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The Front Page of Global Fintech

The the largest fintech community in the world. Subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date on the latest in news opinions, and all things financial technology.

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TWIF Latam 02 July - Visa acquires Pismo 🇧🇷, Mercado Pago for contactless withdrawals in Chile 🇨🇱

TWIF Latam 02 July - Visa acquires Pismo 🇧🇷, Mercado Pago for contactless withdrawals in Chile 🇨🇱
Inauguration of the San Salvador 2023 Central American and Caribbean Games, El Salvador (Source)

$50 million in fintech funding 

Hola amig@s fintech,

From June 23 to July 8, the 24th edition of the Central American and Caribbean Games is underway in San Salvador, El Salvador. Originally planned for Panama City but relocated due to the pandemic, the games have brought together 37 countries for this quadrennial multi-sport event. Notably, El Salvador stands out as the only nation in Latam accepting crypto as currency (and the government investing in it), with recent legislative approval for digital currencies. 

Please find below this week’s front page of Latam fintech news. If you’re reading this on the web, we’d appreciate your support by sharing and subscribing.  

💛 Until next weekend. Até a próxima! - Lorena


Feedback? Reach out to us anytime! This week we're Daniela on product launches & partnerships, and exits; Elena on stat, read of the week, other news, deeper reads, and spotlight; and Lorena on funding, policy, and editing.

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📊 Stat of the Week

Cash is the predominant payment method for in-person purchases in Latam, except in Brazil and Chile. In Brazil, transfers between individuals (28.5%) and credit cards (23.2%) are preferred, while in Chile, debit cards (41.5%) and direct debits (27.6%) are the top choices. (Source)

📖  Read of the Week

According to Endeavor's "Venture Capital and Growth Equity Ecosystem in Latin America 2023", in Q1 2023 Latam startups raised $406 million in venture capital, one of the lowest amounts in the past 5 years. As a result, entrepreneurs have turned to debt financing as an alternative source of funding.

💸 Venture Financing


🇧🇷 Sofi, the Brazilian startup specializing in accounts management, received a $98,000 investment from Sororitê, an angel investor network supporting women-led startups. Sofi simplifies collection processes for businesses, leveraging artificial intelligence to improve customer relationships. The investment will fuel Sofi's growth and innovation.

🇧🇷 Pravaler, the Brazilian company backed by Itaú to finance education, raised $50 million for its "Crédito Universitário I" fund, which operates since 2007. This funding round attracted a range of funds, banks, and institutional investors, through a Credit Rights Investment Fund. No more details were given. With this capital infusion, Pravaler aims to finance the education of more students. 

💰 Venture funds 

🇨🇴 Aquarius Capital, a British Virgin Islands-based alternative investment firm, announced plans to invest $15 million in 25 to 35 startups, primarily in Colombia, to accelerate their growth. The company will allocate funds ranging from $10,000 to $2 million, depending on trajectory and location. The firm has invested in ventures like Laika, Tpaga, and Foodology.

☯️ Exits

🤝 M&A - Fintech

🇧🇷 Visa announced the acquisition of Pismo, the Brazilian payments infrastructure platform, for $1 billion to enhance its core banking capabilities and provide support to banks in connecting with emerging payment rails.

🇨🇱 Latam Trade Capital announced the acquisition of Fivana, the Chilean factoring platform, to strengthen its position in the country. The deal includes the purchase of a portion of Fivana's portfolio valued at up to $10.5 billion. No further details were disclosed.

🚀 Product Launches & Partnerships

💻 Fintech 

🇧🇷 Cora, the Brazilian digital bank that aims to simplify financial management for SMEs, announced its entry into the retail sector with its payment solution, and the launch of an SMEs confidence index, which will reveal concerns about inflation and financial stability.

🇧🇷 OneBlinc, the Brazilian online lending platform for public and health employees, and Mintech, the Brazilian digital banking platform for millennials, announced a partnership to leverage AI in the US payroll loans market. They aim to improve customer lifecycle management, acquisition, and churn reduction.

🇧🇷 Belvo, the Mexican open finance API platform, and FICO, the US analytics software company, announced a partnership to expand credit access in Brazil. They are developing a ML model that will provide a credit risk score, allowing for personalized financial experiences and improved risk management.

🇲🇽 Minu, the Mexican financial health platform for employees, announced its expansion into the meal and fuel vouchers for employees market in Mexico. The platform aims to provide these benefits without additional costs or commissions. 

🏦 Financial Services & Banking

🇲🇽 Paxos, the US blockchain and tokenization platform, and Mercado Pago, announced a partnership to bring Pax Dollar (USDP), the regulated stablecoin, to millions of users in Mexico, offering secure and easy access to digital dollars.

🇨🇱 Mercado Pago announced a new contactless cash withdrawal feature in Chile. The service is carried out in collaboration with Redbanc's ATM network, making Mercado Pago the first non-bank issuer in Chile to offer this function to its users. 

