Tribal Credit, which provides credit cards to startups in emerging markets, raises $34.3M

The B2B payments space has seen an explosion in demand, and investor interest, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic as businesses try to figure out how to pay each other digitally. The challenges become even more complex when dealing with cross-border payments.

Startups that were formed before the pandemic stand to benefit from the shift. One such startup, Tribal Credit, launched its beta in late 2019 to provide payment products for startups and small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in emerging markets.

Today, Tribal Credit announced it has raised $34.3 million in a combined Series A and debt round led by QED Investors and Partners for Growth (PFG). Existing backers BECO Capital, Global Ventures, OTG Ventures and Endure Capital also participated in the round, along with new investor Endeavor Catalyst. The raise follows “10x” year-over-year growth, according to CEO and co-founder Amr Shady.

As part of the investment, Tribal received $3 million from the Stellar Development Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports the development and growth of the open-source Stellar blockchain network. 

Tribal uses a proprietary AI-driven underwriting approval process to evaluate businesses and approve them for credit lines. Those businesses can then use those credit lines to spend on Tribal’s products, Tribal Card and Tribal Pay. Tribal Card is a business Visa card that allows users to create physical and virtual multi-currency cards. Tribal Pay allows them to make payments to merchants and suppliers that don’t accept credit cards. 

The company says its value proposition lies not only in its ability to provide SMEs with virtual and physical corporate cards, but also a digital platform that allows founders and CFOs “to give access to and manage the spend of their distributed teams.”

“We’ve seen more demand for making B2B online payments amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with many SMEs migrating to digital and spending more on online products and services,” Shady told TechCrunch. “Companies in this new economy are digital and global first. The need for a corporate card was accelerated. As card spend grew during the pandemic, this meant greater liability on founders’ using their personal cards, or other competing cards linked to their personal credit.” 

Tribal, he said, underwrites the company without impacting the founders’ credit. 

Another accelerator for its products was how the pandemic forced teams to work remotely. Founders and CFOs needed a way to provide access to corporate payments while maintaining control, Shady pointed out. Tribal’s platform aims to streamline financial operations for a distributed team. 

Of course, Tribal is not the only company offering credit cards for startups. Brex, which has amassed $465 million in venture capital funding to date, also markets a credit card tailored for startups. While the companies are similar, there is a distinct difference, according to Shady: “Emerging market SMEs have different pains, particularly when it comes to cross-border payments.”

Tribal’s initial efforts are focused on Latin America, in particular Mexico, which is the startup’s biggest market.

Its new capital will go toward accelerating its growth in the region, according to Shady. In particular, the equity will go toward growing Tribal’s leadership team in Mexico, while the debt will fuel the company’s customers’ growing credit lines, Shady said.

“We have invested heavily in our product over the past year,” Shady said. “We’re the first mover in our segment in LatAm with a diverse suite of SME products that includes corporate cards, wire payments and treasury services. We’re incredibly excited by the future ahead of us in Mexico and beyond.” 

Customers include Minu, Ben and Frank, Fairplay and SLM, among others.

Looking ahead, Tribal is exploring four other Latin American markets and expects to be operational in one new market by year’s end, according to Shady.

Image Credits: Tribal Credit

QED Investors partner Lauren Morton said her firm has been following payments and the lending needs of SMEs in emerging markets closely.

“Compared with everything else we’ve seen in this market, Tribal has a differentiated and superior product that meets customers’ needs in a way that no competitor can match,” she said in a written statement. 

Morton went on to note that Tribal has had strong traction in Mexico, with adoption from “fast-growing startups” across the country, including many companies within QED’s own portfolio. 

PFG is providing the debt facility for Tribal. In addition to funding from PFG’s global fund, the firm will be co-investing from its Latin America Growth Lending Fund in partnership with IDB Invest and SVB Financial Group, the parent company of Silicon Valley Bank. 

Tribal Credit previously raised $7.8 million in a series of seed rounds. The latest round brings its total raised to $42.1 million. Tribal Credit also joined Visa’s Fintech Fast Track Program, a move that it said should accelerate its integration with Visa’s global payment network.  The company currently has 75 employees, up from 31 last year.

#artificial-intelligence, #bank, #beco-capital, #blockchain, #blockchain-network, #credit, #credit-card, #debt, #economy, #fairplay, #finance, #frank, #funding, #fundings-exits, #latin-america, #mexico, #minu, #money, #online-payments, #online-products, #partners-for-growth, #payment-network, #payments, #qed-investors, #recent-funding, #silicon-valley-bank, #slm, #startups, #svb-financial-group, #tc, #tribal-credit, #venture-capital

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Night Crossings: Scenes From the U.S.-Mexico Border

Border crossings are at their highest levels in 15 years. 

#border-patrol-us, #customs-and-border-protection-us, #illegal-immigration, #immigration-and-emigration, #mexico, #rio-grande-river, #roma-tex

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U.N. Reports Surge of Migrant Children Entering Mexico, Destined for U.S.

The number of children arriving in Mexico seeking to cross into the United States increased ninefold from January to March 2021. Some 275 arrive each day.

#children-and-childhood, #immigration-and-emigration, #mexico, #united-nations-childrens-fund

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Nelo raises $3M to grow ‘buy now, pay later’ in Mexico

Buy now, pay later is a way of paying for purchases via installment loans that generally have no interest. The concept has grown in popularity in recent years, especially in markets such as the United States, Europe and Australia. Numerous players abound, all fighting for market share — from Affirm to Klarna to Afterpay, among others.

But notably, none of these bigger players have yet to penetrate another very large market — Latin America. Enter Nelo, a startup founded by former Uber international growth team leads, which is building buy now, pay later in Mexico. The company is already live with more than 45 merchants and over 150,000 users.

San Francisco-based fintech-focused VC firm Homebrew led its recent seed round of $3 million, which also included participation from Susa Ventures, Crossbeam, Rogue Capital, Unpopular Ventures and others. With the latest capital infusion, Nelo has raised a total of $5.6 million since its 2019 inception.

Nelo is not the only player in the Mexican market. A number of others, including Alchemy and Addi, have recently outlined plans for buy now, pay later offerings in the region. But where Nelo has an advantage, believes CEO Kyle Miller, is its established relationships with about 45 merchants.

“What I’m excited about is the relationship with the merchants,” Miller told TechCrunch. “If we find a large global one and increase conversion for them, that is our defensibility [against competitors]. What’s important here is signing on merchants, since they usually only have one offering in their checkout.”

He and co-founder Stephen Hebson used to work for Uber’s international growth team, growing financial services products in India, Mexico, China and Brazil.

