After a strong year for the fintech ecosystem in Latin America, 2019 has started a little bit shyly. Only five fintech investments have been announced so far, worth US$ 35.2 million in disclosed investment. Brazil leads the way with 74% of the investments and Mexico holds the remaining 26% of the amount of the disclosed rounds.
Brazil had some exciting news regarding fintechs obtaining licenses to operate as financial institutions – PagSeguro as a bank and Creditas as a credit institution. Also, a great partnership between Bradesco and EasyCrédito while big companies join forces to explore the QR Code payment market.
In Argentina, a new neo bank is launched backed by a heavy-weight group.
After a solid year, I was expecting a better start for this one, even though January is usually a calmer month. Furthermore, the two leading economies just had a radical change in their governments and are still adjusting to their new reality.
As we say in Brazil, the year only starts for real after the carnival, which is at the beginning of March this year. So, let’s keep calm and prepare for the carnival – then, I’m quite confident we will have some relevant news.
Check out all the relevant fintech deals and news from January 2019 below:
- Brazil – Monashees and Mindset Ventures invested together with Banco Votorantim US$6 million at Weel, a big data fintech focused on working capital loans
- Brazil – Contabilizei, an accounting fintech, closed a US$20M round to expand its current 10,000 customer base.
- Mexico – Albo, a Mexican 100% digital bank, received US$ 7.4M to fuel even further its growth, currently, it has 60,000 users;
- Mexico – Variv leads a US$ 1.8M investment in the P2P platform focused on personal lending Yo Te Presto;
- Peru – The payment processor Culqi received an undisclosed investment from Credicorp to expand.
- Colombia – A newly issued decree by the Colombian government allows banks in the country to invest in fintechs, which will likely increase investments in fintech in Colombia and accelerate the local banks’ digital transformation.
- Brazil – The Brazilian Central Bank is planning to improve its payment settlement system to allow instant payments at a lower cost per transaction.
- Brazil – Fintech EasyCrédito launched a partnership with the Brazilian bank Bradesco a personal lending platform to non-account holders of the institution
- Mexico – BBVA and 500 Startups Latam started a partnership for the new batch of startups of the accelerator. The goal is to facilitate pilots between the bank and the accelerated startups by using the OpenMarket platform from BBVA.
- Colombia – MercadoPago and Bancolombia closed a partnership to incentivize e-commerce growth in Colombia.
- Brazil – PagSeguro, a payment startup that listed last year on the NYSE, acquired a bank to get a banking license to operate in Brazil
- Brazil – Creditas, the largest lending fintech in Brazil, was granted a newly-created license (“Sociedade de Crédito Direto”) that allows fintechs to lend directly without the need of a financial institution partner.
- Brazil – Cosan and Maznet launched a joint venture called Payly to explore the QR-code payments market in Brazil, aiming to replicate what Alipay and WeChat did in China.
- Brazil – A group of former BTG Pactual executives received the license to launch C6 Bank, another neo bank to compete in this competitive market in Brazil
- Argentina – The Transatlántica Group launched a new neo bank in Argentina, Rebanking, trying to position into the digital services market.
- Mexico – Startupbootcamp Fintech Mexico City announced its second batch of fintechs to participate on its Scale program. The selected fintechs were: Mango Life (Mexico), Mosabi (USA), Prestanómico (Mexico), Ualet (Colombia), and Vexi (Mexico).
Stay tuned for the the February Fintech Snapshot next month.
Thiago Paiva is a partner at Liquia Digital Assets, an investment bank for the digital assets economy. He is passionate about the intersection of finance and technology.
He has 8+ years working with startups and innovation, investing in more than 60 startups through global accelerators Wayra (Telefonica’s global accelerator) and Startupbootcamp Fintech. He worked closely with more than 20 fintechs from 8 different countries for the past five years.