Our team does rigorous fieldwork and end-user research to understand the perspective of people and businesses adopting digital products.
In collaboration with RISE Indonesia and sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, we present detailed data on the rising platform economy in rural Indonesia. Our research shows that platform participation significantly improves lives, with increased income and stability.
This publication highlights initial findings from our study of rural platform participants in social commerce, ecommerce, digital agriculture and digital fisheries marketplaces in Indonesia.
This landscape report highlights our initial research efforts in Indonesia across different platform models and their potential to expand financial inclusion.
The Pathways through Platform Livelihoods report in Indonesia highlights a broader set of models of the platform economy which encompasses not just the gig economy via digital platforms but trading and selling but
This post explores the transformative power of mobile money and its influence on fintech innovations in African markets
African startups find themselves in a paradox of being both overhyped and underhyped, navigating challenging markets with vast opportunities. The Total Addressable Market (TAM) in many African countries is constrained by factors like low per capita GDP and limited smartphone penetration. Unlike emerging markets where startups expand their TAM through geographic and product expansion, African startups will have to create new markets.
The African venture capital market appears to be at a stage reminiscent of Southeast Asia's situation five or six years ago before it experienced rapid growth. In 2018, Africa witnessed $1.163 billion in venture capital investments through 164 rounds, while Southeast Asia in 2014 had a comparable amount of $1.163 billion via 165 rounds. The trends suggest similarities between the two regions, especially when considering the growing investments in Africa, which already exceeded $1.2 billion across 92 deals by mid-2019.
This is Sufficient Balance One — a five-part content series about the opportunities in African Fintech. Brought to you by DFS Lab and The Subtext. Originally published as an email series in 2019, this first chapter lays the foundation for everything that will come after; read it to learn how to think about the market and follow up with our more recent Sufficient Balance Two series.
This is the first chapter of a five-part content series on African Fintech, presented by DFS Lab and The Subtext. It highlights the significant growth of fintech startups in Africa, with half of the capital raised by African startups going to fintech and financial inclusion companies in 2018. The post emphasizes Africa's vast population, mobile money adoption, and rising internet penetration as key factors driving fintech opportunities. It also discusses some foundational assumptions about African fintech, including the fragmentation of markets, the importance of understanding local nuances, the prevalence of the informal economy, and the focus on basic financial needs.
This post discusses the concept of "Physical Ubiquity," where physical distribution becomes accessible, creating new markets. It highlights how this concept has gained prominence, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the digitization of delivery services and the shift towards online commerce. The article emphasizes the need for trust in digital payments, the importance of digitizing benefits associated with offline commerce, and trends such as the emergence of digital wallets for physical goods, the inclusion of a wide range of sellers in the online marketplace, the integration of social features into e-commerce, and the potential for increasing incomes for both small businesses and on-demand workers. Overall, it explores the evolving landscape of physical ubiquity in African markets and its potential impact on various sectors.
In Fortune at the middle of the pyramid, we argue, among other things, that the most significant opportunity for African B2C startups lies with consumers who earn between $4 — $8 per day. With this in mind, this piece aims to dig deeper into the day to day life of that population; what they own, what they buy, and what they care about.
This post is a deep dive into two areas we think are often deeply misunderstood — market size and consumer purchasing power in Africa.
“This disconnect between the conditions that drove the growth of the digital economies in high income countries and on-the-ground reality in frontier markets creates what we call the Frontier Blindspot. As Western markets digitized their economies, the world developed intuitions about how technology markets are structured, what successful technology companies look like, and so on. This orthodoxy affects everyone, from founders to investors, driving strategy and informing investment decisions.”
The tech scene in Africa is rapidly evolving, with record-setting valuations and increased capital inflows into the continent's ecosystems, especially in Nigeria's fintech sector. While there is debate about whether the sector is overheated, some believe that Africa's tech journey has just begun. However, the substantial amount of capital raised needs to be contextualized. The report explores the concept of physical ubiquity, focusing on Side B businesses that emphasize location-centricity, physical networks of merchants, and timely last-mile fulfillment. These businesses have the potential to disintermediate traditional retail and offer opportunities for sustainable growth.
The Contribution of Platform Livelihoods to an Inclusive Digital Economy in Indonesia: Literature Review and Stakeholder Consultations.
This paper takes a critical look at the potential for digital platforms to be partners in expanding financial inclusion in Africa.
This paper explores the ability to use Natural Language Processing to create conversational interfaces for digital products and services used by low-income people. Companies may be able to use artificial intelligence and natural language processing to improve agriculture, disaster response, health, and financial services for low- income people. Governments and NGOs may also be able to use these technologies to improve service design and delivery.