“We got to see a cross market where countries were accelerating and where others weren’t,” Miller recalls. “For example, China was a leader in mobile payments and digital finance in India was completely transformed.”

Nelo co-founders Stephen Hebson and Kyle Miller; Image courtesy of Nelo

But in markets like Mexico, the percentage of cash payments for trips was very high. And to Miller and Hebson, this spelled opportunity.

Nelo launched its first product in Mexico in January 2020, similar to a debit card offering from a neobank. In the middle of the year, the company launched credit installment loans.

“It became immediately clear that it was going to be our most popular feature,” Miller said. “By the end of the year, it was the vast majority of our business and something that our users were telling their friends about. We were solving a real pain point.”

Indeed, cash remains the dominant method of payment in Mexico, with an estimated 86% of all payments being in the form of cash. According to eMarketer, the region was the fastest-growing e-commerce market in the world in 2020, with 37% year over year growth.

“Access to credit is something we take for granted in the U.S.,” Miller said. “By the end of the year, we realized this was the future of business, and we decided to focus just on credit.”

In March, Nelo launched its first product via an Android app and will be launching a web app soon.

Customers can use its offering like a credit card, connecting directly with merchants such as Netflix and Spotify. Many users are paying for things like utility bills and cell phone bills, turning them from prepaid to postpay.

With its current product, the company has lent about $2 million, and is seeing growth of about 20% month over month.

“We’re seeing massive demand for this new product in the way of organic signups,” Miller said, “for all the reasons Buy Now, Pay Later has been successful in markets like the U.S., Europe and Australia.”

Paying for installments is already common in Latin America, particularly in Brazil, so the concept is not foreign to residents in the region.

“We expected this is soon going to be a competitive market, so we’re hiring data scientists and engineers to continue improving our product, and grow,” Miller said.

Nelo has about 14 employees with an engineering team in New York.

Homebrew Partner Satya Patel says he’s excited about Nelo because he believes the startup “solves a serious problem related to the lack of credit for Mexican consumers.”

“Credit card penetration is less than 10% in Mexico and other forms of credit are effectively non-existent,” he wrote via email. “Nelo makes it possible for Mexicans to easily and inexpensively increase their purchasing power at the point of sale. And importantly, Nelo is delivering this solution online, supporting growing interest in e-commerce, and also offline, where consumers regularly shop today.”

Patel adds that what Nelo is building is valuable because he is not aware of any reliable, comprehensive consumer credit rating data set in Mexico.

“They are building underwriting models based on proprietary data and growing the merchant network at an incredible rate,” he said. “This buy now, pay later opportunity is untapped in Mexico but requires a very different approach than what has been successful in other markets.”

The Nelo team, according to Patel, understands the nuances of the market and “is executing at an exceptional pace.”

#bnpl, #finance, #financial-services, #fintech, #funding, #fundings-exits, #homebrew, #latin-america, #mexico, #mexico-city, #nelo, #payments, #recent-funding, #satya-patel, #startup, #startups, #venture-capital

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Latin America’s Former Presidents Have Way Too Much Power

It’s time to take them down from their pedestals.

#central-america, #correa-rafael, #democracy-theory-and-philosophy, #ecuador, #elections, #lasso-guillermo, #latin-america, #mexico, #peru, #south-america

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With the U.S. Asylum System Closed to Many, Some Find Sanctuary in Mexico

A record number of people petitioned for asylum in Mexico last month, drawn by family ties and high approval rates — and discouraged by the difficulty of getting into the U.S.

#asylum-right-of, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #immigration-and-emigration, #mexico

0

The Larger Than Life Art Murals of El Paso

For the muralists of El Paso, immigration isn’t a “crisis.” It’s life.

#american-rescue-plan-2021, #art, #el-paso-tex, #immigration-and-emigration, #mexico, #murals, #orozco-jose-clemente, #rivera-diego

0

‘No More Parties’: Mexico’s Piñata Makers Badly Bruised by Pandemic

The piñata industry, dependent on social gatherings, has seen sales plummet. Some artisans, in a creative bid to survive, have added coronavirus figures to their lineups of superheros and princesses.

#christmas, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #mexico, #mexico-city-mexico, #quarantine-life-and-culture

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Mexican unicorn Kavak raises a $485M Series D at a $4B valuation.

Kavak, the Mexican startup that’s disrupted the used car market in Mexico and Argentina, today announced its Series D of $485 million, which now values the company at $4 billion. This round more than triples their previous valuation of $1.15 billion, which established them as a unicorn just a couple of months ago in October of 2020. Kavak is now one of the top five highest-valued startups in Latin America.

The round was led by D1 Capital Partners, Founders Fund, Ribbit, and BOND, and brings Kavak’s total capital raised to date to more than $900 million. Kavak recently soft-launched in Brazil, and this new round of funding will be used to build out the Brazilian market and beyond, said Carlos García Ottati, Kavak’s CEO and Co-Founder. The company plans to do a full launch in Brazil in the next 60 days, García said, and we can expect to see Kavak in markets outside Latin America in the next 24 months, he added.

“We were built to solve emerging market problems,” García said.

Kavak, which was founded in 2016, is an online marketplace that aims to bring transparency, security, and access to financing to the used car market. The company also offers its own financing through its fintech arm, Kavak Capital, and counts more than 2,500 employees and 20 logistics and reconditioning hubs in Mexico and Argentina.

“In Latin America, 90% of the [used car] transactions are informal, which leads to a 40% fraud rate,” said García, who experienced these challenges first-hand when he moved to Mexico from Colombia a couple of years ago and bought a used car. 

“My budget allowed me to buy a used car, but there was no infrastructure around it. It took me 6 months to buy the car, and then the car had legal and mechanical issues and I lost most of my money,” he said. Kavak buys cars from individuals, refurbishes them, and offers warranties to buyers.

“Instead of buying a new car, they can buy a better car that still has all the warranties. It’s a really aspirational process,” said García. The company, which really amounts to four companies in one given its areas of focus, was built to be comprehensive by design in order to meet the various gaps in the market, García said.

“When you’re building a business here [Latin America], you need to build several businesses because so many things are broken,” he said. That’s why the financing option, for example, has been a key to their success, according to García.

Financing has traditionally been hard to come by in Brazil, and as García said, the used car market lacks infrastructure there, too. That being said, Brazil is Latin America’s fintech hub, and the space has been made leaps and bounds over the last 7-10 years with companies such as Nubank, PagSeguro, Creditas, PicPay, and others leading the way. As a result, credit cards and loans are more widely available today in the region, offering competition for Kavak Capital. While Kavak has localized some of its product for the Brazilian market — namely building out a Portuguese language version of the app and website — García said the markets are very similar.

