Posted In:

E-commerce, Latam, Merama, Unicorn

A Tropical Winter


Dec 11, 2021


Posted In:

E-commerce, Latam, Merama, Unicorn


Dec 11, 2021



This week witnessed a momentous event for Latin American fintech (and, more broadly, tech). Nubank, the world's largest challenger bank IPOed yesterday, with shares jumping on the first day of trading. Founded only eight years ago to offer consumers a no fee credit card, it is now Latin America's most valuable listed bank, ahead of giants like Itau. The transaction ranks as the fifth-largest US stock market flotation of 2021. No small achievement, to say the least.

If the idea of a Colombian founding such a juggernaut in Brazil in the midst of a recession isn't catchy enough, Latin America crowned three new unicorns this week. E-commerce aggregator Merama received its "horn" in about 12 months. Clara even faster, specifically eight months after its launch. Incode - which operates an identity verification and authentication platform - has taken longer, but achieved a roughly 10-fold step-up over its prior mark via this financing.

Such headlines confirm what has been a defining year for the region's tech scene. Furthermore, they continue to share the spotlight that used to be only Brazil's, as attention spreads to its Spanish speaking neighbors, particularly Mexico.

The mixture of select regulatory tailwinds, mobile penetration, urban clustering and now, more than ever, a proven exit pipeline has set up a mighty stage for talented entrepreneurs to circumvent chronic inefficiencies that have hampered the region for decades. In the good words of AFC Richmond’s star striker, Dani Rojas the region is experiencing mucho mucho fintech joy.

Portfolio News

Going from operator to founder - Mikael Hussain, co-founder and CEO of Anyfin, took the stage at Slush in Helsinki to discuss how he made the leap from operator at Klarna (he joined Klarna in 2009 when they all used to wear suits) to being the CEO of a high growth tech company of his own. Read more

Singapore’s Antler closes its UK fund at €25m, to invest in UK companies through London Cohort - The funding will allow Antler to invest in talented individuals and pre-seed stage companies through its London Cohort, which will launch in February 2022. The investors and advisors include Eduardo Saverin’s Light VC, the founders of Quantum Black, Monzo, and Comply Advantage, as well as members of the senior teams at unbound, Babylon Health, Octopus Ventures, Collective Ventures, Blackrock, JP Morgan, PJT, Arctic Securities, and McKinsey. Read more

African startup inflows seen hitting record $5b this year - This would be a higher amount than the figure raised in the previous three years combined, according to an industry forecast. The increased inflows, partly due to investor interest in financial-technology businesses in Africa, helped deliver at least four so-called unicorns in Africa this year. They include Andela, Flutterwave and OPay. Read more

A Tropical Winter

Nubank shares jump on first day of trading in New York - Brazilian tech company becomes largest Latin American financial group after IPO. Read more

E-commerce aggregator Merama gets its horn after just 12 months in business - Merama, which acquires or launches Latin American digital brands, hit a $1.2b valuation — just 12 months after incorporation — following a new $60m follow-on investment led by Series B investors Advent International and SoftBank. Read more

​​SoftBank, General Atlantic bet values Incode at $1.25b - Incode Technologies, a startup that operates an identity verification and authentication platform used by companies including American Express Co. and Citigroup Inc., has been valued at $1.25 billion, a roughly 10-fold step-up over its prior mark. Read more

Fintech startup Clara becomes Mexico’s fifth unicorn - Just eight months after its launch, the business management solutions fintech got a $70m Series B round and a valuation above $1b. Read more

Industry News

Crypto executives urge light touch as Congress mulls new regulation - Top executives from six major cryptocurrency companies including Coinbase and Circle this week urged Congress to provide clearer rules for the booming $3t industry, but warned that overly tough restrictions would push it overseas. The U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee hearing marked the first time the industry's senior leaders have explained their businesses to U.S. lawmakers amid growing concerns cryptocurrencies may pose systemic risks and hurt investors. Read more

This banker is minting money in the fintech boom - His firm, Financial Technology Partners LP, is on track for some $600m in revenue this year, according to people familiar with the matter. Valuations of similar listed firms would peg its worth at $2b or more. Mr. McLaughlin owns it all, having doled out none of the firm’s equity to its 225 or so employees. Read more

WhatsApp launches cryptocurrency payments pilot in the US - WhatsApp has launched a new pilot that lets a “limited number” of people in the US send and receive money from within a chat using cryptocurrency. The feature is powered by Novi, Meta’s digital wallet that launched as a pilot six weeks ago, with payments made using Pax Dollars (USDP), a stablecoin pegged to the US dollar issued by Paxos. Read more

Monzo valuation hits $4.5b on back of drawing thousands of new customers - British neo bank Monzo’s valuation has surged to $4.5b, an increase of more than 200% since the start of the year, as thousands of new customers helped double revenues. It marks a sharp recovery since warnings that the online bank could struggle to continue as a going concern after a bruising start to the pandemic. Read more

