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Debbie Watkins, Luke Janssen, and Hal Bosher create ‘Lucy’ a technology company supporting underbanked women across Asia
Debbie Watkins, Luke Janssen and Hal Bosher have founded Lucy, a financial services technology company that empowers underbanked female entrepreneurs in Singapore and across Asia. Lucy’s focus is on adding value to women’s lives and businesses through creative use of technology and data – helping female entrepreneurs who are overlooked, underestimated, and unbanked become unstoppable by levelling the financial playing field.
Debbie was most recently Managing Director APMEA at Fern Software; Luke was Founder and CEO of Tigerspike; Hal Bosher was CEO of Yoma Bank and continues as Chairman of Wave Money.
In the aftermath of the global economic decline resulting from COVID-19, it will be critical for people to rebuild. Entrepreneurs are the mainstay of society, everywhere in the world – and will need help to get back on their feet and kickstart the economy. At Lucy, our mission is to support female entrepreneurs in their recovery and growth as much as possible through a combination of carefully-tailored financial services and integrated peer/mentor support networks.
Why women in particular? A growing body of research is showing that the most impact we can have on building economies and communities is to help female entrepreneurs in particular, to start and grow their businesses. To quote Melinda Gates “when money flows into the hands of women, everything changes” – and yet women in particular have been shut out of or prevented from getting full access to financial products to support them.
With smartphone adoption reaching a tipping point, the ability to reach every segment of society is not only possible but profitable. Debbie, Hal and Luke believe that by having a laser-sharp focus on solving the pain points and aspirations of female entrepreneurs, Lucy has the potential to have a significant double-bottom-line impact – being both profitable as a business and, more importantly, making a significant impact on the social development of Asia and beyond.
Many forward thinking organisations and governments see the overwhelming positive impact that helping female entrepreneurs is having, with a rapidly-increasing number of individuals, funds and NGOs committing funds towards supporting the growth of gender equality. Larry Fink (CEO of Blackrock) said “I believe we are on the edge of a fundamental reshaping of finance”, (towards impact and ethical investing). Deploying these billions of dollars of investment capital to where they will have the most impact is almost impossible since women are at best underserved by the financial system and at worst not served at all. This is all the more critical in a post COVID-19 world.
Lucy will bridge the divide between the sources of this capital and female entrepreneurs who will generate the most impact from it (both social and financial). Lucy technology will give donors and investors an easy way to distribute and track grants and loans, and give female entrepreneurs an easy way to sign up and access to financial solutions that they need to start and grow their businesses.
Lucy’s seed round was led by the founders, raising the initial SGD500k to launch version 1 of the technology. The company will operate from Singapore. Debbie is the CEO. Luke and Hal are Directors.