“In Brazil, you still have the same problems that you have in Mexico, but Brazil is a little more developed, especially in fintech, which is light years ahead of Mexico,” he said.

With the Brazilian product heading to the races, García said they already have plans for other regions, though he declined to name them.

“80% of people in emerging markets don’t have access to a car,” García said of the global market size. “We want to go into big markets where customers are facing similar problems and where Kavak can really change their lives,” he added.

#apps, #argentina, #articles, #automotive, #brazil, #colombia, #creditas, #d1-capital-partners, #ecommerce, #finance, #financial-technology, #financing, #founders-fund, #funding, #latin-america, #logistics, #mexico, #nubank, #online-lending, #online-marketplace, #pagseguro, #recent-funding, #series-d, #startups, #transportation, #unicorn, #used-cars

0

The ‘Joy and Envy’ of Vaccine FOMO

As some people start to shake off coronavirus precautions, those who are waiting their turn for a vaccine say the FOMO is real. “It’s like when every friend is getting engaged before you.”

#age-chronological, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #brazil, #canada, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #disease-rates, #european-union, #france, #germany, #great-britain, #mexico, #politics-and-government, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #states-us, #vaccination-and-immunization

0

Biden Should Finish the Wall

… Or the next Trump will.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #california, #central-america, #democratic-party, #illegal-immigration, #immigration-and-emigration, #mexico, #trump-donald-j, #united-states, #united-states-politics-and-government

0

‘They Have No One’: At 88, a Transgender Icon Combats Loneliness Among Seniors

Samantha Flores, who created a community center in Mexico City for older L.G.B.T.Q. people that closed during the pandemic, is hoping to reopen it.

#elderly, #mexico, #mexico-city-mexico, #transgender-and-transsexuals

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‘Mommy, I Have Bad News’: For Child Migrants, Mexico Can Be the End of the Road

Thousands of children, most from Central America, are making their way to the border, many hoping to meet parents in the United States. But for those caught in Mexico, there is only near-certain deportation.

#children-and-childhood, #ciudad-juarez-mexico, #customs-and-border-protection-us, #immigration-and-emigration, #mexico

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Tech in Mexico: A confluence of Latin America, the US and Asia

Mexico has been known as an up-and-coming tech hub and a gateway to the Latin American market. As an investor focused on developer-centered products, open-source startups and infrastructure technology companies with a particular interest in emerging market innovation, I have been wanting to do some firsthand learning there.

So, despite the ongoing pandemic, I took all the necessary precautions and spent roughly seven weeks in Mexico from January to March. I spent most of my time meeting founders to get a handle on what they are building, why they are pursuing those ideas, and how the entire ecosystem is evolving to support their ambitions.

Knowledge transfer is not the only trend flowing in the U.S.-Asia-LatAm nexus. Competition is afoot as well.

The U.S.-Asia-LatAm nexus

One fascinating, though not surprising, observation was how much LatAm entrepreneurs look to Asian tech giants for product inspiration and growth strategies. Companies like Tencent, DiDi and Grab are household names among founders. This makes sense because the market conditions in Mexico and other parts of LatAm resemble China, India and Southeast Asia more than the U.S.

What often happens is entrepreneurs first look to successful startups in the U.S. to emulate and localize. As they find product-market fit, they start to look to Asian tech companies for inspiration while morphing them to suit local needs.

One good example is Rappi, an app that started out as a grocery delivery service. Its future ambition is squarely to become the superapp of LatAm: It is expanding aggressively both geographically and productwise into delivery for restaurant orders, pharmacy and even COVID tests. It’s also introducing new payment, banking and financial-service products. Rappi Pay launched in Mexico just a few weeks ago, while I was still in the country.

Rappi now looks more like Meituan and Grab than any of its U.S. counterparts, and that’s not an accident. SoftBank, whose portfolio contains many of these Asian tech giants, invested heavily in Rappi’s previous two rounds and now has a $5 billion fund dedicated to the LatAm region. The knowledge and experience accumulated from Asian tech in the last 10 years is transferring to like-minded firms like Rappi, right under Silicon Valley’s proverbial nose.

U.S.-Asia-LatAm competition

Knowledge transfer is not the only trend flowing in the U.S.-Asia-LatAm nexus. Competition is afoot as well.

Because of similar market conditions, Asian tech giants are directly expanding into Mexico and other LatAm countries. The one I witnessed up close during my visit was DiDi.

DiDi’s foray into LatAm started in January 2018 with its acquisition of 99, a Brazilian ride-sharing company. In April 2018, DiDi entered Mexico with its bread-and-butter ride-sharing service. It wasn’t until April 2019 that DiDi launched its food delivery service, DiDi Food, in Monterrey and Guadalajara — two of the largest cities in Mexico. Its expansion hasn’t slowed down since, with a 10% extra earnings incentive to lure delivery drivers.

DiDi delivery worker recruitment promotion banner outside venue

Image Credits: Kevin Xu

My Airbnb in Mexico City happened to be two blocks away from the large WeWork building where DiDi’s local office was located. Every day, I saw a long line of people responding to the earning incentives — waiting outside to get hired as DiDi delivery workers.

Meanwhile, the Uber office that’s literally one block away had hardly any foot traffic. As Uber and Rappi fight for more wealthy consumers, DiDi is working to attract lower-income users to grab market share, hoping that one day some of these people will reach the middle class and become profitable customers.

#column, #ec-column, #ec-latin-america-and-caribbean, #mexico, #private-equity, #southeast-asia, #startups, #united-states, #venture-capital

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The Real Reason for the Border Crisis

No one is holding American employers to account for their willingness to hire millions of unauthorized immigrants.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #central-america, #foreign-workers, #homeland-security-department, #illegal-immigration, #immigration-and-emigration, #labor-and-jobs, #mexico, #migrant-labor-non-agriculture, #trump-donald-j, #united-states

0

Man Is Charged With Smuggling in Crash That Killed 13 Migrants in California

More than two dozen people were crowded into an S.U.V. that collided with a tractor-trailer near the border. Jose Cruz Noguez was accused of coordinating the smuggling attempt.

#california, #cruz-noguez-jose, #holtville-calif, #illegal-immigration, #mexico, #smuggling, #traffic-accidents-and-safety

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The Death Cleaner

For a forensic cleaner in Mexico City, helping grieving families heal is at the core of his service.

#death-and-dying, #families-and-family-life, #forensic-science, #mexico

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Google starts trialing its FLoC cookie alternative in Chrome

Google today announced that it is rolling out Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC), a crucial part of its Privacy Sandbox project for Chrome, as a developer origin trial.

