This Week in Fintech Latam (15 Oct)

Hola Amig@s Fintech,

Espero que se encuentren de maravilla!  I’m so pleased to share we’re already 200 subscribers strong.  Thanks, friends!  Below is your digest of fintech financings and exits from the first two weeks of October.  

TLDR:


Editor’s Note: If you’re an early-stage startup founder raising equity or debt, I may be able to help - email me at christine@thisweekinfintech.com


📊 Notable Stat

Mexican startups have raised nearly $3 billion this year, which is roughly as much as the last nine years combined, according to The Economist.


🔦Spotlight on Argentina: Q&A with Hanna Schiuma, VP of Wealth & Community at ank

Q) Three words to describe yourself? A) I’m a doer, I’m dynamic and I’m a sponge (open to learning more every day).

Q) Three fun facts about the fintech landscape in Argentina that everyone should know? A) The sector grew by 70% during the pandemic, fintechs employ more than 20,000 people, Ualá’s $350 million Series D in August this year is considered the most successful private raise ever in the history of Argentina

Q) What is one product that will make a huge difference for financial inclusion? A) Crypto assets

Q) What are you most excited about with regard to Latam fintech right now? A) The possibilities regarding interoperability and open banking, how decentralized finance (defi) and traditional finance is merging with traditional banks and institutions approaching crypto solutions

Q) One resource you would recommend for those interested in learning more? A) Sin Sucursal podcast and TWIF Latam (😊 thanks!)


💼 Job Opportunity

IDB Lab is looking for a Washington DC-based Senior Investment Officer for Latin America.  The application deadline closes today (linked here).


💸 Venture Financing

Crabi, the first Mexican insurtech to receive a license from the insurance commission (CNSF),  raised a $4 million Seed round led by Kaszek Ventures. Redwood Ventures and Tuesday Capital also participated in the round which will fund the continued build-out of the car insurance platform.

Nelo, the Mexico City-based buy-now-pay-later app raised $20 million Series A led by NYC-based Two Sigma Ventures, along with various notable angel investors such as Anthony Pompliano, Gokul Rajaram and Emilie Choi.

FinZi, a Colombian digital bank for teens, raised $350,000 in a Pre-seed round with participation from Innopact and First Check Ventures.

Trii, the Bogotá-based investment app, raised a $5.5 million Seed round led by Global Founders Capital with participation from Y Combinator and a group of Latam angels including Daniel and Andrés Bilbao, Fabián Gomez and Freddy Vega.  The platform allows users to transact in the Colombian stock exchange and plans to expand its offerings to the US and Chilean exchanges as well as offering credit cards.

MOVii, the Colombian mobile wallet service, raised a $15 million Series B to develop a cryptocurrency-buying platform and grow its offerings for business customers.  The round was co-led by Square and Hard Yaka.  MOVii is the country’s first non-bank issuer and acquirer, as well as being a fully regulated depository and payments institution (Sedpe in Spanish).  


☯️ Exits

🤝 M&A - Fintech

Dock (formerly Conductor), the São Paolo-based financial technology infrastructure provider, announced the acquisition of BPP (fka Brasil Pré-Pagos), a fully licensed payment institution.

🏦 M&A - Banks, Insurers & Incumbents

SuRed, the Colombian postal network, received authorization from Colombia banking regulators to acquire shares in Powwi, a regulated depository and payments institution (Sedpe).  This will enable the MiCuenta-SuRed by Powwi product which would allow customers to process payments, transfers, deposits, and savings all via QR codes.

Porto Seguro, the São Paolo-based insurance company, signed an agreement to acquire 74.6% of Atar, a fintech that develops Banking as a Service (BaaS) solutions and banking infrastructure for companies.

Bradesco, Brazil’s third-largest bank, announced its purchase of a 49.99% stake in digital bank Digio for $113.2 million.  Digio offers a bank account, credit card and personal loans to 2.7 million customers.  The transaction is subject to approval by the Brazilian Central Bank and other authorities.  

📈  SPACs

MEKA, the SPAC created by Mercado Libre and Kaszek, completed its IPO on Nasdaq, raising $287 million and launching its search for a Latam tech company to partner with and take public.


🚀 Product Launches

🏦 Financial Services & Banking

Superdigital, Banco Santander’s digital platform for economic inclusion, announced its debut of a new multi-currency product in Argentina.  The free account can be opened by anyone over 18 years old with an ID via their cell phone and is linked to a Mastercard prepaid card.


