Bitcoin week in El Salvador
The Bitcoin Week, Latin American Bitcoin & Blockchain Conference (Labitconf), in its ninth edition was held in El Salvador this week. For the first time the four main event organizers of the crypto industry in America lined up to organize the non-profit convention and with the aim of fostering local crypto entrepreneurs, taking into account the most recent announcement of El Salvador for the world Crypto and for the local population.
More than 150 international references took the stage in more than 50 talks to educate the population about the potential future and the usefulness of bitcoin beyond its use in the Chivo Wallet or the Bitcoin Law.
The event comes at a time where the coin is approaching its all-time highs again and boasts adoption growths never seen before in the region. (La República)
Fintech Pomelo raises $35M to expand throughout Latam
Pomelo, a fintech founded by former Mercado Pago, Mastercard, and Naranja X executives, raised $35M – one of the largest Series A rounds in Latin America and just five months after announcing their $10M seed round.
This round was led by Tiger Global Management, with participation from monashees, Index Ventures, Insight, QED, SciFi, Greyhound, and Box Group, as well as the founders of Affirm, Checkout, N26, Plaid, and Ramp, among others.
Pomelo enables fintechs and other tech companies to embed financial services into their business through its API platform. This allows the company to build compliant onboarding processes, launch virtual accounts that are connected to the local financial systems, and issue debit and credit cards throughout the region. (LatamList)
Mexico’s fintech prominents companies
Mexico’s second-largest bank, Citibanamex, recently announced that it would be building new APIs to allow FinTech companies to access real-time information, such as its ATM locations and the services they provide. This move comes after the fierce boom of the FinTech ecosystem in Mexico, which has led to traditional banks embracing this growth or risk lagging in the sector. Mexico was the first to implement a particular law for this industry.
Given the flourishing FinTech sector, here are 4 promising Mexican FinTech startups:
Covid an Edtech opportunity for LatAm
Compared to the global leaders, the Latin American edtech startup space is still fragmented and small, but it is already the fourth-largest market and has grown at an annual rate of 14% since 2013. We now have a very strong ecosystem here with about 150 or so recognized edtechs in the region.
The adoption of remote learning and edtech solutions has accelerated out of sheer necessity during the pandemic, compressing “three to five years of normal technology adoption into about 12 months, with this disruption driving the sector to think completely differently about the way the world learns,” said Thiago Payva, vice president of education at HolonIQ, a market-intelligence firm that monitors the global education and edtech markets.
The edtech sector has a particularly critical role to play in Latin America, where systemic education gaps and limited resources directly impact both lives and livelihoods – especially those living in poor, rural and indigenous communities.
According to the World Bank, about 120 million school-age children in Latin America and the Caribbean had already lost or were at risk of losing a full academic year as of this February, resulting in an estimated 7.6 million more “learning poor” primary education school-age children in the region. (LabsNews)
Justo raises $35.8M for smart car insurance
Justos is the first Brazilian auto insurance company to use data to determine insurance costs. The startup aims to improve the entire insurance process by measuring the way people drive to help price their insurance policies.
The insurtech announced a $35.8M Series A funding round led by Ribbit Capital. SoftBank’s Latin America Fund, GGV Capital, and existing investors Kaszek, BigBets, David Velez, and Carlos Garcia Ottati also participated.
The startup will use the new funding to continue developing the platform and make new hires to the team.
Other countries in Latin America with increasing insurance penetration Colombia, Peru and Mexico, followed also by Argentina, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, and Chile. Recently the Chilean insurtech AVLA raised an $18M (R$100M) funding round for its international expansion, starting with Brazil. (LatamList)
The foodtech landscape in Latin America
Endeavor published The Foodtech Landscape in Latin America whitepaper, a study sponsored by Pepsico, with the purpose to provide and overview of Foodtech entrepreneurship in the region and shed light on the status of technology innovation for stakeholders to seize emerging opportunities and ward off challenges, and work together to catalyze digital transformation. Some of the main findings from the study were:
- 26% of Foodtech startups in the sample have expended internationally.
- Investment activity skyrocketed in the region over the past years, with a total of 206 venture capital rounds worth 1.7 billion dollars. 2020 & 2021 combined make up 64% of the total amount invested since 2011.
- The leading 24 B2C Foodtech startups and scaleups in E-commerce and marketplaces, New foods and organics, natural or healthy products hold a total community size of 1.03 million users.