FLoC is meant to be an alternative to the kind of cookies that advertising technology companies use today to track you across the web. Instead of a personally identifiable cookie, FLoC runs locally and analyzes your browsing behavior to group you into a cohort of like-minded people with similar interests (and doesn’t share your browsing history with Google). That cohort is specific enough to allow advertisers to do their thing and show you relevant ads, but without being so specific as to allow marketers to identify you personally.

This “interest-based advertising,” as Google likes to call it, allows you to hide within the crowd of users with similar interests. All the browser displays is a cohort ID and all your browsing history and other data stay locally.

Image Credits: Google / Getty Images

The trial will start in the U.S., Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and the Philippines. Over time, Google plans to scale it globally. As we learned earlier this month, Google is not running any tests in Europe because of concerns around GDPR and other privacy regulations (in part, because it’s unclear whether FLoC IDs should be considered personal data under these regulations).

Users will be able to opt out from this origin trial, just like they will be able to do so with all other Privacy Sandbox trials.

Unsurprisingly, given how FLoC upends many of the existing online advertising systems in place, not everybody loves this idea. Advertisers obviously love the idea of being able to target individual users, though Google’s preliminary data shows that using these cohorts leads to similar results for them and that advertisers can expect to see “at least 95% of the conversions per dollar spent when compared to cookie-based advertising.”

Google notes that its own advertising products will get the same access to FLoC IDs as its competitors in the ads ecosystem.

But it’s not just the advertising industry that is eyeing this project skeptically. Privacy advocates aren’t fully sold on the idea either. The EFF, for example, argues that FLoC will make it easier for marketing companies that want to fingerprint users based on the various FLoC IDs they expose, for example. That’s something Google is addressing with its Privacy Budget proposal, but how well that will work remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, users would probably prefer to just browse the web without seeing ads (no matter what the advertising industry may want us to believe) and without having to worry about their privacy. But online publishers continue to rely on advertising income to fund their sites.

With all of these divergent interests, it was always clear that Google’s initiatives weren’t going to please everyone. That friction was always built into the process. And while other browser vendors can outright block ads and third-party cookies, Google’s role in the advertising ecosystem makes this a bit more complicated.

“When other browsers started blocking third-party cookies by default, we were excited about the direction, but worried about the immediate impact,” Marshall Vale, Google’s product manager for Privacy Sandbox, writes in today’s announcement. “Excited because we absolutely need a more private web, and we know third-party cookies aren’t the long-term answer. Worried because today many publishers rely on cookie-based advertising to support their content efforts, and we had seen that cookie blocking was already spawning privacy-invasive workarounds (such as fingerprinting) that were even worse for user privacy. Overall, we felt that blocking third-party cookies outright without viable alternatives for the ecosystem was irresponsible, and even harmful, to the free and open web we all enjoy.”

It’s worth noting that FLoC, as well as Google’s other privacy sandbox initiatives, are still under development. The company says the idea here is to learn from these initial trials and evolve the project accordingly.

#advertising-tech, #australia, #brazil, #canada, #computing, #google, #google-search, #india, #indonesia, #japan, #mexico, #new-zealand, #online-advertising, #philippines, #software, #tracking, #united-states, #web-browsers

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Killing of Salvadoran Refugee by Police in Mexico Incites Furor

Videos echoing the death of George Floyd showed a police officer kneeling on the back of the woman, who died of a broken spine, just days before an international forum on gender equality began in Mexico.

#deaths-fatalities, #el-salvador, #lopez-obrador-andres-manuel, #mexico, #police-brutality-misconduct-and-shootings, #refugees-and-displaced-persons, #womens-rights

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Solving the Migrant Crisis Means Going Beyond Our Border

Until we address what motivates vulnerable people to leave their home countries, they will continue to come.

#asylum-right-of, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #central-america, #congressional-hispanic-caucus, #deferred-action-for-childhood-arrivals, #el-paso-tex, #illegal-immigration, #immigration-and-emigration, #mexico, #migrant-labor-agriculture, #trump-donald-j, #united-states

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Nuvemshop, LatAm’s answer to Shopify, raises $90M in Accel-led Series D

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to people everywhere shopping more online and Latin America is no exception.

São Paulo-based Nuvemshop has developed an e-commerce platform that aims to allow SMBs and merchants to connect more directly with their consumers. With more people in Latin America getting used to making purchases digitally, the company has experienced a major surge in business over the past year.

Demand for Nuvemshop’s offering was already heating up prior to the pandemic. But over the past 12 months, that demand has skyrocketed as more merchants have been seeking greater control over their brands.

Rather than selling their goods on existing marketplaces (such as Mercado Libre, the Brazilian equivalent of Amazon), many merchants and entrepreneurs are opting to start and grow their own online businesses, according to Nuvemshop co-founder and CEO Santiago Sosa.

“Most merchants have entered the internet by selling on marketplaces but we are hearing from newer generations of merchants and SMBs that they don’t want to be intermediated anymore,” he said. “They want to connect more directly with consumers and convey their own brand, image and voice.”

The proof is in the numbers.

Nuvemshop has seen the number of merchants on its platform surge to nearly 80,000 across Brazil, Argentina and Mexico compared to 20,000 at the start of 2020. These businesses range from direct-to-consumer (DTC) upstarts to larger brands such as PlayMobil, Billabong and Luigi Bosca. Virtually every KPI tripled in the company in 2020 as the world saw a massive transition to online, and Nuvemshop’s platform was home to 14 million transactions last year, according to Sosa.

“With us, businesses can find a more comprehensive ecosystem around payments, logistics, shipping and catalogue/inventory management,” he said.

Nuvemshop’s rapid growth caught the attention of Silicon Valley-based Accel. Having just raised $30 million in a Series C round in October and achieving profitability in 2020, the Nuvemshop team was not looking for more capital.

But Ethan Choi, a partner at Accel, said his firm saw in Nuvemshop the potential to be the market leader, or the “de facto” e-commerce platform, in Latin America.

“Accel has been investing in e-commerce for a very long time. It’s a very important area for us,” Choi said. “We saw what they were building and all their potential. So we pre-emptively asked them to let us invest.”

Today, Nuvemshop is announcing that it has closed on a $90 million Series D funding led by Accel. ThornTree Capital and returning backers Kaszek, Qualcomm Ventures and others also put money in the round, which brings Nuvemshop’s total funding raised since its 2011 inception to nearly $130 million. The company declined to reveal at what valuation this latest round was raised but it is notable that its Series D is triple the size of its Series C, raised just over six months prior. Sosa said only that there was a “substantial increase” in valuation since its Series C.