📜 Policy

🇦🇷 Ripio, the Argentine-based exchange, was approved by Spain’s Central Bank to operate as a virtual currency exchange service provider and to custody electronic wallets in the country. With operations across Latam and the US, Ripio aims to grow its approximately 8 million users.

🇧🇷 Mercado Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency exchange, was authorized by the Central Bank of Brazil to enter the real digital (CBDC) pilot program, through a consortium including Mastercard, Genial, Cerc and Sinqia. Mercado Bitcoin recently received its license as a payment institution in Brazil. Some of the other participants of the pilot are Bradesco, Nubank, Banco do BrasilItaú Unibanco, B3, Visa and Microsoft.

🇨🇴 Ripple, the San Francisco-based blockchain tech company, joined forces with Colombia’s Central Bank and the Ministry of Information Technologies and Communications (MinTIC) to develop a central bank digital currency (CBDC) on the XRP Ledger. This partnership marks a crucial step towards incorporating technology into Colombia's financial system.

🇪🇨 Kushki, the Ecuadorian paytech, was approved by the Financial Market Commission in Chile (CMF) to enter the acquiring business in the country. The company is present as a non-bank acquirer in Mexico, Peru, and Colombia.

🇲🇽 Black WallStreet Capital, the Mexican investment advisory firm,  saw its registration canceled by the Mexican financial regulatory authorities (CNBV). The reasons behind this decision remain unclear.

📰 Other News 

🇧🇷 Neon, the Brazil-based digital bank, announced the hiring of Fernanda Solon as its new Vice President of Legal and Compliance.

🇨🇴 Cube Ventures, the VC firm focused on accelerating early-stage startups, and a2censo, the financing ecosystem within the Colombian Stock Exchange, allied to enable individuals and legal entities to invest from US$200,000 to promote SMES development and innovation. 

🌎 Bdeo, the Spanish insurtech, raises $8.2 million to accelerate its international expansion and strengthen its position in Latam.

🌎 AWS announced the launch of the AWS Global Fintech Accelerator program to harness the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) technology in the financial segment.

🌎 Google Cloud launched its "Anti Money Laundering AI" (AMLAI) service that uses machine learning to create risk profiles, monitor transactions, and analyze data, which will help the fintech industry.

📚 Deeper Reads

Nasdaq’s Head of Latin American Listings Sees IPO Resurgence Next Year

Latin American Markets, NYSE Close Higher

Citigroup Lauds LatAm Currencies’ Strength, Offers Upbeat Outlook for Brazil and Mexico

For more human fintech (ES)

Technology finance companies meet the same criteria as other entities (ES)

Central America needs more bank accounts (ES)

🔦Spotlight on Federica Gregorini, General Manager for Mexico at Belvo


Q. Three words to describe yourself? 

Curious, passionate, open minded.

Q. Even though you are still in the tech industry, how has it been for you to go from Kavak, an automobile company (with very tangible products), to Belvo, a company focused on open finance (very intangible)?

They are certainly different, however, they both share some characteristics:

  • They are both disruptive. Belvo is the leader in the open finance segment in Latam and it is the only solution that allows you to share open banking, employment, and tax data.
  • They both aim to improve the quality of life of Latin Americans: thanks to Belvo many people already enjoy more access to financing and to their financial data.
  • They are both dynamic: we are always creating new products and looking to solve problems.

Q. We know that you have talked about inclusion in several forums, what’s your take on the role of women in fintech?

It is urgent to have more women in leadership positions and more women in STEM careers.

We cannot follow outdated and inflexible models that limit professional development and ultimately the evolution of business models. I believe this is everybody’s problem, it isn’t only limited to women. In the last few years, we have seen some improvements, but there is still plenty of room to create a more inclusive work environment and a better society. As it has been found in different studies, companies with more diverse teams perform better. So, the question is not why we should do it, but instead what we are waiting for.

Q. Which has been your greatest professional challenge?

As an undergraduate student I always dreamt about living in an emerging country and creating an impact. The first challenge was to find a way to move abroad and secondly to find a startup eager to change the world. As a young person it can be hard to navigate the job market, but I believe everybody needs to develop their gut instinct and combine rational decision-making with heartfelt feelings when pursuing one’s goals.

Q. How do you feel about the fintech industry in Latam and specifically the regulatory status of open finance in Mexico?

It is certainly the industry that is renewing people's financial lives. There are examples of

fintechs that are breaking barriers, such as the offer of loans for unbanked people, innovative models such as Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL), the large number of digital wallets that provide a digital financial life. Latin America is the market to be in and innovate, as well as to invest in. 

We seek for the secondary laws to be published, as they shall certainly foster innovation and better services to all Mexicans. The Fintech Law pushed Mexico forward in terms of entrepreneurship, but secondary regulations are necessary for us to launch more useful services for Mexicans. Other countries are catching up and we would love Mexico to stay ahead.

Made in Latam with 💛 by Elena, Daniela, and Lorena

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