These are the world’s richest families - Bloomberg ranks the top 25 wealthiest families globally and points out that scarcely a day goes by without a massive stock sale hitting the market from one of them. $99m one day, $146m the next, almost $294m last week alone. Read more

Meme stock traders thrilled by DOJ’s criminal probe of hedge funds - The horde of rambunctious individual investors across Reddit, Stocktwits and Twitter are thrilled with a sense of vindication. They’ve long demanded that authorities rein in hedge funds — who they see as part of the Wall Street establishment that bets against companies in a greedy pursuit of profits. Read more

Self-described Bitcoin creator must pay $100m in suit - The brother of Dave Kleiman, a computer security expert who died in 2013, alleged that the late Florida man worked with Wright to create and mine Bitcoin in its early years. As a result, the plaintiffs claimed the estate was entitled to half of a cache of as many as 1.1m Bitcoins worth some $70b, which are thought to be held by Satoshi. Read more’s SPAC merger will be delayed by changes it made a day before laying off 900 people on Zoom - The company will seek new regulatory approval after revising the terms of the merger with Aurora Acquisition Corp. That will push back the closing of the transaction, which the companies had previously announced was likely to happen in the fourth quarter. Read more

Kickstarter will move its crowdfunding platform to blockchain - It’s hatching a standalone company to build a crowdfunding system much like Kickstarter’s but based on blockchain technology. When it’s ready, Kickstarter will switch its own website to the new infrastructure, and the new company will make the tools available for anyone to create a competing crowdfunding site. Read more

Visa launches crypto consulting services in push for mainstream adoption - The payments processor said that its crypto advisory practice, housed within its consulting and analytics division, will offer advice to financial institutions, retailers and other firms on everything from rolling out crypto features to exploring non-fungible tokens. Read more

Coinbase launches high-interest DeFi yields to 70 countries - Using the DAI stablecoin, customers can opt in to earn DeFi yield. Customers’ DAI holdings will be deposited with Compound Finance, which Coinbase describes as an “industry leading” DeFi protocol. The interest on this yield is, however, variable. Read more

Select Financings

AgentSync - Denver based provider of infrastructure for the insurance industry raised $75m in Series B funding led by Valor Equity Partners. Read more

CinetPay - Ivory Coast based payment gateway for Francophone Africa raised $2.4m in Seed funding from 4DX Ventures and Flutterwave. Read more

Enfuce - Helsinki based API-first card issuing and payments processing service raised €45m in Series C funding led by Vitruvian Partners. Read more

Flip - Indonesia based money transfer platform raised $48m in Series B funding led by Sequoia Capital India, Insight Partners and Insignia Ventures Partners. Read more

Hometap - Boston based startup that helps homeowners take out cash without assuming new debt raised $60m in new funding led by American Family Ventures. Read more

Hummingbird RegTech - San Francisco based risk and compliance management startup raised $30m in Series B funding led by Battery Ventures. Read more

Lydia - France based financial super app raised $100m in Series C funding led by Dragoneer, Accel and Tencent. Read more

Majority - Houston based mobile bank for U.S. migrants raised $27m in Series A funding led by Valar Ventures. Read more

Mambu - Amsterdam based provider of embedded financial services and banking APIs raised €235m in Series E funding led by EQT Growth. Read more

Monzo - UK based digital bank raised $500m in new funding led by Abu Dhabi Growth Fund. Read more

Nearside - San Francisco based online bank for SMBs raised $58m in Series B funding led by Valar Ventures. Read more

Paradigm - New York based institutional liquidity network for derivative traders raised $35m in Series A funding led by Jump Capital and Alameda Ventures. Read more

Pento - London based provider of payroll management software for SMEs raised $35m in Series B funding led by Tiger Global and Avid Ventures. Read more

Pleo - Denmark based provider of expense management software and smart company cards raised $200m in extended Series C funding led by Coatue. Read more

Resolve - San Francisco based embedded BNPL solutions provider for B2B transactions that spun out of Affirm raised $25m in Series A funding led by Insight Partners. Read more

Rho - New York based corporate spend and cash management startup raised $75m in Series B funding led by Dragoneer. Read more

Stacked - Chicago based provider of passive tools for retail investors in crypto raised $35m in Series A funding led by Alameda Research and Mirana Ventures. Read more

Stride Funding - Boston based student finance startup raised $12m in Series A funding led by Firework Ventures. Read more

Sympl - Egypt based BNPL startup raised $6m in Seed funding led by Beco Capital. Read more

Tipalti - San Mateo based accounts payable automation startup raised $270m in Series F funding led by G-Squared. Read more

TRM Labs - San Francisco based blockchain analysis startup raised $60m in Series B funding led by Tiger Global. Read more


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