📰 Other News

13 Latam fintechs were named in CB Insight’s 250 top fintech companies of 2021: Ualá, Creditas, EBANX, Hash, Loft, Nubank, QuintoAndar, Addi, Belvo, Bitso, Clip, Fondeadora, and Konfío


📜 Policy

The Mexican banking commission (CNBV) announced the rejection of several fintech licenses: Propeller, Cumplo, and Inverspot’s crowdfunding (IFC) applications were rejected as well as Flink, Mibo, and Cacao Paycard for the depository institution (IFPE) license.  

Ualá is seeking a new partner for its Mexico operations after UnDosTres (aka Belanea)’s application for the IFPE was rejected.

Of 93 total applications for licenses under the Fintech Law created in 2018, so far Mexican regulators at the CNBV has fully approved 19, including NVIO Pagos (Bitso), BRX Payments (Broxel), STP, and Cuenca as IFPEs plus Likideo MX, Cien Ladrillos and Play Business as IFCs.  Another 34 fintechs have received provisional approval.


🦉Notable Tweet


📚 Deeper Reads

How Latin America became tech’s next big frontier

Interview: NXTP Ventures on the last decade in Latam VC


🌎 Fintech Around the World

See our global coverage and consider subscribing.


👍👎 Did you like this edition of TWIF Latam?  Take a 1-minute anonymous survey here or message me with news items and suggestions.  I’d genuinely appreciate any and all input. If you liked what you read, please consider sharing or subscribing.

Want to be a This Week in Fintech sponsor? Reach out to us at sponsor@thisweekinfintech.com.

Come meet us in person at www.fintechhappyhour.com.

Join our global community!  ​You can find us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Y’all be good out there.  ¡Saludos!  Até a próxima!

This Week in Fintech Latam (01 Oct)

Hola Amig@s Fintech,

Welcome to the first edition of This Week in Fintech for Latin America (TWIF Latam)!  We read the news so you don’t have to.

I’m looking forward to collaborating with Nik, Michael, Osborne, Katie, Ben, and Cristina to highlight all the happenings in the region, where 40% of all VC dollars go to our favorite sector at the crossroads of financial services and technology.

Below is your digest of fintech financings and exits from the second half of September.  

TLDR = Latam fintech is 🔥 hotter than ever, thanks to:

  • the continued boom in e-commerce (61.3% growth from 2019 to 2020) and subsequent need for digital payments and other fintech 

  • crypto as a solution well-suited to the region

  • the proliferation of embedded finance


Editor’s Note: If you’re an early-stage startup founder raising equity or debt, I may be able to help - email me at christine@thisweekinfintech.com


💬 Notable Quote

“Banks are becoming platforms and platforms are becoming banks through embedded finance thanks to changes in regulation, digitization, entrepreneurship, new business models and innovation.”

- Arjuna Costa, MD Flourish Ventures, speaking at FINNOSUMMIT Connect

📊 Notable Stat

With its recent found of funding, Kavak is now not only the 2nd most valuable startup in all of Latin America but its $8.7 billion market value also puts it ahead of companies like Televisa and Carlos Slim’s Grupo Carso, according to El Financiero


💸 Venture Financing

The highlights below from the past two weeks total more than $1.2 billion.  😲

Sprout, the Brazilian wealth management app raised a $5.2 million round led by Y Combinator alongside Investo, The Marathon Lab, and others to expand into the rest of Latin America. The platform lets customers invest from one dollar in US stocks, funds, and ETFs.

Gank, a Brazilian community-based investing platform raised $1.5 million from Canary and Global Founders Capital (GFC) to launch its operations.

Alfa Collab, the investment arm of the Brazilian conglomerate, announced its first investment in agfintech, E-ctare.  $111 million will be distributed over three years for the startup to develop credit solutions for agribusiness.

Ripio, the Argentinian crypto platform raised a $50 million Series B to expand to Colombia, Mexico, and Uruguay this year.

Higo, the Mexico City-based business-to-business (B2B) payments platform for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) raised a $23 million Series A led by Accel.  Angel investors joining the round include Stripe COO Claire Hughes-Johnson and Cristina Cordova, former head of partnerships at Stripe. 

Abra, the digital cash platform, raised $55 million in Series C funding to develop new offerings in wealth management.  The round was led by previous investors IGNIA and Blockchain Capital.  New investors include Kingsway Capital, Tiga, and Stellar Development Foundation. 

