Borrow name: Cauris Finance
Cauris is a mission-driven investment firm that provides private credit to financial technology companies in emerging markets. Working across the Global South—with financings in Africa, Asia and Latin America—Cauris partners with fintechs that are making financial inclusion a reality for tens of millions of consumers and small businesses. Through debt investments, we enable our partners to scale efforts that provide the traditionally underbanked access to financial services that improve their lives. Leveraging Decentralized Finance (DeFi), we aim to facilitate efforts that extend financial services to 100M people because we believe access to credit is key to empowering individuals and small businesses; enabling economic growth in emerging markets; and accelerating the growth of the global middle class.
- Founded by a team of former fintech entrepreneurs, operators, investment professionals and bankers with expertise in credit and structured finance, direct experience working with fintechs in the Global South and deep industry experience in financial inclusion
- Growing portfolio of fintech investments are supported by disciplined and robust underwriting while enabling our fintechs partners to continue innovating and growing
- Cauris has committed over US$85M in lending to best-in-class fintechs in Africa, Asia and Latin America; borrowers are backed by marquee equity investors like A16Z, Tiger Global and the World Bank
- Strong performance track record with $15M borrowed on Goldfinch to date, generating healthy risk-adjusted yields for investors with zero delays or defaults in borrower repayments
- Cauris is targeting to fund at least US$100M in diversified lending opportunities on the Goldfinch protocol over the next year.
Our Team: Key Members & Bios
Alexandre Liege | Co-founder & CEO: Alex brings industry expertise in fintech having launched payment services on three continents over a decade. He recently served as Head of Product and Credit at Juvo (fintech lender), headed emerging market business units at Mastercard, handled product for a startup in Latin America acquired by Visa and previously launched a mobile money payment network in Africa, which has achieved a unicorn valuation. He holds an MBA from Columbia Business School, and an undergraduate degree from ESCE, a business school in Paris, France.
Azer Songnaba, CFA | Co-founder & Chief Investment Officer: Azer brings a wealth of experience in credit underwriting, asset backed lending and securitization, and private investments. Prior to Cauris, Azer worked at Mastercard where he was responsible for underwriting and managing a portfolio of fintechs and financial institutions risk exposures in excess of $1.5B. He began his career at Goldman Sachs in Structured Finance where he originated, structured and distributed over $10B of asset backed securities. Azer holds a Master degree in Finance from the University of Florida, and an MBA from Columbia Business School. He is also a Chartered Financial Analyst.
Alexander Raia | Managing Director: Alec has two decades of experience in finance, fintech, and financial inclusion. Prior to Cauris, he worked at Mastercard driving commercialization efforts for fintech-focused payment solutions. Before joining Mastercard, Alec was an investment banker at Goldman Sachs where he focused on M&A execution in power, infrastructure and renewables. He started his career at the International Rescue Committee (IRC) working in Africa and Asia on post-conflict humanitarian relief programs. Alec is also currently an Adjunct at NYU where he teaches graduate-level classes on financial inclusion. Alec has a MBA from the Wharton School, a Certificate in Global Affairs from NYU and a BA in Economics from Vassar College.
Sylvestre Coulibaly | Investment Associate: Sylvestre brings industry expertise in equity and FX markets. Prior to joining Cauris, he worked for Citi in Hong Kong where he was responsible for covering Asian and US based institutional investors (>$1BN AUM) looking to trade Asian equities through the derivatives markets. He has traded hundreds of millions of notional in equity derivatives products. He started his career on the trading floor at UBS where he was in FX derivatives sales in Paris. Sylvestre holds a Masters degree in financial markets from Université Paris Dauphine and a Bachelors degree in applied mathematics from Université Paris Diderot.
What we do: Investment Thesis
Cauris offers debt capital to fintechs that are making financial inclusion a reality for tens of millions of consumers and small businesses across the Global South. Since inception, we have originated deals to fintech companies to facilitate consumer and MSME lending and productive asset financing. Cauris works with fintechs characterized by strong management teams, scalable portfolios, a track record of strong performance and backing by marquee equity investors.
