Why Fintechs Supporting SMBs Are Crucial To The LatAm Economy

There has been tremendous growth in the LatAm fintech market since investment in Nubank seven years ago. The market continues to introduce interesting solutions, but one subset with continued focus is small businesses. Startups are at the epicentre of the innovation of more than 10 million SMBs in Latin America.

SMBs are the backbone of the region, and FinTechs have fully established themselves at the forefront for providing 10 million SMBs with the implementation of digital strategies and processes to accelerate growth.

Most SMBs in Latam still rely on analogue systems to run operations. However, according to a 2020 LABS study, 40% of SMB’s do their financial management on paper, and just 27% use Excel. As a result, they spend a lot of time on finances and with service business problems such as collecting invoices.

Source: PitchBook | Geography: Global | *As of September 30, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic catalyzed the speed of innovation for SMBs, with more and more selling online. Mellon, a Colombian e-commerce company provides fulfillment solutions and tech infrastructure to help rapidly scale SMBs into e-commerce business. It is one of the fastest growing e-commerce markets on the planet and is currently processing more than 100,000 items each month, and expects to grow 10x in 2022. [1]


"Demographics and technology are creating new markets for financial services in population segments long ignored by traditional banks. Nearly 36% of fintech startups in the region are offering solutions targeting groups currently excluded from the existing financial system" Integra Groupe

Why Latam’s Freight-Forwarding Opportunity Is Still Attracting Capital?

TechCrunch+’s, Jon Shieber wrote in 2019 that “investors are pouring money into Latin America’s logistics and shipping businesses.” However, after the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, times have changed.

Nowports, a YC W19 company, is a good point for comparison. The Mexican startup has raised $92.6 million in funding, along with a $60 million Series B round led by Tiger. This demonstrates that investors have been bullish for freight forwarding all over the world. The pandemic has played a role in strengthening logistics startups and shining a light on the importance of supply chains.

Venture capital funding keeps flowing even as Covid-19 effects wane. TechCrunch reported on three fundraising events in the freight-forwarding world. Seattle-based Convoy is valued at up to $3.8 billion following a $260 million Series E round. Nigeria’s OnePort landed a $5 million investment that will help it expand to three major African hubs by the end of the year. And in Latin America, DeltaX has its eyes set on the Andean region and $1 million in the bank. [2]

Lab Govtech Latam

IDB Lab’s GovTech LATAM Laboratory is an open innovation program that brings new digital solutions to the great challenges of participating municipalities. As an organisation that participates across Latin America and the Caribbean it allows municipalities to acquire skills and abilities necessary to work with a focus on problems. IDB Lab designs digital services with people in mind, and they experiment before buying at scale.

Due to the importance of startups, IDB opens opportunities for startups in innovation, bringing non-traditional providers closer to the municipalities of Latin America and the Caribbean. It helps create spaces for piloting experimentation and scaling of solutions that work.

The way that IDB Lab works is by identifying the problem first. It is supported by design and innovation methodologies which identifies problems that will identify with municipal teams. Secondly, it acts by disseminating challenges. To do this, they share the problem with accelerators, incubators, technology parks, investors and business associations. Startups then come in and work together to carry out a pilot. During the pilot phase, the IDB supports the planning, implementation and evaluation. Finally, the insights and impacts are drawn to inform future scale-up bidding and potential investment rationales. [3]

Instant Will Be The Watchword in Latin America E-commerce for The Next Decade

Beyond orders is an annual study on e-commerce and payments by EBANX, a fintech that processes payments for global companies in Latin America. “The last few years focused on consumer acquisition and the beginning of the digital market; now the focus is on building loyalty and monetizing those customers.” Juliana Etcheverry, director of strategic payment partnerships and market expansion in LatAm at EBANX.

The number of LatAm consumers using e-commerce jumped from 45% pre-pandemic to 68% by 2021 and the regional digital market is expected to grow 30% a year by 2025. Now the focus shifts to usability and instantaneity. The digitization boom from the last two years has made instant payments a must. The user experience must be the best possible, if not, there will be no uptake.

Source: EBANX, Beyon Borders 2021-2022

Superapps are also on the risee. They are ecosystems that gather several shopping and payment services, betting on convenience for user and customer retention. The research by Beyond Borders research points to parallels between Latin American and the Asian market, where super apps such as WeChat (China), Paytm (India), Grab (Singapore), and GoTo (Indonesia) have grabbed a relevant share of the market. [4]

Kantar BrandZ Most Valuable Brazilian Brands 2021/2022

Kantar Report evaluates Top 50 Brands in Brazil. The top 30 alone are worth $72.4 billion, which puts them slightly behind the value of the Netherlands Top 30, but well ahead of the South African Top 30, a more comparable market in terms of market maturity. Itaú takes the top place in terms of financial worth, and consumer appreciation. 77 years old, it has continued to innovate and performs well in a competitive category by differentiating itself from rival brands and continually updating its services and the way it communicates to ensure it feels up-to-date and relevant to people’s lives today.

The brands from 15 categories feature in the Brazilian Top 50 cover the spectrum of everyday life in Brazil. From banking to beer, energy to entertainment, the breadth of the ranking reflects the diversity of the country’s economy and provides insight into the businesses that make this country tick.

The role of beer in the Top 50 is quite interesting and well documented. In terms of brand rankings across different countries, the flavour varies. In France and Italy, the presence of luxury brands is what sets their rankings apart, while in the US it’s the prevalence of technology brands, in Indonesia, tobacco, and in Germany, cars. Here in Brazil, that distinctive flavor comes from beer. Eight alcohol brands (seven of them beer) provide almost a quarter of the value of the entire ranking. [5]

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