Monica Brand Engel focuses on Quona’s global investments. Monica is an investor and entrepreneur, having launched a number of investment vehicles and products aimed at broadening financial inclusion.

Monica Brand Engel is an entrepreneur and investor, having launched various funds and products aimed at broadening financial inclusion. She is the co-founding partner of Quona Capital—a venture firm focused on fintech for inclusion in emerging markets. Quona is the investment manager for the Accion Frontier Inclusion Fund, the first global, third-party fintech fund for inclusion, and its successor, the Accion Quona Inclusion Fund.

Monica spent her formative years in Silicon Valley, where she helped launch a $50 million multi-bank lending intermediary to finance small businesses. Monica also worked at Calvert Ventures and Anthuri Ventures—early-stage equity vehicles based in Bethesda, Maryland and Cape Town, respectively. While living in South Africa, Monica founded Anthuri Catalysts to prepare early-stage companies for investment.

Monica then joined Accion to set up a product innovation group and worked in Mexico with Gentera (née Compartamos) Bank, the largest microfinance institution in Latin America, which went public in 2007 (NSDQ: GENTERA:MM). She was the founding managing director of Accion’s Frontier Investments Group, the predecessor to Quona Capital.

Monica holds an MBA and MA Ed from Stanford University and a BA in economics from Williams College. She serves on the boards of Sokowatch, Yoco, Azimo, GloboKasNet, Tiaxa and Zoona; is a founding member of the EMPEA Impact Council; and chairs the Investor Representative Committee of LeapFrog Investments, the world’s first microinsurance fund. Previously, she served on the boards of Gentera (née Compartamos) Bank (IPO), Shubham Housing (sold to Premji Invest), AllLife, Paralife, and Pay Rent Builds Credit (accquired by MicroBilt).

She’s half Peruvian and blessed with a fantastic husband and twins.

Investments

Online international remittances

Why we invested

Azimo is a front-runner in the global P2P remittance market, offering a fast, low-cost and secure means to send money 24/7 through a wide variety of channels in 195+ countries and territories.

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Branchless banking agent network

Why we invested

GKN's systems and services enable banking and microfinance institutions, retail goods providers, and government entities to circumvent legacy communications and other physical infrastructures to provide an array of existing and emerging financial services products to the underserved.

Housing and home improvement finance

Why we invested

Website

Data underwriting for mobile financial services

Why we invested

Tiaxa provides a balance advance service for prepaid mobile phone users based on a proprietary cell phone behavior scoring model that provides users with a money advance when faced with insufficient funds in their prepaid account.

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mPOS and payment solutions for SMEs

Why we invested

Yoco is addressing South Africa's large card acceptance gap (high penetration, low card acceptance) by providing mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) devices and support to small merchants that unlock growth.

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Mobile payments and agent network

Why we invested

Zoona is a distribution business that works with partners to bring reliable financial services to underserved communities in Africa. Zoona has recently launched Tilt, a B2B product connecting distribution partners and agents to enable bulk collection and payments.

Website

Working capital provider and last-mile distributor of fast moving consumer goods to informal retailers in East Africa

Why we invested

Sokowatch is aiming to revamp Africa's informal retail supply chain by leveraging e-commerce. Sokowatch enables informal retailers to digitally order goods for quick delivery, powered by partnerships with FMCG manufacturers, and has added on credit offerings to further serve its customers.

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