Nuvemshop is banking on the fact that the density of SMBs in Latin America is higher in most Latin American countries compared to the U.S. On top of that, the $85 billion e-commerce market in Latin America is growing rapidly with projections of it reaching $116.2 billion in 2023.

“In Brazil, it grew 40% last year but is still underpenetrated, representing less than 10% of retail sales. In Latin America as a whole, penetration is somewhere between 5 and 10%,” Sosa said.

Nuvemshop co-founder and CEO Santiago Sosa;
Image courtesy of Nuvemshop

Last year, the company transitioned from a closed product to a platform that is open to everyone from third parties, developers, agencies and other SaaS vendors. Through Nuvemshop’s APIs, all those third parties can connect their apps into Nuvemshop’s platform.

“Our platform becomes much more powerful, vendors are generating more revenue and merchants have more options,” Sosa told TechCrunch. “So everyone wins.” Currently, Nuvemshop has about 150 applications publishing on its ecosystem, which he projects will more than triple over the next 12 to 18 months.

As for comparisons to Shopify, Sosa said the company doesn’t necessarily make them but believes they are “fair.”

To Choi, there are many similarities.

“We saw Amazon get to really big scale in the U.S.. Merchants also found tools to build their own presence. This birthed Shopify, which today is worth $160 billion. Both companies saw their market caps quadruple during the pandemic,” he said. “Now we’re seeing the same dynamics in LatAm…Our bet here is that this company and business has all the same dynamics and the same really powerful tailwinds.”

For Accel partner Andrew Braccia, Nuvemshop has a clear first mover advantage.

Over the past decade, direct-to-consumer has become one of the most important drivers of entrepreneurship globally,” he said. “Latin America is no exception to this trend, and we believe that Nuvemshop has the level of sophistication and ability to understand all that change and fuel the continued transformation of commerce from offline to online.”

Looking ahead, Sosa expects Nuvemshop will use its new capital to significantly invest in: continuing to open its APIs; payments processing and financial services; “everything related to logistics and logistics management” and attracting smaller merchants. It also plans to expand into other markets such as Colombia, Chile and Peru over the next 18-24 months. Nuvemshop currently operates in Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.

“While the countries share the same secular trends and product experience, they have very different market dynamics,” Sosa said. “This requires an on the ground local knowledge to make it all work. Separate markets require distinct knowledge. That makes this a more complicated opportunity, but one that enables a long-term competitive advantage.”

#accel, #amazon, #andrew-braccia, #argentina, #brazil, #chile, #colombia, #e-commerce, #ecommerce, #finance, #financial-services, #funding, #fundings-exits, #investment, #latin-america, #market-leader, #mercado-libre, #mexico, #nuvemshop, #payments-processing, #peru, #publishing, #qualcomm-ventures, #recent-funding, #saas, #sao-paulo, #series-c, #silicon-valley, #startups, #tc, #united-states, #venture-capital

0

Migrant Families at U.S.-Mexico Border Deported by Surprise

When 149 migrants were escorted onto a bridge by U.S. Border Patrol agents, they had no idea where they were being taken. Many collapsed, crying, when they learned they were back in Mexico.

#border-patrol-us, #central-america, #ciudad-juarez-mexico, #deportation, #el-paso-tex, #immigration-and-emigration, #mexico

0

13 Law Enforcement Officers Killed in Mexico Ambush

The attack appeared to be the deadliest assault on the Mexican police in well over a year, illustrating the severe security challenges facing the government.

#attacks-on-police, #lopez-obrador-andres-manuel, #mexico

0

US to Send Millions of Covid-19 Vaccine Doses to Mexico and Canada

The announcement came at a time when the Biden administration has been quietly pressing Mexico to ramp up its efforts to limit the flow of migrants.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #border-patrol-us, #central-america, #chihuahua-mexico, #ciudad-juarez-mexico, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #guatemala, #honduras, #illegal-immigration, #immigration-and-emigration, #latin-america, #lopez-obrador-andres-manuel, #mexico, #north-america, #united-states, #vaccination-and-immunization

0

Biden Urges Mexico to Do More to Stop Migration

The Biden administration has been quietly pressing Mexico to ramp up its efforts to limit the flow of migrants, clinging to a Trump policy of relying on southern neighbors to enforce America’s immigration agenda.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #border-patrol-us, #central-america, #chihuahua-mexico, #ciudad-juarez-mexico, #guatemala, #honduras, #illegal-immigration, #immigration-and-emigration, #latin-america, #lopez-obrador-andres-manuel, #mexico, #north-america, #united-states

0

Homebrew backs Higo’s effort to become the “Venmo for B2B payments” in LatAm

The B2B payments space has been on fire for a while, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only fueled mass adoption of digitizing finances.

In regions like Latin America, the need for innovation in the sector is even more paramount than in the United States with so many people still relying on outdated processes.

One Mexico City-based startup, Higo.io, is out to transform B2B payments for SMBs (small and medium-sized businesses) in Latin America, starting with its home country.

Rodolfo Corcuera, Juan José Fernández and Daniel Tamayo founded the company in January 2020, recognizing that the process of paying vendors for business owners is largely “manual and cumbersome.”

“In Mexico, small businesses mostly handle payables with nothing more than spreadsheets and email and legacy bank accounts,” CEO Corcuera said.

The trio formed Higo to automate processes and provide visibility into cash flow, particularly for small businesses. “Informal” businesses make up about 23% of Mexico’s GDP, according to data from INEGI, the government’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography. Higo launched its SaaS platform last November.

And now the startup has raised $3.3 million from a group of U.S.-based investors including Homebrew (which led the round), Susa Ventures, Haystack and J Ventures. The financing is the latest in a string of fintech-related fundings in Mexico that TechCrunch has covered as of late.

Higo wants shake up the payments scene in the region by creating an alternative to traditional banking for businesses to pay each other. 

“We want to build the Venmo for B2B payments in Latin America,” Corcuera told TechCrunch. 

Ultimately, the goal is to help SMB owners deal less with tedious tasks and more on generating revenues and profits for their businesses. Customers so far include hundreds of small business owners and the company aims to have “thousands” of customers by year’s end.

“E-invoicing is ubiquitous in the States and in the U.S., receiving a PDF invoice is enough,” Corcuera told TechCrunch. “But in Mexico, it has to be electronic to be [tax] deductible by law. With our platform, invoices are automatically populated so businesses can have visibility into what has to be paid, what vendors they owe and when they owe.”

Corcuera is no stranger to running companies, having launched a housecleaning marketplace at the age of 23 in 2013. He also founded Tandem, an office management platform, in 2018, to help office managers streamline their procurement needs. As is often the case for founders, it was during the process of growing that company that Corcuera realized how painful and time consuming it was for businesses to manage their payables and receivables. That led him to come up with the concept behind Higo.io. 

