Brazilian Fintech warriors are here

During the last month, I have read several articles from the Brazilian press praising Fintech and key players who are disrupting the current Brazilian Financial landscape. This attention from the media is a clear example that finally and officially the Fintech warriors are here to fight.

Some years ago, most of local banks did not wanted to believe in these players that were disturbing Europe and the US. However, conversely to Europe and the US, the bank system in Brazil is very concentrated and almost 5 banks control all the financial services system of the country. With that, banks were very confident about the regulation and the Central bank actions to restraint any new entrant, especially small startups offering financial services. The reality turned out to be different and the central bank is rather curious and eager to know more about how far Fintech companies can arrive in Brazilian territory.

Even if some financial services executives may still be sceptics about the fintech revolution within the biggest Latin-American country, their organizations started to take some initiatives. Bradesco has launched the InovaBRA program in Sao Paulo to accelerate some fintech startups. They are working on their second edition now. Besides this initiative, since three years ago, there has been a team that travels constantly to New York, London and Silicon Valley to be updated about the new digital trends. Itau Bank has opened a coworking espace in order to gather several startups in a unique environment and boost partnerships and creativity. The idea is to create an entrepreneurship pole in the city. Banco de Brasil has also started to develop some initiatives boosting technology and innovation.

I do expect for the next year, new projects will emerge and more banks and insurance companies will communicate about these opportunities.

But let’s talk now about the success stories that are already disturbing the Brazilians banks.

At the top of the list, we have NuBank. This credit card that can be entirely managed by an application on your cellphone is the new love of most of millennials (80% of the users are under 35). No annuity is paid and the card has lower interest rates compared to a bank. Simplicity and continuous improvement are the key of its success. With 300 thousand people in wait list, this startup received investments from Tiger Global Management, Sequoia Capital, Kaszek Ventures and QED Investors.

For more information, please go to http://www.nubank.com.br

GuiaBolso, one of the Brazilian’s favorite. It is an application linked to your bank account to manage your personal finances, following the expenses and the incomes and even providing some financial advices when required. Today, they have more than 1,6 million users in the country. The company received investments from e.bricks, Valor Capital, Kaszek Ventures, Ribitt Capital ….

For more information, please go to http://www.guiabolso.com.br

Finally, we have Magnetis. It is and Investment online platform with automatized advisors. This technology is new in the country but with great success in the US and Europe. Periodically, the platform reassesses customer portfolio and suggests updates in order to maximize gains. This startup received investments from Monashees, Redpoint, 500startups and angel investors.

For more information, please go to www.magnetis.com.br

These are just three examples of some Brazilian fintech startups, in the next posts I will talk more about other initiatives, because the purpose of the blog is to share about what is happening here in Latin America. There are roughly 150 fintech startups registered in Brazil, according to Clayton consulting.

However, let’s admit that a Fintech company is not as any startup. To be a Fintech success story, you need strong financial services knowledge that is by far a competitive advantage when you are in front of investors. Moreover, the technological structure needs to be robust and safe to ensure accuracy and protection in any transaction. That’s why, on average a normal start-up takes 16 month to start the business but a Fintech start-up needs 22 months.

2015 is ending with the recognition of the growing power of these Brazilian financial startups. What can we expect in 2016? We want larger fintech startups, new ones with disruptive ideas, international examples arriving, blockchain and big purchases … now we are ready to go to the next level Brazil…

Happy 2016!Fintechwarrior

Accelerator programs of Banks: Let’s be friends

The press likes to write about the complex relationship between banks and fintech companies. Are they friends or enemies? It depends, so they are just “Frenemies”.

Instead of digging into this debate, I would like to talk about the friendly side of this relationship: incubator and accelerator programs led by banks.

Besides money, fintech business owners look for efficiency in their operations and opportunities to make their business grow, especially when they are at early stage. With the incubator and accelerator programs, banks become the “partner” who trains, mentors, tests, funds and supports young fintech companies.

Banks have expertise with solid departments dealing with matters where fintech startups are still learning (for example; time management, marketing research, financial planning, governance and regulations).

Let’s be aware banks also represent money. They can be future direct investors or can introduce influential capitalist people and seed investors. On the other hand, they can also become future customers with a national or even international scope.

Banks environment is the best “test kitchen”. As a fellow of an incubator/accelerator program, you will be surrounded by different type of populations ready to test your prototypes and give relevant feedbacks to improve your products.

Finally, networking is key as always. During the entire incubator / accelerator program, the fellow will be in contact with several executives from the bank but also to their network. Moreover, banks select exclusive mentors from the own organization or from the startup environment to go along the fellows during this process. Let’s remember that after the closing of the program, a fellow can always contact them for other matters and may be new opportunities can emerge.

These initiatives are quite famous among big international banks in the US, Europe and Asia. But, what is happening in Brazil?

Bradesco, one of the top banks of the country was the pioneer in Brazil to get involved in the startup world. The bank opened its doors to confront the challenges of innovation and digital revolution. Thus, it launched in 2014 the first edition of InovaBra, an accelerator program with duration of 10 months. In its first edition, 8 companies were selected out of 553 applicants. Today these companies are doing business with the bank. Some of them as Queroquitar.com.br and Qranio.com are also disrupting the current Brazilian startup ecosystem.

After these successful and inspiring stories, now it is time for the second edition.

To be part of the program, the applicant doesn’t need to be a startup that offers financial services. InovaBra is looking for disruptive startups with new business models and new user experiences that can be linked to Bradesco environment.

The accelerated startup will follow an integration process since the beginning, being in contact with several divisions of the bank and different levels of management. After that, there will be a process of experimentation and validation of the prototype to finally define the involvement with the bank.

The application for the second edition is already opened and goes until December 22th 2015.

For further information, please go to http://www.inovabra.com.br

As mentioned at the beginning of this text, to be part of an accelerator program led by a bank will be very positive. Only being part of the selection process will bring more experience to the founders, because it will be very competitive.

Entrepreneurs, click on the link and apply!

Investors keep an eye on the companies selected because they will shake the Brazilian ecosystem soon.

Inovabra