Our typical borrowers profile:
- Fintechs in Asia, Africa and Latin America with positive track record of origination
- Management teams with relevant experience in the lending sector
- Use data-driven approach in their underwriting and portfolio management efforts
- Provide financing to consumers, gig workers or micro, small and medium-sized enterprises
- Have a well-performing loan book to use as collateral
- Provide short/medium-term loans (less than one year)
- Are in compliance with all regulatory, legal and licensing requirements
- Are supported by marquee VC, PE and strategic investors
What we’ve accomplished: Track Record
As a mission-driven investment firm, Cauris is focused on two overarching objectives: (1) generating high risk-adjusted returns for our investors and (2) supporting the extension of financial services to the traditionally underbanked in emerging markets. To achieve these goals, Cauris has committed $85M in debt investments to best-in-class fintechs across three continents (Africa, Asia and North America) and many countries (India, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Nigeria, Ghana and Mexico). We have an exceptional performance record and continue to generate high risk-adjusted returns for our investors. To date, our portfolio has never had a delay or default in borrower repayments. We’re particularly proud that our investments enable our fintech partners to expand financial agency at the base of the pyramid. To date, our investments have accelerated access to financial services for 400,000 small businesses and consumers in the Global South.
How we do it: Sourcing Strategy & Investment Process
Our sourcing strategy is driven by referrals from our growing network of fintechs, founders and funders (VC and PE) as well our reputation for partnering in good faith to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes. Following an initial introduction, Cauris completes extensive due diligence to assess potential partners’ business model, future growth opportunities, risk dimensions and potential to drive financial inclusion. Significant time is also used to structure transactions to protect our investors. We use a combination of strong asset-level underwriting, structural/legal protections and advanced analytics to secure our debt investments in all fintech partners.
Strong asset level underwriting
- Evaluation of fintech strategy
- Due diligence of operations (underwriting, disbursement and collection policies) & management team
- Historical portfolio & financial Analysis
- Perfected security interest in assets of fintechs
- Robust collateral coverage covenants
- Bankruptcy remoteness of issuer
- Investment diversification across geographies and types
- Peer set analytics to inform underwriting decisions
- Dynamic monitoring of compliance with covenants
- Predictive analysis to anticipate losses
What should backers expect?
Portfolio performance will be available to Goldfinch Backers on a quarterly basis via our online reporting tool, DeepDive.
Cauris is excited to raise capital through Goldfinch because we believe decentralized finance (DeFi) offers a better way to finance fintechs, particularly those with positive social impact in emerging markets.
We founded Cauris with a clear mission: enable fintechs that drive financial inclusion to scale their operations with flexible, frictionless growth capital. But when we looked at the state of fintech financing, we found a significant gap. Fintechs pay a fortune to access traditional financing, if that financing is even available. The World Bank suggests that there is a ~$5T funding gap at the base of the economic pyramid. Consequently, we knew that we needed innovative solutions to support fintechs’ growth aspirations.
On Goldfinch, we found a dynamic community of investors seeking to deploy their capital where it has the most impact. In fact, we believe that the Goldfinch is uniquely positioned—because the protocol bridges the gap between DeFi and real world assets—to unlock capital that can finance fintechs, drive financial inclusion and help close the global financing gap.
Through our experience and expertise, we look forward to providing Goldfinch investors access to high-quality investments in high-growth companies in markets where financial inclusion yields enormous economic opportunity.
What will Cauris bring to the Goldfinch community? What are your plans for working with Goldfinch over the next year?
- Cauris has already brought $15M in financing opportunities to Goldfinch, with a plan to fund an additional $60M on the Goldfinch protocol over the next year.
- Similar to all past borrowing, future opportunities will also subscribe to Cauris’ commitment to provide financing to fintechs driving financial inclusion across the Global South while still providing high risk-adjusted returns to Goldfinch investors.
- We are planning to borrow an additional $60M from Goldfinch protocol over the next year to provide financing to fintechs promoting financial inclusion.
- Cauris will also opportunistically participate as a Backer investor, helping to drive liquidity into the protocol through its existing investment vehicles.