Gallardo was previously COO at Swap, a Mexican challenger bank, and also was one of the founding members of Uber’s Mexican operations.

Looking ahead, Higo plans to use its new capital in part to boost its six-person staff, particularly beefing up its engineering team so that it can “scale as fast as possible,” according to Corcuera.

For now, the company’s efforts are focused exclusively on the Mexican market, which in of itself is huge.

“Later we will expand in Latin America. We see a very clear opportunity in similar markets across the region,” Corcuera said.

Homebrew Partner Satya Patel said his San Francisco-based VC firm believes there’s a massive opportunity in Latin America given the move to digital payments. The investment in Higo marks Homebrew’s third in the region in the past 18 months.

“This is an exceptional team focused on a problem that is visceral for businesses in Mexico in particular,” Patel told TechCrunch. “They are able to provide businesses with a real-time view of their cash flow and working capital. Without it, they are at risk. So the opportunity is to tackle this acute pain point being felt by a lot of businesses.”

The region’s payments ecosystem, he said, is still very nascent.

“Being the intermediary for B2B tax information gives Higo an opportunity to provide a real alternative to the traditional way Mexicans are used to doing banking and business,” Patel added.

#accounts-payable, #banking, #business, #ceo, #entrepreneurship, #finance, #funding, #fundings-exits, #haystack, #homebrew, #invoice, #latin-america, #mexico, #payments, #recent-funding, #saas, #satya-patel, #startups, #susa-ventures, #swap, #tc, #uber, #united-states, #venmo, #venture-capital

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Driver Charged in Crash That Killed 8 Immigrants in Texas

An Austin man who led a trooper on a chase that exceeded 100 m.p.h. faces a maximum term of life in prison if convicted, U.S. prosecutors said.

#automobile-safety-features-and-defects, #border-patrol-us, #deaths-fatalities, #illegal-immigration, #immigration-and-emigration, #mexico, #sports-utility-vehicles-and-light-trucks, #tovar-sebastian, #traffic-accidents-and-safety, #united-states

0

Surge in Migrants Defies Easy or Quick Solutions for Biden

The administration expects more apprehensions at the border this year than at any point in the past two decades. Enacting policy to deal with the problems faces deep-rooted political and logistical challenges.

#arizona, #asylum-right-of, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #border-patrol-us, #california, #children-and-childhood, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #customs-and-border-protection-us, #el-salvador, #guatemala, #health-and-human-services-department, #homeland-security-department, #illegal-immigration, #immigration-and-emigration, #mayorkas-alejandro, #mexico, #texas, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-economy, #united-states-politics-and-government

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8 Immigrants Killed in Border City Crash

The victims were riding in a pickup truck that was being chased by the police when it collided head-on with another pickup near Del Rio, Texas, the authorities said.

#deaths-fatalities, #fugitives, #illegal-immigration, #immigration-and-emigration, #mexico, #public-safety-department-tex, #sports-utility-vehicles-and-light-trucks, #texas, #traffic-accidents-and-safety, #val-verde-county-tex

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Can Biden Help Stem Mexico’s Democratic Decline?

The U.S. president could persuade President Andrés Manuel López Obrador that common values make good neighbors, more so if they are partners and friends.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #institutional-revolutionary-party-mexico, #lopez-obrador-andres-manuel, #mexico, #morena-mexican-political-party, #united-states-mexico-canada-agreement

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On Mexico’s Border With U.S.,Desperation as Migrant Traffic Piles Up

Mexico is struggling to deal with a new wave of migrants expelled from the U.S. while even more come north hoping to cross. Shelters that were empty four months ago are now having to turn many away.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #border-barriers, #customs-and-border-protection-us, #federal-emergency-management-agency, #homeland-security-department, #illegal-immigration, #immigration-and-emigration, #mexico, #smuggling, #texas, #trump-donald-j

0

A Green Wave? Mexico’s Marijuana Market May Be Middling

Lawmakers in Mexico are on the verge of legalizing marijuana, but economists and industry analysts warn against expecting much monetary benefit.

#california, #canada, #marijuana, #mexico, #united-states

0

Book Review: ‘Hunt, Gather, Parent,’ by Michaeleen Doucleff

In “Hunt, Gather, Parent,” Michaeleen Doucleff visits with Indigenous people to pick up parenting tactics that Western cultures may be sorely lacking.

#books-and-literature, #canada, #children-and-childhood, #doucleff-michaeleen, #families-and-family-life, #hunt-gather-parent-what-ancient-cultures-teach-us-about-the-lost-art-of-raising-happy-healthy-little-humans-book, #indigenous-people, #mexico, #parenting, #tanzania

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Mexico’s Unspoiled East Cape Is Nothing Like Cabo

The roads are rough, and some areas lack electricity, but the calm, swimmable waters of the Sea of Cortez are enticing to buyers and developers.

#cabo-san-lucas-mexico, #cbre-group-inc, #four-seasons-hotels-ltd, #gulf-of-california-mexico, #los-cabos-mexico, #mexico, #real-estate-and-housing-residential, #travel-and-vacations

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South Africa’s FlexClub adds $5M to seed round to scale its car subscription marketplace

The traditional process of buying, insuring and financing cars across emerging markets can be challenging, and it defeats the purpose of building an all-around car shopping experience. Today, FlexClub, a South African company, has been provided with $5 million to improve drivers’ experience in these markets.

FlexClub was founded in 2019 by Marlon Gallardo, Rudolf Vavruch and Tinashe Ruzane. The company is an online marketplace that connects customers looking for flexible access to long-term cars with its partners, offering car subscriptions.

That same year, the company closed a $1.2 million seed round led by CRE Venture Capital. According to Ruzane, the company’s CEO, this $5 million (in equity and debt) is a seed extension round, bringing the total investment raised by FlexClub to over $6 million. The company says it will use the funding to improve its technology which protects and limit partners’ exposure to risk.

Across emerging markets in Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia, most ride-hailing drivers don’t have access to car financing. Typically, they rent their cars via social media, classified sites, or connect with a car owner willing to rent. That was the model FlexClub launched in South Africa, and after raising $1.2 million, it expanded to Mexico.

Partnering with Uber in both countries and helping their community of drivers subscribe for cars, FlexClub claims to have garnered traction but wouldn’t divulge numbers. These customers, including those who use the cars for deliveries, are called commercial members by FlexClub. In December last year, the company decided to open up its product to another set of customers who are called private members.

