Seven Emerging FinTech Players In Top Latin American Markets
Monday, August 31, 2015
Talk about fertile ground for fintech companies: In 2014, according to the World Bank, only about half, 51%, of all adults in Latin America and the Caribbean had a bank account, and only 14% had formal savings. Mexico, Peru, Chile and Colombia, collectively the hot spot of recent economic development in Latin America, have about 200 million people.
A host of companies recognize the opportunity, including many from elsewhere in the world that are expanding into Latin America. One of those is Fintonic. a personal finance app that has 350,000 users in Spain. Founded in 2008, it is leveraging its success — and the Spanish language advantage — to open an office in Chile, with expansions soon to come in Mexico and Colombia.
I talked to Fintonic’s founder Sergio Chalbaud, earlier this month about the landscape for fintech companies in Latin America. Fintonic reminded me of Mint. It connects to your bank account, analyzes activity and offers advice on better spending “by providing real-time alerts, warnings and updates.” Investors include Ideon Financial Solutions, Onza Capital, Inception Capital and Atresmedia; Fintonic is expected to be profitable next year.
Here’s what’s striking: This company looking to expand decided not in the developed “safe” space of Europe, but in Latin America. “We considered Europe as our market, but decided that the opportunity was bigger in Latam and we have some additional competitive advantages in the region,” said Fintonic CEO Sergio Chalbaud. He noted by email that the company shares the language. That “looks trivial, but is very important, since everybody in the team can look at the customer support log or social media and understand how the users are reacting to our proposal.”