communities of color deserve the opportunity to bank smart and build their credit.

The funding that we have received will be utilized to focus on expanding opportunities for traditionally underserved communities, bringing more people into the financial mainstream – lowering their cost to borrow, increasing their access to quality products and services, and providing a resource in the journey of creating wealth."

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MoCaFi -- based in Harlem (NY) and Newark (NJ) -- is addressing a market failure that exists in the United States where far too many people rely on expensive products to handle their banking needs. It seeks to disrupt the estimated $196 billion alternative financial services market, which includes payday lenders, car title lenders, and check cashing services by leveraging innovative mobile strategies, financial literacy, analytics tools, and digital user acquisition strategies.

MoCaFi's mobile banking platform has partnered with St. Paul-based Sunrise Banks to offer its customers affordable FDIC-insured bank accounts, works with Mastercard to provide cards to the financially underserved and collaborates closely with Equifax to empower its customers to build their credit using their rent payments as a key component of their credit score. MoCaFi also has a marketing partnership with Facebook.

"We are honored to support MoCaFi's mission of building a more economically just society where all people have access to safe and beneficial financial services," said Kat Taylor, Co- Founder and General Partner of Radicle Impact. "MoCaFi is particularly focused on Black and Brown communities who have historically been excluded from wealth creation and who continue to experience harm from predatory financial practices. MoCaFi provides the first step to economic mobility and prosperity for its customers and will be a critical tool in addressing our nation's severe racial wealth gap."

A key part of MoCaFi's business model is to create a framework that addresses limited economic mobility and lack of financial equity in Black and Hispanic communities across the United States. The FDIC estimates that over 50 percent of Black and Hispanic households are either unbanked or underbanked.1 According to a study by Prosperity Now and the Institute for Policy Studies, the median wealth for Black and Latino families in this country will be zero in the coming decades if present trends continue.2

Dan Borok, Managing Partner of Newark Venture Partners, stated, "MoCaFi is bringing financial access and opportunity to underbanked communities by meeting them exactly where they are. Wole and his team built this mobile platform with the belief that everyone should have the opportunity to earn, save and build wealth - and their innovative work reinventing the way credit scores are calculated in these communities show they are exactly the right team for the job. MoCaFi's differentiated offering for the large and growing underbanked market represents a big opportunity and NVP and our community of corporate partners are excited to help them succeed."

MoCaFi completed NVP Labs, Newark Venture Partners' 12-week bridge-to-seed accelerator program that gets startup to scale. The program included capital investment, execution support on sales and marketing, and access to a fulltime growth team as well as mentors and corporate partners.

"MoCaFi is tackling key barriers to economic mobility and helping the unbanked and underbanked build a solid financial future. Building a robust fintech sector in New York City is one of our top priorities," said Maria Gotsch, President and CEO of the Partnership Fund for New York City. "We are happy to support a company focused on giving all New Yorkers access to the digital economy."

"MoCaFi's focus on improving financial mobility and helping the underbanked across the United States build a more secure future aligns perfectly with the thesis of our Rising America Fund," added Trish Costello, CEO of Portfolia. "Successfully addressing this huge unmet need holds the potential for significant venture level returns. Wole and his leadership team are truly driving change in Black and Latinx communities underserved by the current financial system, and we are proud to be an investor."

1 2017 FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households.
2 The Road to Zero Wealth: How the racial wealth divide is hollowing out America’s Middle Class, September 2017, Institute for Policy Studies & Prosperity Now.

About Mobility Capital Finance ["MoCaFi"]
MoCaFi helps communities to achieve economic equality through affordable, credit-building financial products. Their products enable MoCaFi members to perform essential banking services at affordable rates and empower customers to move from financial vulnerability to stability to prosperity through the convenience and security of their smartphone. MoCaFi is focused exclusively on transitioning marginalized communities from unbanked and underbanked to living financially stable lives. Watch founder/CEO Wole Coaxum discuss the MoCaFi platform on WABC TV's Here and Now with host Sandra Bookman.

About Radicle Impact
Radicle Impact is an investment fund that partners with exceptional people to build businesses where financial success creates meaningful social change. Radicle Impact supports technology- enabled businesses that have the potential to transform three critical systems: energy, food and financial services.

About Sunrise Banks Sunrise Banks, N.A., based in St. Paul, Minnesota, seeks to radically change the way urban communities and underserved people thrive by empowering them to achieve their aspirations. Sunrise is certified by the U.S. Treasury as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), a designation earned by approximately 100 banks nationwide. Sunrise Banks is also a member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values and is a certified B Corp for its demonstrated commitment to transparent corporate governance and positive community impact. Learn more at sunrisebanks.com. Sunrise Banks is Member FDIC and an equal housing lender.

For more information, please visit MoCaFi.com .For press inquiries, contact Marjorie Fields Harris at Marjorie@mocafi.com or 919-480-6383.

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