“When we first started, we were focused on phase one of our strategy, which came from our knowledge about ride-hailing drivers because of our careers at Uber,” Ruzane said to TechCrunch. “We wanted to help a community of ride-hailing drivers that had been excluded from accessing cars. But right now, we’ve built the product to work for anyone and not just ride-hailing drivers.”

In FlexClub’s marketplace, cars are subscribed for between a hybrid of short- and long-term lease. It means customers pay an all monthly inclusive fee, and at any time, they can cancel a subscription, switch cars or buy it.

But to buy a car from FlexClub, drivers are encouraged to drive safely and comply with FlexClub’s recommendations while using the car. Doing that earns them points that accumulate over time, making cars cheaper to buy if they choose to.

This, alongside the use of banking, credit bureau and identity data, lets FlexClub assess its members’ risk profile and reward them when need be

Image Credits: FlexClub

Ruzane says last year was challenging for the company because of what it meant for mobility. At the peak of the first wave of the pandemic, ride-hailing members had financial difficulties. Still, the company partnered with delivery platforms to allow ride-hailing drivers to use their cars to transport goods and packages.

During that period, FlexClub was also able to partner with large brands like U.S. car rental company Avis to offer car subscriptions on its marketplace. Aside from Avis, Ruzane says the company’s partners range from small fleet owners to multinational fleet operators.

The pandemic made it possible for FlexClub to think outside the box and enlist these partners on its platform. However, it didn’t come easy as FlexClub has had to earn trust by building credibility.

“One of the challenges we have faced was that we had to build a reputation to be trusted in the industry. It took us two years to get a brand like Avis to see the value in putting their subscription offers on FlexClub. But with that established, it’s now a lot easier for us to continue investing in driving this new distribution model.”

Image Credits: FlexClub

He likens the distribution model of the automotive industry to how the music industry was decades ago. Then, CDs dominated music revenue but has now given way to streaming.

“If you look at what the music industry looked like 10 years ago, over 50% of music revenue was CDs. Now over 80% is streaming. The industry successfully transitioned from product-led distribution to service-led distribution. I think that’s what we can expect in the automotive industry over the next decade,” Ruzane remarked. “We can be an ally to the automotive industry in driving that evolution because we’ve tested our product in a marketplace with the segment of the population that people thought wasn’t a good profile of customers to serve.”

FlexClub’s expansion to Mexico instead of other African countries continues a series of global expansion that has become common for South African companies.

Two factors decided the move for FlexClub, according to the CEO. First, the founders are from both countries — Marlon Gallardo is Mexican while Rudolf Vavruch and Tinashe Ruzane are South Africans. Next, both markets have a lot of similarities in terms of how the automotive industry works.

South Africa and Mexico have large manufacturing bases and advanced secondary markets where brands can lease used cars. 

Kenya and Nigeria, on the other hand, have a different automotive value chain. Although there’s a growing manufacturing industry in both countries, it is still nascent as most vehicles are imported from countries like the U.S. and Japan.

That said, Tinashe says there’s an opportunity to take FlexClub to not only these regions but most emerging markets around the world. However, it is in no rush to do so.

FlexClub has been able to attract investors who are aligned with its mission of democratizing access to car financing and becoming a global mobility company.

Kindred Ventures, its lead investor, has backed mobility-first companies like Postmates, Uber and Virgin Hyperloop. Other VC investors include CRE Venture Capital and Endeavor. Angel investors like Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress; Federico Ranero, COO of KAVAK; Tariq Zaid, formerly of Shopify and Getaround; and Ron Pragides, formerly of Twitter and Salesforce, also took part in the round.

#africa, #automotive, #emerging-markets, #funding, #mexico, #mobility, #ride-hailing, #south-africa, #startups, #tc, #transportation

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Mexico Passes Bill to Legalize Cannabis

Lawmakers in Mexico have approved a bill to legalize recreational cannabis, but in a country still marred by a deadly drug war, the proposal has proved divisive.

#drug-abuse-and-traffic, #drug-cartels, #law-and-legislation, #marijuana, #mexico, #politics-and-government, #united-states

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House Hunting in Mexico: A 19th-Century Courthouse Turned Hacienda

The oceanside city of La Paz is aiming to position itself as the mellower alternative to the beach resorts of nearby Los Cabos.

#la-paz-mexico, #mexico, #real-estate-and-housing-residential

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Former head of the World Resources Institute has a new role leading Bezos’ $10 billion Earth Fund

The $10 billion Bezos Earth Fund has a new chief executive and it’s Andrew Steer, the former head of the World Resources Institute — an organization that Bezos described as “working to alleviate poverty while protecting the natural world.”

As the head of the fund, Steer will be responsible for spending that money down by the end of 2030, according to a tweet from none other than Steer himself.

“The Earth Fund will invest in scientists, NGOs, activists, and the private sector to help drive new technologies, investments, policy change and behavior. We will emphasize social justice, as climate change disproportionately hurts poor and marginalized communities,” Steer wrote.

With a $100 million award from the first rounds of grants the Bezos Fund issued in November, the World Resources Institute was one of the largest recipients of Bezos’ largesse. Other big recipients from the first block of grants included the Environmental defense Fund, The Natural Resources Defense Council, The Nature Conservancy and The World Wildlife Fund.

“I feel incredibly fortunate to join the Bezos Earth Fund as its CEO, where I will focus on driving systemic change to address the climate and nature crises, with a focus on people. Too many of the most creative initiatives suffer for a lack of finance, risk management or the right partnerships. This is where the Earth Fund will be helpful,” Steer said in a statement issued by the WRI.

While at the WRI, Steer oversaw its international expansion from an advocacy organization centered primarily in Washington to a global organization with offices in Indonesia, the UK and Colombia along with hubs in Ethiopia and the Netherlands. Steer also expanded the offices in Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and Mexico.

His tenure also involved creating coalitions and initiatives that changed the understanding around the economics of climate change, including the launch of a $10 million annual initiative to support the implementation of climate plans by 100 countries, according to a statement from the WRI.

“The $10 billion Bezos Earth Fund has the potential to be a transformative force for good at this decisive point in history. Andrew’s global reputation, deep technical knowledge and experience, and commitment to social justice make him a perfect leader for the fund,” said Christiana Figueres, co-founder of Global Optimism and former Executive Security of the UNFCCC.

#bezos, #brazil, #ceo, #china, #co-founder, #colombia, #ethiopia, #executive, #finance, #head, #india, #indonesia, #jeff-bezos, #leader, #mexico, #nature-conservancy, #netherlands, #risk-management, #tc, #united-kingdom, #washington, #world-wildlife-fund

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A Women’s March in Mexico City Turns Violent, With at Least 81 Injured

Armed with blowtorches and hammers, women demonstrated at the president’s residence, demanding that Mexico’s government take action to address one of the world’s worst rates of gender violence.