Merama raised the largest-ever Series B round in Latin America.  The $225 million equity round will help the Mexico City-based company continue to acquire and build direct-to-consumer brands throughout the region, where the e-commerce market is growing exponentially. 

Kavak, a Mexico City-based used car marketplace that offers financing options raised $700 million in a Series E round led by General Catalyst that doubled the company’s valuation to $8.7 billion. The company has a presence in Brazil and Argentina, as well as Mexico.

Konfio raised a $110 million Series E extension, bringing its valuation to $1.3 billion and minting Mexico’s fourth unicorn.  The small business lender joins the ranks of other fintechs - Bitso, Clip, and used-car marketplace Kavak.

💵 Debt Financing

Sempli, a Colombia-based lending platform raised US$10 million in debt and equity to fund continued growth and their suite of products including loans, insurance, and credit cards for small and medium-sized businesses.

💰Venture funds

Dux Capital, an early-stage fund based in Mexico City and Austin named Susana Espinosa de los Reyes as partner as they launch their second fund, DXII.

Angel Ventures, a Mexican VC firm, announced the acquisition of Coonector, a corporate networking platform.

👀 Is Latam VC an old boys club? Just 5% of venture capital in Latin America goes to female-founded startups, according to a recent study by the IFC.  Additionally, only 7% of VC funds in Latam have a woman investor in decision-making roles. 

In case you missed it (or have been living under a 🪨)… 

Earlier this month, SoftBank announced the launch of its second Latam-focused fund, committing another $3 billion to its unicorn factory.  (SoftBank has invested in all four Mexican unicorns - Bitso, Clip, Kavak, and Konfio - along with fintechs Creditas, Nubank, and Inter from Brazil and Ualá in Argentina).  This is in addition to a separate announcement for a $300 million early-stage fund for Latin America.

☯️ Exits

🤝 M&A - Fintech

Betterfly, the Chilean Insurtech, announced the acquisition of six startups across Chile and Brazil including Kunder, Keypay, Numi (ProSueños), Racional, Nesto, and Xerpa.  The transaction will support the company’s goal of reaching 100 million families in the region by 2025.

Nu México, the subsidiary of Nubank acquired savings and financial society (Sofipo) Akala.  This will allow Nu to accept deposits and expand its product offering in Mexico.

Check out Latam Fintech Hub’s summary of 22 fintech acquisitions

🏦 M&A - Bank

PagoNxt, Banco Santander’s payment fintech, has acquired 70% of its Mexican tech partner Mercadotecnia, Ideas y Tecnología (MIT) as part of its strategy to expand its merchant payments business globally under the Getnet brand.


🚀 Product Launches

💻 Fintech

Sistécredito launched Luegopago, a buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) marketplace in Colombia.

🏦 Financial Services & Banking

BTG Pactual, the Brazilian investment bank announced it will be launching a crypto platform called Mynt.  The service will be made available later this year, allowing users of BTG Pactual digital and BTG+ to trade bitcoin and ether.

Banco Original, the Brazilian digital bank, announced its participation in Apple Pay.

Financiera Dann Regional, a Colombian bank specializing in corporate and consumer finance launched its first commercial neo-bank spinoff, IRIS.  This is the country’s first purely digital bank for SMEs.


📜 Policy

Chilean regulators published a draft fintech law and open banking rules.  

Accendo, a Mexican bank, lost its license due to compliance issues around capital and liquidity requirements.  Accendo provided banking-as-a-service to various fintechs in Mexico.


📚 Deeper Reads

Latin America’s Second Wave of Digital Transformation 

The Latam fintech opportunity: banking the unbanked

Fintech isn’t for everyone - failed fintechs in Brazil 

Latam tech’s awakening of unicorns, plus a list of soon-to-be unicorns aka soonicorns:


🌎 Fintech Around the World

See our global coverage and consider subscribing.


👍👎 Did you like this edition of TWIF Latam?  Take a 1-minute anonymous survey here or message me with news items and suggestions.  I’d genuinely appreciate any and all input. If you liked what you read, please consider sharing or subscribing.

Want to be a This Week in Fintech sponsor? Reach out to us at sponsor@thisweekinfintech.com.

Come meet us in person at www.fintechhappyhour.com.

Join our global community!  ​You can find us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Y’all be good out there.  ¡Saludos!  Até a próxima!

Coming soon

This is This Week in Fintech - Latin America, a newsletter about Fintech in Latin America.

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