We’re excited to find out the value of the most expensive startups nurtured in the Latin American fintech center
Mexico has one of the fastest-growing fintech sectors in Latin America. A large part of its population is unbanked but using the Internet actively. That creates unique opportunities for fintech development. Just three years ago, it lagged behind Brazil with 334 fintech startups vs 377. Today, the country already boasts 441 startups promoting financial technologies, with 93 fintech companies currently in the process of obtaining a Financial Technology Institution (“FTI”) license. Mexico has substituted Brazil as the leading fintech hub in the region.
There are three unicorns present in this list, while the others will be ranked by total funding raised as the exact valuation is unknown.
- Kavak. Valuation $4B. Founded in 2016.
- Bitso. Valuation $2.2B. Founded in 2014.
- Clip. Valuation: $2B. Founded in 2012.
- Konfio. Total funding: $586M. Founded in 2013.
- Credijusto. Total funding: $253M. Founded in 2014.
- Klar. Total funding: $72.5M. Founded in 2019.
- albo. Total funding: $72.1M. Founded in 2016.
- Belvo. Total funding: $56M. Founded in 2019.
- Kueski. Total funding: $38.8M. Founded in 2012.
- Kubo.financiero. Total funding: $38.8M. Founded in 2012.
Kavak is the No. 1 e-commerce portal to purchase and sell pre-owned cars in Latin America. The platform hosts more than 2,000 vehicles in optimal conditions and within any price range. Customers can also benefit from a unique seven-day or 300km return policy. The fintech disruptor is one of the top five highest-valued startups in Latin America. Besides providing a transparent marketplace for the used cars in the Mexican market, the company also offers its own financing through its fintech arm, Kavak Capital. Solving the auto lending problem is solving the customer experience problem, so it’s logical that Kavak started dealing with auto loans as soon as its business gained momentum. Last year, the startup merged with Checkars to promote its marketplace in Argentina. With the last $485 million funding round, Kavak is intending to expand its services to Brazil.
Bitso is a leading Mexican cryptocurrency exchange. At the beginning of 2021, Bitso became one of the nine approved firms in Colombia’s fintech regulatory sandbox pilot to trial banking services for crypto firms. This May, it also became the first crypto unicorn in Latin America. The exchange currently operates in Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil. Bitso proprietary app does not only allow trading BTC and altcoins but also has a P2P transfer option for both crypto and fiat currencies. It also is the only player in the region to offer crypto-insurance for its clients’ funds.
Clip is the leading digital payment and commerce platform in Mexico. It allows businesses to accept credit and debit card payments at any time and anywhere, converting a smartphone or tablet into a bank terminal. Proprietary credit card readers are also available. Moreover, the remote payments service enables sellers to create payment links that can be sent to customers by any possible means. This way, the startup is empowering even the smallest enterprises and sellers to grow their customer base. Business owners who have been using Clip for at least two months and have met minimum transaction requirements can also access PrestaClip online loans. The loan offers are customized based on sales history.
Konfío provides business management software systems and business credit solutions to growing enterprises. Its customers can get immediate liquidity with a personalized business credit card offering a flexible credit limit. Businesses using Konfio Pay may create payment orders and offer a Konfio credit line to their buyers as well. The startup has already served over 40,000 companies and has become one of the 250 Top Fintechs in the world, according to CB Insights rating. As traditional banks shy away from small to medium-sized business loans in Mexico, Konfio’s data-first approach and fast credit assessment are life-savers for SMBs.
Credijusto is another alternative for small businesses in Mexico in need of credit. This online lending platform is designed to offer easy, reliable, and transparent credit for SMEs. This June, Credijusto made a historic move acquiring Banco Finterra for around $50 million. It became the first fintech to buy a regulated bank in Mexico. This way, Credijusto is now technically the first neobank in the country to operate with a banking license. This acquisition has doubled the size of Credijusto’s business and can rapidly accelerate its growth. For the following years, the startup plans to build a multimillion-dollar portfolio between the US and Latin America, as well as carry out another bank acquisition in the United States.
Klar is a challenger bank that provides deposit and credit services for Mexican customers. The project was realized by the tech team behind Berlin-based n26. The company has served over 200,000 banking customers during the first year of operations. Roughly 27,000 of those customers have taken out loans through the bank. The startup has tripled its growth during the pandemic. It was made possible by providing lower interest rates than traditional banks in the country and catering to customers with no credit history.
albo is one of the leading challenger banks in Mexico, having a 40% share of the national digital banking market. It has half a million customers across the country and a network of 30,000 retail locations where representatives can accept customer deposits. The company received its license to operate as a full depository bank, and is continuously trying to bring the middle and low-income Mexican consumers into the banking system. A year ago, the neobank also started serving businesses, although individual customers remain the main bulk of its clientele. Recently, Tracxn, the global platform that tracks innovative tech companies in more than 30 countries, included albo in the so-called “Soonicorn Club” of Mexico, believing it has the potential to become a unicorn in the short term.
Belvo is the leading Open Banking API platform in Latin America offering one of the easiest ways for fintech companies to access and interpret end-user financial data. Belvo aims to build the technological infrastructures needed so that more and more financial innovators can focus on their core activities. Its API platform connects any application with data from banks, tax authorities, and gig economy companies. It’s often compared to the US-based Plaid. The two companies truly perform similar functions, but Belvo digs deeper into individual financial activities reflecting the peculiarities of the Mexican predominantly cash economy. The startup operates in Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico. Businesses may improve their users’ financial health through account aggregation, better spending analytics and proactive recommendations. Fintechs can automate loan processing via real-time income verification. Belvo’s clients also enjoy automated accounting, simplified expense management and smoother invoicing.
Kueski is the largest online consumer lender in Mexico, that focuses on users who are ineligible for bank loans. Many residents lack the income or collateral to qualify for loans from traditional bank services. Most of the Mexicans either don’t have credit history at all or have too low credit scores. They are Kueski’s target audience. Kueski Pay service allows customers without a credit card (who constitute about 85% of the population) to finance their purchases via the Buy Now Pay Later program. The startup uses big data and advanced analytics to approve and deliver loans in a matter of minutes. KueskiUp is a solution for employees allowing flexible paycheck disbursement. Payroll on demand is a crucial benefit for employees who have no access to traditional credit services.
Kubo.financiero is an innovative multifunctional platform that offers savings plans, investment, debit card, transfers and personal loans. Customers can access different variants of savings plans completely online, invest individually or invite their family and friends to create an investment pool for more returns, take loans for the term from 4 months to 3 years, etc. The startup is authorized and regulated by the National Banking and Securities Commission (CNBV) and by the National Commission for the Protection and Defense of Users of Financial Services (CONDUSEF). It has granted more than 44 thousand loans and increased the value of 170 thousand investments throughout 8 years of operations.