#demonstrations-protests-and-riots, #lopez-obrador-andres-manuel, #mexico, #mexico-city-mexico, #politics-and-government, #sex-crimes, #women-and-girls, #womens-rights

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Biden’s Dilemmas, Part 2: Children at the Border

In the second part of our look at the issues the current administration is facing, we examine the president’s response to the growing number of minors at the border.

#border-patrol-us, #children-and-childhood, #immigration-and-emigration, #mexico, #politics-and-government, #united-states

0

Mexico Set to Reshape Power Sector to Favor the State

Legislation that the Mexican president has pushed would curtail private investors in the energy industry and possibly reverse gains in lowering carbon emissions.

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #energy-and-power, #foreign-investments, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #law-and-legislation, #lopez-obrador-andres-manuel, #mexico, #national-action-party-mexico, #politics-and-government

0

Biden Administration Says It Will Shorten Detention of Migrant Families

A new plan calls for releasing parents and their children after no more than 72 hours. Researchers say children can show symptoms of trauma after spending long periods in custody.

#asylum-right-of, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #families-and-family-life, #illegal-immigration, #immigration-and-emigration, #immigration-detention, #mental-health-and-disorders, #mexico, #texas, #united-states

0

Mexican Women Are Fed Up and López Obrador Doesn’t Get It

Mexico’s president is supporting a candidate accused of rape. Women may need to give up on him.

#lopez-obrador-andres-manuel, #mexico, #morena, #politics-and-government, #poverty, #salgado-macedonio-felix, #sex-crimes, #women-and-girls

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Minu, a Mexico City-based, pay-on-demand startup, lands a $14M Series A

Many of the startups raising capital in Mexico are focused on financial inclusion, aiming to level the playing field in a country that is largely unbanked and has a burgeoning middle class.

One such company, minu, a Mexico City-based, pay-on-demand startup, announced Wednesday that it has raised $14 million in a Series A round of funding led by FinTech Collective.

New investors VEF, XYZ Ventures, and FJ Labs, as well as DocuSign founder Tom Gonser and Gusto CFO Mike Dinsdale also participated in the financing. Existing backers QED, Next Billion Ventures, and Village Global also put more money in the company. 

The financing — which included $2.5 million in debt from Banco Sabadell Mexico — brings minu’s total raised since its 2019 inception to a total of $20 million. 

Co-founders Nima Pourshasb, Rafa Niell, and Paolo Rizzi were driven to build out a pay on demand offering in Mexico.

“We really think the lack of financial health is one of the key drivers slowing the potential and productivity of Mexican society,” Pourshasb said.

Minu aims to solve the employee liquidity gap between paychecks in an effort to help people see reduced financial stress and avoid expensive loans. The company offers 24×7 instant access to employees’ earned wages for a $2 fixed withdrawal fee.

Today, minu has over 100 large enterprise clients including TotalPlay, Telefonica, Scotiabank, OfficeMax, Rappi, Adecco, Manpower, Cap Gemini, and public sector clients such as the Electoral Institute of the State of Mexico. It saw its transaction volume and revenue grow by 18 times in 2020, albeit from a small base. The company declined to reveal hard revenue figures.

Minu operates under the premise that the liquidity gap is profound in Mexican society. An estimated 70% of workers live from paycheck to paycheck with average wages of $550/month, noted Pourshasb. And only 37% of Mexicans over 15 years old have a bank account, according to recent World Bank stats.

“Some people are continuously getting loans — at very high interest rates —  to cover recurring expenses such as food and transport,” Pourshasb said.

Minu’s first product offers instant, 24-7 access to earned wages.

“This is money that is already earned,” Pourshasb said. “Our users have an app to see how much is available and if they need those funds, they can instantly receive them.” 

The company’s distribution model is B2B so it works alongside large enterprises to offer access to the wages as a benefit for employees. Businesses are attracted to that model, Pourshasb explained, because they don’t have to pay for it or change their payroll process.

“We integrate with payroll so the process is automated and there’s no added work for them,” he added. “It also doesn’t affect cash flows. These are upfront funds so if someone withdraws money, it gets deducted from payroll.”

Some employers do subsidize the cost of the transaction fee for employees.

Looking ahead, minu says it will use its fresh capital to boost its headcount of 60 as well as expanding its offering to include financial education, savings, smart spend and insurance products. The company also plans to expand outside of Mexico.

Carlos Alonso Torras, who leads Latin America investing for New York-based FinTech Collective, believes that minu leverages “a strong combination of an exceptional founding team and auspicious macro trends.”

“We see the company’s current product as the basis for a platform that will offer an array of necessary financial products to a very underserved demographic,” he wrote via email. “Minu is already creating a moat vis a vis competitors via deep integrations, high client satisfaction and a broadening financial wellness offering. As the early mover in a market whose characteristics are conducive to the success of pay on demand, the immediate growth potential is remarkable, and Minu is uniquely positioned to excel.”

The investment marks the firm’s fifth in Mexico. Overall, FinTech Collective says it seeks and backs entrepreneurs “who are rewiring how money flows through the world.”

“Due to COVID, we are seeing a pandemic stricken world where hundreds of millions of people are facing greater financial instability, and we believe that fintech has a vital role to play in accelerating the emergence of a spending middle class underserved by traditional financial systems,” Torras added. 

Fintechs in Mexico have been busy. Last week, Stori raised a $32.5 million Series B round with the goal of “becoming Mexico’s leading credit card issuer for the rising middle class.”

Also in February, Flink raised $12 million in a Series A led by Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm Accel.

 

#banco-sabadell, #finance, #financial-inclusion, #financial-technology, #fintech-startup, #fj-labs, #funding, #fundings-exits, #latin-america, #mexico, #mexico-city, #payroll, #recent-funding, #startups, #tc, #venture-capital, #village-global, #xyz-ventures

0

How Sexual Assault Allegations Have Divided Mexico’s Governing Party

Mexico’s president has stood by a candidate accused of sexual assault. The case is testing the president’s promises of justice and equality for all.

#lopez-obrador-andres-manuel, #mexico, #sex-crimes, #women-and-girls, #womens-rights

0

Biden to Discuss Border and Other Issues With Mexican President

As President Biden looks to undo his predecessor’s immigration policies, he is seeking to work with a Mexican counterpart who was a surprise contributor to them.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #illegal-immigration, #immigration-and-emigration, #lopez-obrador-andres-manuel, #mexico, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government

0

The Masks of Mexico

A surreal representation of resilience and resignation.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #mexico

0