The end of the year accumulated several duties and the beginning of the year was quite busy and I do apologize to stop writing for a while but now I am ready to catch up the time lost.Let’s start quickly: the end of the year and a new 2017.
The end of 2016 was quite positive for the Fintech ecosystem in Latin America.Here you have some numbers:
- # of Fintechs in Brazil: 206 according to the Fintechlab
- #of Fintechs in Mexico: 158 according to Finnovista
- #of Fintechs in Colombia: 77 according to Finnovista
- #of Fintechs in Argentina: 60 according to Finnovista
- #of Fintechs in Chile: 56 according to Finnovista
In 2016, investments in Latin American Fintechs increased (here you have some examples):
- For Brazil: Nubank (USD 132M), GuiaBolso (USD 20M) and BankFacil (USD 5M)
- For Mexico: Kueski (USD 10M), Konfio (USD 8M) and Kubo Financiero (USD 7.5M)
- For Colombia: Alkanza (USD 3M)
Now in 2017, we know that the number of Fintechs in each country have already increased, governments started structured themselves to learn to deal with Fintechs, Fintech associations has been created (Colombia and Argentina) and even the investors organized themselves to follow better the Fintech growth. In January 2017, new investments were done in the region, Ripio (old BitPago) from Argentina received USD 1.9M and Asaas from Brazil got USD 0.8M.
2017 started positively. Trends? Robo Advisors, Blockchain, Regtech…not really I believe more on Insurtech in the region. Big Insurance companies will finally follow the path that Banks started last year and will learn to deal with insurtechs and new technologies related (IoT for example) to reach a population that do not have an insurance culture.
Challenges? A lot! Regulation, higher investments for mature fintechs, scale, more early stage investments …
Banks will finally go beyond observation…will they finally buy one Fintech, two? why not.
International investments should grow because economic situation in most countries of Latin America is improving.
Finally, and my only certitude, Latin America is not the US or Europe. So if the “booming” of the Fintech sector slowed down there, it does not mean that Latin America will follow the same trend. Fintechs are solving issues that big organizations and even some governments did not want to deal locally. On the other hand, customers seem finally ready to use digital solutions. So initiatives and projects that can finally change a continent should not be stopped and we should work to foster the fintech culture in the region (in English, Spanish or Portuguese). These are my best wishes for 2017!