Podcasts

What’s happening with Latin American fintech with Andres Fontao

  • Latin American fintech is beginning to take off.
  • Finnovista's Andres Fontao discusses research his firm published.
close

Email a Friend

What’s happening with Latin American fintech with Andres Fontao

Something interesting is going on in fintech in Latin America. The region is enjoying the early stages of a fintech boom. There are now over 1200 fintechs operating in Latin America. Fintech continues to lead as the largest segment attracting venture capital. And just a few weeks ago in Brazil, a company called Nubank became the region’s first official unicorn.

Andres Fontao joins us on the podcast today to talk about what’s happening in Latin American from a fintech perspective. His firm, Finnovista, helps run innovation programs in the region, connecting entrepreneurs with the resources they need and the incumbent financial firms they’re targeting to partner. Together with the Inter-American Development Bank, Finnovista just published a detailed report on fintech in Latin America.

SubscribeiTunes I SoundCloud I Spotify

The following excerpts were edited for clarity.

The background

Fintech in Latin America isn’t at the levels we see in more mature markets like New York, London, Singapore or Tel Aviv. “We’re still in the initial stages of this fintech boom,” said Andres Fontao, co-founder and managing partner at Finnovista, an organization that empowers fintech ecosystems in the region.

But the region’s fintech activity is definitely growing. Finnovista has identified almost 1200 fintechs operating in the region. Venture capital is flowing to the industry. And the region just had its first unicorn emerge — a Brazilian online bank called Nubank.

“A lot is going on and it’s catching the attention of the large U.S. and Europe fintech brands and you have investors like QED, active in the region,” said Fontao.

Latin American fintech trends

Most of the early fintech activity in the region fits into three buckets: payments, lending (both consumer and business), and SMB services (like digital invoicing and inventory optimization). Financial inclusion is a huge topic in Latin America.

“You’re talking about a region where more than 50 percent of people don’t have access to formal financial services,” said Fontao. “It’s a big opportunity for fintech.”

Pan-Latin America ambitions

Many of these startups have their eyes set on expansion across regional borders. But differences in regulation complicate international growth.

“Regulations don’t make it feasible to scale geographically just yet,” Finnovista’s Fontao said.

Countries like Mexico and Brazil have large enough populations, though, to warrant their own focus. And Argentina probably has the most fintech talent and a vibrant technology ecosystem. But economic and political instability push local entrepreneurs to think beyond their countries.

2019 predictions

Fontao sees further participation of the Chinese in the Latin American market. Tencent lead the recent investment round in Nubank.

“We’re going to see a big Chinese player — a WeChat or Ant Financial — acquire a fintech in Latin America in 2019. Probably in Brazil.”

0 comments on “What’s happening with Latin American fintech with Andres Fontao”

Where Credit's Due Podcast

Where Credit’s Due Ep. 10: Getting capital without dilution or debt through recurring revenue financing, with Pipe and Anthemis

  • Today we're talking about another way of accessing capital: recurring revenue financing. If there's cash flow coming in, this recurring revenue is made into a tradable asset that can be sold to investors.
  • It's a dilution-free and debt-free form of financing, which we explore in detail with Michal Cieplinski, Chief Business Officer at Pipe, and Farhan Lalji, Investor at Anthemis.
Iulia Ciutina | September 28, 2022
Podcasts

Behind Amex’s use of Kabbage as ‘the heartbeat’ of its strategy to help SMBs with cash flow

  • Two years after American Express bought small business lender Kabbage, the products are integrated and growing.
  • Tearsheet sat down with Kabbage's head of marketing to get insight on where the growth is coming from and where the company is headed.
Zachary Miller | September 27, 2022
Payments, Power of Payments Podcast

Power of Payments Ep. 14: JPMorgan vs Stripe and Block, CFPB is coming for BNPL, and is LTO a viable BNPL alternative?

  • This week, we talk about JPMorgan’s acquisition of payments firms Renovite, and the CFPB’s recent report on BNPL firms, which suggests that regulation is coming for the sector.
  • We also discuss why lease-to-own, which is another type of installment payment option, has been gaining popularity in recent months.
Ismail Umar | September 23, 2022
Data, Podcasts, Sponsored

‘Earned wage access is the next evolution in improving day-to-day liquidity’: Argyle’s Matthew Gomes

  • Director of strategy at Argyle, Matt Gomes, joins us on the Tearsheet Podcast.
  • Listen in to our conversation about how payroll and employment data API platforms enable financial institutions to bring the next generation of financial products to consumers.
Argyle | September 22, 2022
Data, Podcasts, Sponsored

‘Developers have become as central a figure as the banks’: Fiserv’s Niranjan Ramaswamy

  • VP and GM of embedded fintech at Fiserv, Niranjan Ramaswamy, joins us on the Tearsheet Podcast.
  • Listen to our conversation about how Fiserv empowers developers to build products that bring fintechs and FIs together.
Fiserv | September 21, 2022
More Articles